People are really depressed with politics at the moment and they need to be inspired.
We've been insistent this week that we wanted to redouble the positive
It has been an interesting week - Murdoch's minions turned up unannounced at the Independent's offices to berate the editor for daring to be critical of another paper's owner, resulting in a stand up full and frank exchange of views. We had the Sun choosing to ignore the findings of a YouGov poll that showed latent support for the Liberal Democrats because it failed to fit conveniently with the chosen narrative. Helpfully, the right-wing media have been assuring us that Cameron won last night's debate hands down - despite the evidence of those that watched it.
Indeed, the Daily Mail decided that it didn't like the results of the first online poll, so it decided to scrap it and replace it with one that it DID like, as highlighted by refpls. These online live polls are unreliable rubbish at the best of times, so fixing one just shows you how desperate the Mail has become. The first poll showed Clegg ahead on 72% with Cameron down on 20%, clearly a result unacceptable to the Daily Heil, so it was rerun with a poll which then showed the far more acceptable result of Clegg on 41% and Cameron on 48%.
For the past couple of years, the story has been about the rise of the Cameroon Conservatives and the imminent demise of Labour and you can't help feeling that the Tory-supporting side of the press really can't face being proved wrong.
To start with, the Independent ran a front page with the headline “Rupert Murdoch will not decide the outcome of the election. You will,” challenging the overt interference from the News International stable. The story continues,
Later in the afternoon, in a coming-apart-at-the-seams scenario, Rebekah Wade/Brooks and Murdoch’s son, James—who will both face the wrath of Murdoch senior if they don’t produce a winner—stormed over to the Independent, breached its security systems, barged into the offices of the Independent’s editor-in-chief and top executive, Simon Kelner, and commenced, in Brit-speak, a
giant row. Their point was that newspaper publishers don’t slag off other newspaper publishers in polite Britain, but also the point was to remind Kelner that he wasn’t just slagging off another publisher, he was slagging off the Murdochs, damn it. Indeed, the high point of the screaming match was Wade/Brooks, in a fit of apoplexy and high drama, neck muscles straining, saying to Kelner: “And I invited you to Blenheim in the first place!” Blenheim being the Murdoch family retreat and the highest social destination for all Murdoch loyalists and ambitious Brits in the media
As everyone is aware, Thursday's front pages were dominated by various non-stories smearing Nick Clegg with everything from anti-British, pro-Nazi sentiments to some supposed dodgy dealing with donor money going straight into his personal bank account. This was a personal favourite of mine, as the paperwork later provided by the Liberal Democrats demonstrated that Clegg had in fact lost £750 on the deal. The Daily Mail accused Clegg of being anti-British (well, he does have a lot of foreign blood, you know) on the basis of a couple of highly selective quotes from a 2002 article in the Guardian. This does bring to mind the old adage about people in glass houses, because if we are to go back in time, the Mail is renowned for being a supporter of Mosley's Fascists, with the infamous headline Hurrah for the Blackshirts. The Mail even wheeled out Nicholas Soames to provide a suitable quote attacking Clegg. Soames is qualified to speak on these matters because his grandfather was Winston Churchill.
The Conservatives initially denied any knowledge at all of these ham-fisted attempts to personally smear Clegg and the BBC's Nick Robinson initially criticised Lord Mandelson for attempting to blame the Conservatives for it, only to admit in a later update to his blog, produced during the run up to the debate, that
The Guardian provides some confirmation, claiming that a meeting took place on Monday at Conservative headquarters on Millbank, setting the media running on trying to dig up dirt on Clegg. The Liberal Democrats are pointing the finger squarely at the Conservative General Election co-ordinator, one George Osborne (who was allowed out of his padded cell for a brief public appearance this week before being returned to a place of safety - ours, not his).
political reporters from the Tory-backing papers were called in one by one to discuss how Team Cameron would deal with "Cleggmania" and to be offered Tory HQ's favourite titbits about the Lib Dems - much of which appears in today's papers
Amidst all of this came the debate and a bad tempered accusation by Dave that Labour were telling lies about his poor old policies in leaflets up and down the country, lies that Gordon bore personal responsibility for. Set aside the minor fact that most leaflets are produced under the imprint of local candidates and agents and not under that of the party, let alone the PM, but Cameron can spare us the manufactured anger.
His party has produced a leaflet depicting a blood-soaked machete and Chris Grayling abusing the crime figures to terrify people about crime. His party told us that 54% of young women in the most deprived areas are pregnant. Wednesday saw Ken Clarke - who really should know better - cast aside his credibility to claim that a hung parliament would make the IMF likely to intervene. He was later backed up by Osborne, who claimed it as a fact. That lie was demonstrated today when Moody's - one of the key credit agencies - said that it would make no difference and that in fact, if a policy could be agreed by more than one party, then that suggests a solid framework for agreed progress, so it could actually be a good thing.
The City research consultants Capital Economics yesterday said in a briefing note to investment houses that markets were "becoming rather less fearful of the prospect of a hung parliament". It said it had warned in February "some of the worst fears over a hung parliament might be overdone and there are signs that the markets are starting to come round to that view". Jonathan Loynes, its chief Europe economist, said: "We are not suggesting that all worries about a hung
parliament are completely misguided. We are at a precarious position and the finances are in a mess. Action must be taken to sort them out very quickly. But
there is growing recognition among the parties that further action to address the fiscal problem is needed. The markets have taken heart from that in the past week
Dave is trying his best to ride to power on a wave of sewage and lies, hoping against hope that none of the mud and lies being spread around by his lieutenants sticks to him. All this just demonstrates just how desperate they are becoming as their chances of obtaining a majority disappear into the distance and the threat that the Tories may never again get a majority with a revised electoral system becomes a real possibility.