On The Sun, Obama in Copenhagen and Alistair McGowan on the loo
Posted on 1 October 2009 | 10:10am
Just did the start of Nicky Campbell’s phone-in on Five Live, and it was interesting that Nicky had to scour around for a few pro-Sun messages amid all the negative texts and calls coming in.
I said doing interviews yesterday that there was something very old-fashioned about the way The Sun handled its latest switch. It was a good marketing coup, and got lots of attention for the paper and its perceived significance, but as Sun journalists wandered around Brighton from microphone to microphone, the comparison was being made with the behaviour of trade union barons back in the old days.
The difference is that a newspaper cannot deliver the support of its readers in the way the barons could cast their block votes. A reminder of my favourite stat from yesterday’s blog – support for Labour among Mail readers rose from 1997 to 2001.
I understand the paper focusses today on lots of people who backed Labour in 1997 and now are backing the Tories. But pretending the world has gone from black to white overnight hits the credibility of the paper.
We also need to challenge the constant assertion that Murdoch only backs winners. Er … Obama?
… Talking of which, why the opposition to President Obama going to Copenhagen to make a plea for support for Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics? Talk to anyone involved in the decision to give the 2012 Games to London and you will soon learn that Tony Blair’s presence and persuasive skills amid the final deliberations helped swing the last few votes our way.
Republican opponents of Obama – who seem opposed to anything he does – say he is President of the US not Mayor of Chicago and he should not be leaving other pressing issues for this. But a decision like this would have short, medium and long-term consequences for the whole of the US.
Some Democrats are saying he should not be going to Copenhagen in case Chicago doesn’t win, in which case he will lose political capital. But so what? It will be quickly forgotten. Leadership is sometimes about risking your capital to make something happen that might not happen without you using that capital.
So good luck, Obama. Hope you win again.
Finally, a word on last night’s Chain Reaction on Radio 4, in which I interviewed actor, writer and impersonator Alistair McGowan. Fair play to the Beeb for keeping in my crack about David Cameron. Alistair said he found it impossible to do Cameron, because ‘all that comes out is an upper-class whisper.’ I suggested that the problem was he didn’t stand for anything. Cue applause. Good point well made say I.
Sadly, the editor had to make a few cuts and one of the bits that went was Alistair moving effortlessly from Sven to Fabio Capello in the same sentence, by putting a bit of Italian into the Swedish lilt and then straining as though he were sitting on the loo. Perhaps it was the wrong side of the watershed, but it was funny.
And as the earthquakes and the tsunami hit the Samoan Islands, I was taken by Alistair’s observation that the most important thing we can all do, as well as cut our own carbon footpri
nt, is nag away at others. I think my family think I nag enough, but I was in full-on lights off mode after my hour or two with Mr McGowan.