Tag Archives: media

Patriotic media – an odd concept in a democracy

For some bizarre reason, the Tories seem to have let Andrea Leadsom out of the cupboard where they’ve been hiding her for the past wee while. On Newsnight last night, she told Emily Maitlis while under reasonably moderate pressure on Brexit that broadcasters should be more “patriotic.”

To suggest that the media should not question the Government’s actions on the most important issue facing our country in generations is chilling. The media should be there to scrutinise the government. It’s an important part of the scrutiny process.If it had done its job properly last year, we might not be in the mess we are in.

A press free to criticise the Government is one of the most basic elements of our democracy. Governments should expect to have their feet held to the fire. As it happens, I actually think that they get too easy a ride from some elements of the right wing press over Brexit.

Tim Farron was similarly horrified by Leadsom’s comments, saying:

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This election is about protecting our democracy

Remember the Brexit “Battle Bus” with this slogan, “We send the EU £350 million a week lets fund our NHS instead Vote Leave”? It was powerful and “misleading” according to the UK Statistics Authority. Mr Farage referred to it as a “mistake”.

No! “The number plastered on the side of the Brexit bus was a big fat lie.” 

It was not a mistake because it affected the “Brexit” result the way Mr Farage wanted.

In short, we were misled and those who subverted our democracy with this deception have gone unpunished. Therefore it will happen again to further diminish democracy.

Last month the CPS announced that there would be no criminal charges brought against 14 MPs over their expenses in the 2015 election. In March 2017, The Electoral Commission fined the Conservative Party a record £70,000 for “numerous failures” in reporting expenses for the 2015 General Election. For that election the Conservatives raised some £38, 000,000. 

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Brexit related divisiveness mars school exchange visit

Three Spanish Exchange students have descended on our home this week. Full of fun, responsive and impeccably mannered, it has been a pleasure to have them around. About parts of their experience in England, though, it is impossible to be so complimentary.

Their looks of bemusement have grown ever stronger during the week as the farcical events surrounding Gibraltar have unfolded.

Firstly, they watched in amazement as a former Tory leader – not a rogue backbencher, a former leader – envisaged a situation in which Britain would sent a Task Force, Union Jacks waving and bugles blowing, to defend the future of the island.

Walking round the supermarket, they stumbled across the front page of The Sun with its headline “Up Yours Senors”, although I suppose we should be mildly relieved that the paper fell short of calling for all-out war.

If they go back to the supermarket today, they can check out the Daily Mail with its tale of how a “Tiny Royal Navy patrol vessel chases giant Spanish gunboat out of British waters.”

Two newspapers which have done so much damage to the culture of the nation.

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What next with Trump vs the Media?

The first thing I read this morning was the Twitter feed of the BBC’s James Cook who spent yesterday following Donald Trump around as he gave a speech at the CIA.

We’ve all watched enough West Wing to know how the White House’s relationship with the media works. The Press Secretary briefs the press every day and takes questions.

It looks like things are changing:

This …

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Changing the mood music of politics: Let’s get angry about poverty and refuse to stand by while papers demonise the poor

I remember the feeling of sadness when I saw these figures from a Scottish Lib Dem freedom of information request. In Christmas 2015, 26,320 adults and 11,200 children were homeless. Those figures are up 8% and 16% respectively in two years. As the party’s housing spokesperson, I wanted to highlight this and, as the photo shows, the story was picked up by the Sun. I said:

It is absolutely heart-breaking to learn that more than 11,000 children were homeless last Christmas. It is intolerable that the number of families without a permanent roof over their head continues to rise.

Across the last three Christmases, 100,000 people were homeless, almost a third of them children.

We judge the strength of a society by how it looks out for its most vulnerable. These figures are a stain on the national conscience.

The Scottish Government have failed the children and families who don’t have stable warm home at Christmas. Many will have been in temporary accommodation but that it hardly a suitable or sustainable way of tackling homeless in the long term. The failure of the SNP to deliver on their previous social housing promises has undoubtedly contributed to this situation.

That is why the Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to press SNP ministers to get a grip of the housing crisis and increase the number of homes for social rent.

11,200 children would almost fill Scotland’s concert venue, the Hydro. It’s about a fifth of the population of the town where I live. For each of these children, homelessness means insecurity, disruption and uncertainty that limits their life chances. They could be placed anywhere in their local authority area and moved to another part of it at a moment’s notice. Imagine what that feels like to a young child. Being taken away from your familiar surroundings, school and support networks is hard enough once, but what if you have to wait months or even years for a permanent home and are constantly moved. Add to that that you may not be actually accommodated in a house, but in a hotel or hostel, sharing facilities with others. Read this family’s account in the Sun last week, of being made homeless after their father lost his job as a forklift truck driver because of a back injury.

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No, Newsnight, it’s not ok to talk about us when we aren’t there to defend ourselves

We had some absolutely cracking press coverage this Conference.

In her speech yesterday, Sal Brinton read out a newspaper editorial which said lots of nice things about us:

This Sunday, one paper’s editorial headline was ‘Lib Dems’ revival is a blow to sorry Labour’,

and it then went on to say:

‘fair play to the Lib Dems.

under Leader Tim Farron the party has risen from the ashes of electoral oblivion to reposition itself as the only effective opposition…

The Lib Dems have not only capitalised on the fallout from the EU Referendum but also the disintegration of the Labour Party…

They are speaking up for ordinary voters on issues that really matter, such as the NHS and education.’

The Observer on Polly Toynbee’s day off?

The Independent?

No, this, my friends, is the Sunday Express!

I’m delighted that Tim is at last getting the recognition that he deserves, and I suspect that phrase ‘the only effective opposition’ might appear in a few leaflets and tabloids over the next few months.

Tim got loads of coverage, from Buzzfeed to the Guardian to the Standard in the run-up to Conference, and there has been positive coverage of his speech yesterday, too. George Eaton in the New Statesman says:

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How media reports can fuel hate crime

First of all, i would like to say my thoughts go out to the family and friends of Darlene Horton, the woman who lost her life and those who were injured in the horrific knife attack in Russell Square on Wednesday night.

BBC News reports:

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman was killed and five injured in a knife attack in Russell Square, central London.

A 19-year-old man was arrested at 22:39 after a Taser was discharged by an officer. The Met said mental health was a “significant factor” in events.

Metropolitan Police Service say Mental Health played a significant part in this incident.  Nowhere do they say that it was terror related, yet the editors  at The Sun never fail to amaze us with the headline – “RUSSELL SQUARE BLOODBATH Woman in her 60s knifed to death and five injured in possible terror attack in central London as man, 19, is tasered”

The story should read – Man murders one and wounds others in Russell Square Knife attack.

I am all for free press when reported correctly, but after the vote for Brexit, the country needs to heal and come together, The Sun continue to spread hate and divisive headlines which injects more panic and fear into our society.

The Liberal Democrats need to tackle this and make a stand against this right wing media coverage, which some  people I know are starting to believe. I see them quoting stuff from the sun as though it is fact and it is deeply worrying.

This creates further hate and only exacerbates hate crime in the long run. When can the Sun be held accountable for these outrageous headlines they keep printing?

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Murray 26th Jun - 6:08pm
    Well thank goodness the EU is there to show us dumb Brits how to run our sad little lives.
  • User AvatarMike S 26th Jun - 6:03pm
    Sorry predictive text - should say: The NHS is unaffordable, it’s going to collapse, so we’ll put a penny on income tax to *rescue* (not...
  • User AvatarDave Orbison 26th Jun - 6:01pm
    Bolano 2 "The Lib Dems need to make up their mind as a party on the Coalition – moving forward as a centre-left party regretting...
  • User AvatarMike S 26th Jun - 6:00pm
    @ Joseph Bourke "4. Uninspiring manifesto on key voter issues – NHS, Education, Housing, Low Pay etc" @ Peter Watson "i.e. we believe in Policy...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 26th Jun - 5:40pm
    Tweaked always the pessimist
  • User AvatarSteve Magner 26th Jun - 5:22pm
    Sadly too much of this debate seems to be about resurrecting the National Liberals and we all know what happened to them. When i joined...
Sat 1st Jul 2017