Author Archives: Jonathan Waddell

They ask tough questions and they’re supposed to

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Following Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday and the on air resignation of Shadow Foreign Minister Stephen Doughty, renewed accusations are doing the rounds claiming BBC bias. One of the most shared blogs I’ve seen regarding this accusation uses a now deleted post by Andrew Alexander to illustrate how the Daily Politics was ‘not reporting news, it’s making it’. But this is once again people misunderstanding, and showing contempt for, the role political journalism has in a healthy democracy.

The role of political journalism has been developing and changing for years and it’s only a recent development that we have constant access and cover of government and parliament. What has never changed however is the political establishment’s contempt for the media’s access to their business and the reporting of it. As Nick Robinson described his role back in 2012:

This may sound as if, for me, political journalism is about catching out, tripping up or embarrassing a politician. It is not. It is, however, about exposing publicly what many know to exist privately: tension between colleagues, policy contradictions or a failure to have thought through a policy clearly. The job I did then and to a large extent still do now, is to identify these problems and seek to bring them to light.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 54 Comments

Opinion: Three things the Lib Dems can ‘own’

 

It seems to me that elections are fought not in the currency of policies but actually perception.

I feel that in the election campaign, where we actually talked about ourselves (on those rare occasions) we tried to take credit for the economic recovery. However, given that the Tories have always held that ground, they won that argument before it even began. As a result, voters who wanted a continuation of the past five years didn’t think to vote Lib Dem, they instead thought to vote Tory. It shouldn’t seem so baffling after all that people who voted Lib Dem last time chose to vote Tory this time if they were so thrilled about the outcomes of the coalition.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

Opinion: What does Nick do next?

Given our new position in parliament with eight MPs, we’ll be handing out multiple portfolios to whoever can possibly take them – and I suspect, Lords, AMs and MSPs as well, where necessary. This is by no means a bad thing. We have fantastic members in all parliamentary institutions, and the devolved ones in particular could do with being taken more seriously. The only issue being they cannot then hold their respective ministers to account. The main question that strikes me now though is with a more or less inevitable EU referendum and being the most unapologetically pro-EU party – who takes the EU portfolio?

It has been suggested that Nick could lead the ‘In’ campaign in such a referendum, I assume doing a similar job as Alistair Darling did for Better Together. On paper, I can’t imagine anyone more qualified despite the fact I don’t think any such unified campaign being a good idea. For the purposes of this article however, I’ll work with the idea. For the merits that are pointed out in the above article;

Throughout his time in government he was an enormous asset to Cameron in international diplomacy, especially – but not exclusively – with Europe. Foreign policy was never Cameron’s forte, either as leader of the Opposition or during his first term as PM. “Abroad” was where Cameron made most of his misjudgements – all by himself.

There are few people better qualified on foreign policy and in particular Europe than Clegg. I’m hesitant to mention Tony Blair, setting aside one major caveat, perhaps a close rivalry. For obvious reasons, Blair doesn’t even make the short list for such a hypothetical position.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 31 Comments

Opinion: The ECHR is a “British Bill of Rights”

Following the cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, the push from within the Conservatives to repeal the Human Rights Act and remove the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights with a British Bill of Rights in its place now seems firmly in the forefront of our political debate.

The most notable change was clearly William Hague’s surprise departure from Foreign Secretary and announcement that he would stand down as an MP next year but the most significant change was the sacking of Dominic Grieve from Attorney General. Serving as the Chief Legal advisor in the government, he had provided sound …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 16 Comments
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