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He has his faults, but my God you have to admire GB depth and resilience

Posted on 5 May 2010 | 11:05am

When there are so many undecided voters, the last stages of the campaign matter more than any other.

I imagine most visitors to this site made their minds up some time ago. Since starting this blog, the majority of comments here, on Facebook and Twitter lead me to believe that most have decided to vote Labour. Hardly surprising.

The recent increase in Tory-supporting comments has given me heart though. Because it says not that my regulars are switching, but that the Tories are getting jittery.

No wonder. They had the best imaginable playing field going into an election. A parlous economic state. Politics reeling from an expenses scandal. A government that has been in power for 13 years. A Prime Minister with low ratings who has survived a series of coups against his leadership, and the batterings of a media so far up David Cameron’s backside it is a wonder the nation’s journalists can breathe, let alone live with themselves. The biggest negative poster campaign in modern electoral history which, allied to the media’s slavishness, allows Cameron to pretend he is fighting a positive campaign. Ashcroft’s millions pumping out direct mail into the home of every key voter in every key marginal. Two difficult and unpopular wars dominating the agenda in recent months (one of which, Iraq, the Tories are now seeking to exploit, despite supporting it at the time, in their desperate pitch to Lib Dem supporters).

I could go on and on. Suffice to say that if the Tories were any good at all, at policy, at strategy, at campaigns, they would have rested easy in their beds last night, rather than careering round the country annoying bakers and fishmongers.

They have seen a poll lead fritter away because they have been hopeless on policy, and because their campaign has been all about avoiding questions rather than answering them.

If there are any Labour supporters who know undecided voters out there, get onto BBC iplayer and sit down and let them hear David Cameron on the PM programme last night, or Michael Gove on the Today programme this morning. These people could be running the country by the day after tomorrow. They have had four years to think through answers to straight-forward questions. This was a double car crash, live on radio.

When you distil Cameron’s message from his carefully staged, beautifully manicured pit stops, it is basically that he is going to roll up his sleeves. I am sitting at my desk. I have just rolled up my sleeves. It was easy. Running a country isn’t.

He has had the wind blowing on his silken-skinned back every day of this campaign. Allegations of Andy Coulson involvement in criminal phonehacking. News blackout. Tory candidate praying to cure gay people of their disease. News blackout. Bizarre ramblings of Labour candidate in unwinnable seat. Sky/Sun/Mail multilple orgasm. Polls which show momentum to Cameron (including those conducted by the Aussies who ran the Michael Howard/DC campaign of five years ago) – lead the news with them. Polls showing momentum slipping back. Bottom of page 2.

And yet with all that, his message has weakened not strengthened. The question marks have grown not diminished.

Despite the battering over a period of months, despite the skewed polls claiming GB had lost TV debates he won, despite the awful day lost to his meetings with Mrs Duffy, despite everything that has been thrown at him, GB was not just standing last night, but standing tall and giving another brilliant and passionate speech, packed with reasons to vote Labour and stop the Tories.

I do not pretend to be as close to GB as I am to TB. Nor can I claim we have not had major disagreements down the years. We have. Nor can I say there have not been moments when I have willed him to do things he is not doing, or not do things that he does. And yes, there have been moments in the past few months when I have wished I could escape the political bubble for good instead of being drawn back in to the point where the campaign has been close to a full-time occupation again. All that is true. But the pull of Labour is strong, and this I know: if I had to choose between GB, David Cameron and Nick Clegg for PM, then it has to be Gordon every time. Heaven knows he has his faults – everyone does. But my God you have to admire the resilience and the depth of a man who just will not stop fighting for what he believes in.

The speech to Citizens UK, now one of the most viewed events of the campaign, and last night’s to a party event in Manchester, were streets ahead of anything Cameron or Clegg have delivered. The recital of Labour achievements alone – not to mention the role the Tories played in trying to stop them from happening – should be enough to give people pause for thought. The forward agenda was strong. The attacks on the Tories were powerful because they were rooted in what we know about past Tory governments and current Tory policies. 

Nor should anyone forget the role he played in steering Britain from recession to a recovery which has the FT today reporting that whoever wins the election will inherit an economy already showing signs of strong recovery, with manufacturing and exports growing at the fastest rate for 15 years. Cue news blackout.

There has been the usual criticism of Labour’s campaign, inevitable when we have been lagging in the polls. But when you compare the difference in resources, the biased media and all the rest of it, the voice of the leaders has been as important as anything else. GB is finding his voice superbly as the campaign closes. The campaign has shown there is a progressive majority in Britain today. With Nick Clegg fading, the last two days have shown that Labour remains the best option for ensuring Britain stays on the road to economic recovery, and the path of progressive politics.

*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.

  • apptme2theboard

    Speaking of avoiding answering questions, is there any truth to the rumour that Philippa Stroud has taken out an injunction to prevent further reporting on the Observer story at the weekend?

  • Richard

    Your apparent resilience in a collapsing awful campaign is also quite impressive, though I wonder if that is what you really feel.

    Just wondering how on Friday in the face of the facts you are going to persuade us it was actually a Labour victory?

  • Roger O\’Donnell

    I have been a labour supporter since I knew what politics was and grew up in west ham north the first labour seat in parliament. I have not been a fan of Alastair Campbell over the years, especially all the shit around Iraq BUT during this election I have realised like me he is full of conviction and like me in this because he cares. That is the difference in the last few days of the election. It is now about conviction and deep seated belief, something that neither the Tories or Liberals have in any way what so ever. They are in this for self interest, Cameron and Clegg dont really care about anything other than their self interest and self image, something you cant accuse GB of.

    I havent been a fan of GB either but I in these last few days, when it really counts and as AC says totally against the odds and with all the media against him his beliefs and the truth are coming to the fore and thats what matters. He is showing that he is a man who is in politics for the right reasons and how passionately he cares. I am proud to be a socialist and all that it means, happy to support GB and realise I was wrong about AC. This is the party of the people and for the country.

  • Simon

    I assume this means you won’t now be publishing the uncensored version of your diaries soon after the election (ie with all the bad stuff about GB)as you wouldn’t want to profit from an attack on GB…..

  • Nick

    As a Conservative activist who has ‘door knocked’ in recent months, here are three Strategic Lessons for Alistair Campbell as to why they are about to lose. Badly.

    1. No over -arching theme to Labour’s campaign, just a tired re-heating of the now defunct Brown/Balls tribal dividing lines. The Electorate stopped listening some time ago in my experience. Ed Millibands’s horrible car crash of an explanation over the tax credit lies on Newsnight yesterday is a prime example of why this strategy has failed.
    2. The feeling that it is time for change, and that Labour is a busted flush (“they have had long enough” very often heard).
    3. Chronically poor Labour leader- as bad as Foot, and far worse than Kinnock. Brown’s complete inability to “connect” with the English middle class/private sector has been the death knell of Labour for a couple of years.
    Labour will look back with incredulity in years to come that they allowed such a woeful leader to lead them in an election. Brown as a politician is no better than Oliver Letwin, someone else with a big brain but a complete inability to articulate. Would the Tories ever have made Letwin leader. He would have been a 1000/1 shot.

  • Alan Quinn

    Out on the knocker again last night in Bury South and no detectable attraction to Dave.
    Despite:

    A third term Labour government.

    A recession.

    A mass billboard campaign paid for by the tax dodger.

    The supine BBC so scared to death that a Tory government will butcher them that there is no scrutiny of Dave. He gets told he’s “on a roll”, GB is asked personal questions about his health.

    The press in Dave’s pocket.

    BUT…..he can’t get into the 40% bracket in the polls. If Dave dosen’t get a majority, questions will be asked…..

  • Jude

    Too true, Alastair. The news blackouts are a scandal. Thank God for Twitter! I am getting most of my election info from there.

  • Ben G

    Agree about Gove. He has gone from voice of reason to vicious Tory Boy. His Today interview was like something out of Harry Enfield.

  • spooney

    AC – last night GB gave 55 reasons why people should vote for Labour. There is just one reason not to vote for change and for Cameron – because if you do it will all end in tears – and the grotesque chaos of a tory government.

  • olli issakainen

    Nick Clegg peaked too early. David Cameron peaked too early. Gordon Brown peaked at the right time with over 30% of the voters still undecided. Momentum is with Labour!
    Kevin Maguire of the Mirror wrote that Labour is in far better position than it could ever have hoped for a year ago.
    British government did not cause the global economic crisis. The Tories financialised the economy in the 1980s. They launched the neoliberal hegemony.
    Gordon Brown saved Britain and the world from depression. Had the Tories been in power during the recession, banks might have collapsed and people might have lost their savings.
    Debt was taken for a reason. The deficit is not high because of excessive spending.
    The 2010 general election is not about choosing between different variants of mangerialism. It is a big choice election. The choice is: recovery v. Tory risk and the welfare state v. Cameron´s “visionary” Big Society.
    Labour has sensible policies. Labour will get the recovery right and safeguard public services.
    Labour is the only choice. Labour has best values.
    Impartiality is over: vote Labour!

  • Patrick James

    Those Alf Garnett like Conservative party supporters that turn up at blog comments and forums on the ‘net do massive harm to the Conservative party I believe so I welcome them.

    Any floating voter that reads their posts, seeing their seething anger for the world, will immediately be put off voting for them.

    One of the Alf Garnett’s that posts here tracked down an email address for me on the web and sent an email criticising me for my saying that I’m gay. That shows you what kind of people they are 🙂

    I immediately created a rule in my email client to delete all emails from my email account.

    I grew up in Northern Ireland so I am used to homophobic stuff and when I see it I just laugh 🙂

  • Peter

    I’ve just heard the Cameron PM interview and he comes across as an absolute shambles. At one point he claims “all shadow cabinet members are de facto community leaders” before correcting himself “I’ll try that again…” It reminds me of the Prescott Breakfast TV interview he didn’t realise was live, just not as funny.

  • Simon Ellis

    We need to see more of Tony Blair! He is a great vote winner! Gee, can we get his pal Georgie Bush to come along and say howdy folks too. Yo!

  • Mark Wright

    For all GB’s faults the one thing I have learnt during this campaign more than anything…is that he really means it.

    I believe him when he says he’s not interested in making money at such time as he steps down. I believe him when he says he’s driven by his passion for social justice. I believe him because when he stumbles he just gets up and carries on fighting. We need someone like that right now running our country.

    And if he is no longer Prime Minister after this election it may only be in the fullness of time that we as a nation realise what we had. We’ll look back not in a year’s time, or maybe not even 2, but as we work our way through the challenges we as a nation face in this new decade one thing will become apparent…we needed him.

    Wouldn’t it be good if we all realised this now?

  • Kathy

    I don’t agree with you Alistair. The Tories have been slowed down by the Clegg bounce. If Nick Clegg hadn’t been in the debates, the Tories would be walking it now. I think it is a good thing that people are offered alternatives to look at and after 13 years of New Labout people have definitely had enough.On these Labour blogs all you hear is bias by the media cries but I watch BBC and Sky News and read various Newspapers and the most biased of them all is The Mirror and particularly Kevin Maguire. In reply to Patrick James, I too came from Northern Ireland and I would challenge him that all Northern Irish people are homophobic. I personally, do not care whether you are gay or not, I believe you should be treated equally as we all should. However, every time someone makes a remark or something is discovered in their past a huge outcry erupts from the gay community. They then proceed to tar everyone connected with that person with them same brush. Are you really naive enough to believe in Labour Supporters there are no homophobes.Live and let live is my motto and treat people as you find them.At the end of the day we will all vote as we want and that is how it should be. We must agree to disagree and respect other people’s opinion not abuse them for them. Good Luck to you Patrick I wish you well in the future and to all the people on this Blog, whatever the outcome we must accept and live it.

  • Chris lancashire

    He certainly does have his faults – record defecit, deepest recession (NOT global) since 1930s, gold sold for a £7bn loss, the list is endless. And no, it’s not a biased media. Ask yourself why the former Labour supporting Times and FT (Not a Murdoch rag) have switched to Cameron – it’s because Brown has no vision, no policies and no idea how to get out of the economic hole he’s dug.
    And since you raised Iraq – I, like the Conservative opposition, supported the Iraq invasion because we believed a Government that told us a Middle East madman had nuclear weapons that could be deployed in 45 minutes.

  • Judith Haire

    There’s too much anmnesia about and people need to be reminded that a Tory government is synonymous with disaster. In recent weeks GB has shown even more what a fighter he is and has been the most fluent and the most genuine There’s only one way to vote tomorrow. Please.

  • Nick

    As the BBC political correspondent has just stated on The World At One, Labour has only one club left in its bag. And that is to scare people.

  • Andrew Williams

    Leading economist Paul Krugman on The Economist and the FT’s endorsement of Cameron:
    “Why Endorse The Tories?

    Yglesias is right. For sure, Gordon Brown — like the Rubinites here in America — made the great mistake of buying into the promises of high finance. But is there any doubt that a Tory government would have done the same?

    And I understand the sense that Labour has been in office too long. If I were British, I might well consider voting Lib Dem.

    But in the current crisis, Brown’s policies have been sensible, whereas the Tories wanted to slash spending in the face of recession, which would have been disastrous. And The Economist agrees — then endorses the Tories.

    Is The Economist of the belief that there will be no future crises? That this gigantic failure of judgment in the face of a defining moment for economic policy offers no hint about how well the Tories will perform in dealing with other issues?

    It’s utterly bizarre.”

  • joannie

    I had recorded This Week with Andrew Neil & co to watch. I started wathcing it and have just switched it off. Did anyone else watch this? I know, AN is usually full of himself,interrupting here there and everywhere with his pet, Portilla, but OMG this week it was absolutely AWFUL. Please tell me others noticed. Caroline Flint was on instaed of Diane and AN hardly gave any space at all to Caroline to talk (the only woman ofcourse)and when she did, he just raised his voice and either talked right over her or interrupted her to diasgree BEFORE she had even made her point. It was absolutely obnoxious, SO partisan and just downright rude; I couldnt believe my ears. Did anyone else notice? To her immense credit, she remained polite, did not raise her voice or retaliate. She was obviously just there as a foil for AN to mock or interrupt and put down. I mean, who would be a politician and suffer treatment like this? AN showed he thought nothing, absolutely nothing, of her. He gave her no more than 60 seconds on any point before he jumped in to squash her. I know what AN is like but this was the worst I have ever seen him. Absolutely terrible. I have a law exam coming up and can hardly concentrate now I am steaming … Going off to simmer down now.

  • Simon

    @chris Lancashire. I heard the FT explain their tepid endorsement to Cameron as “we often switch our allegiance – now it is the Tories’ turn.”. I am afraid this comment is a bit rushed ‘cos I am about to go out and deliver a leaflet in Sheffield. Here the Cameron campaign is non-existent (he forgot there was a railway between Leeds and Birmingham) and Clegg has stalled (‘aim high’ is his mantra … and miss). The Labour Campaign has found a voice through Gordon Brown’s passion now the job is to amplify and explain – today, tomorrow AND the days after. Make sure the social media momentum of the last week is maintained through sites like this.

  • James Davis

    Have had Elbow’s ‘One day like this’ going through my head all day thinking about tomorrow, it would make a great campaign anthem – any plans to use?

  • Nicky

    @ Patrick: I agree with what you say about how Tory commenters do their side no favours. It’s the sneering tone and sheer tabloid-fed nastiness that’s so off-putting – anybody wavering about whether the Tories maybe aren’t so bad very quickly get a reality check by reading the pro-Tory comments here and elsewhere. Glad to hear you sorted out the problem with getting harrassed via email. Just shows exactly what sort of person you’re dealing with here.

    Can I also say thanks to Olli for his always interesting comments – it’s great that someone in Finland is so well-informed about UK politics! It often takes somebody from outside to see things really clearly.

  • Dave C

    Great to see our Gordon in full flow.Hope that as he finishes he ridicules Camerons use of Change (He is no Obama!!!!!!)

    The change he wants is just enough to keep the Lords and its Hereditary Peers.What role they have in the 21st Century is beyond me.And of course to ensure that Tory Party backers are fully repaid and more for their “selfless” dontation to our democracy.

    Also eto expose the “we are all in this together” as ususal with the Tories some are going to be in more than others.

  • Graham Jones

    It’s been quite a journey this election. We have seen what is on offer from the parties, and the policies reflect the values of the parties, but in particular the leaders.
    We see a fair deal for everyone from Labour, while ensuring the recovery is secured by continued support and steady stewardship. In Gordon Brown we see a leader with principles and values, which are ingrained with fairness, human compassion and a drive to fight for the all the British people.
    From the tories we see, a programme to slash and burn; cutting the support for growth in the eceonomy and decimating public services. They will introduce a tax doctrine, that will devastate families up and down the country. These families work tirelessly, to give their children the chances they never got under Thatcher and Major. Part of the tory tax doctrine, is to reward the filthy-rich donors who funded their campaign with huge tax breaks, under the silent understanding of you-scratch-my-back-and-i’ll-scratch-yours. These are the values of David Cameron.
    Like Ross Kemp, I have nothing against Nick Clegg. He seems a decent guy. But I have a big problem with his policies. How can he claim to lead a progressive party, when the will cut lifelines to families fighting to provide their kids with more choices for the future. By withdrawing child tax credits, they would send the standard of living plummeting. This would lead to a decline in not just child education, but child health. It would leave a legacy of poverty, in every corner of the country. While I wish for an end to nuclear weapons, it can only happen with international agreement. That means standing strong against Iran and North Korea, while still offering them the hand of friendship, in a nuclear free future. Mr Clegg is again mislead on immigration policy. It is an open invitation for other countries to swamp Britain with their burden. Immigration is a necessity of life, and Britain prospers under a manageable system. The Labour proposal is not only fair, but will probably become a future model for the rest of Europe. It has a proven record in Australia. Mr Cameron can’t give answers on his proposals, because they don’t have a properly thought out policy. They only have rhetoric, to play on peoples fears.
    Cameron has other sinister designs on British society. It is no coincidence that Sky news, have shape-shifted into a mirror image of the Fox news channel, who shoe-horned the Noe-cons into power at the hanging chad election of 2000. They now have their sights on No 10.
    Do we really want ‘the crazies’ of the right running Britain? Of course not. But that is precisely what will happen if Cameron gets in. We will no longer have a free press. The BBC will disappear under a Murdoch cloud, and democracy will be the loser. It will be a tyranny for free thinkers. The fundamentalist christian right will move in, and take over our schools. These are not threats, they are facts. Google Philippa Stroud, and you will get a flavour.
    Britain is a tolerant country, with values that are shared by the moderate religious and the non-believers. There is no room for ideologies that we ditched in the dark ages. We have built a free, progressive and altruistic society to be proud of, and we have to defend those values at the ballot box. I will be voting Labour.

  • Chris lancashire

    @Simon: You obviously didn’t read the whole of the FT’s endorsement. The FT doesn’t do endorsements on the basis of buggins turn. The endorsement came because they judge that the Conservatives have the best policies to deal with a massive debt and a record defecit – a defecit which is structural and running at £40bn p.a. even when we weren’t in recession.
    And frankly, Brown has no plan, no policy no vision of how to deal with this – other than keep on spending – ye gods!

  • Nick

    @ Nicki

    With respect, one of the faults of the Left over the years has been the impression given off that they are somehow morally superior. In truth, all politics and all parties are a mixture of good and bad ideas, and good and flawed people.

    It really grates to hear the soon-to-be-defeated likes of Campbell and Polly Toynbee trumpeting this week that ‘of course’ their beliefs and values are superior. To who’s ? The electorates ?

  • Bernie

    AC — would love your reaction to this which I’ve just seen on the BBC live Election page: ‘1554 Tom Whipple at The Times has an unusual take on the Conservatives’ plans for a national voluntary youth service. He writes: “For Mr Cameron’s plans to work – for teenagers really to learn leadership and responsibility – they must be allowed to make mistakes. As a corollary our society must accept an absolute certainty: children will die. And that is a good thing. Young people must confront danger.”‘ Evidently it’s on Mr Whipple’s blog.

  • Jake Regan

    I think the reason you are starting to get more Tory supporting visitors is for the pleasure that can be derived from reading your desperate attempts to put a gloss on Labour’s appallingly bad campaign.
    There are 2 or 3 likely outcomes to the election and you know that you will be screwed in all of them.
    Nobody falls for your bullshit anymore so sell as many of your old books whilst you can as you may have to start doing some real work soon.

  • Dave C

    Final comments while we wait for Decision Day. The Tories have been rattling on about “Broken Britain”.
    If you re run Gordon Browns Manchester speech then you can clealry deduce that it was Thatchers babes wot broke it and this Labour Party which has worked tirelessly to fix it. The Tories have always blamed those least able to defend themselves and resented every effort to improve standards for those not of their persuasion. When looking at Clegg and Cameron visiting modern schools and hospitals
    it struck me that there should have been a backdrop of “sponsored and built by the Labour Government.As for Cleggs 13 wasted years he would give his right arm to claim half of the Liberal and socially just measures of the last ten years or so.

    Dave

  • Neil_

    The last debate followed by the sppech to Citizens UK seems to have turned the tide in Labour’s favour. Gordon Brown seems really fired up and the clips of his speeches the news are showing are coming across really well. All these undecideds are holding out against Cameron -why? He has not conviced them yet and he will not do so today. These are Labour voters waiting to come back. People admire the way Brown just keeps on going despite all the unfairness

  • Trevor Taylor

    It amuses me to read the Tory bloggers on this site, like their party they are good on rhetoric but hopeless on detail and policy. On top of which their vindictiveness knows no bounds. Keep going guys!

  • Jonny Hobman

    Hello Labourites. On your watch various catastrophes have befallen the electorate. We’ve had uncontrolled immigration.

    The expenses scandal demonstrated that most MPs are in politics to make money and not for the betterment of our country. GCSE/A-level exams are not helpful discriminators of the intelligence of our children (how long before the A** grade?). Admittedly NHS waiting lists have improved. This has been at the expense of an incredible expansion in the number of managers in employment to ensure that all the targets are met.

    Mr Campbell and all others in Labour constantly harp on about Lord Ashcroft. What about Labour being beholden to the trade unions? And also Labour’s little probity breach in 2006 with cash for honours.

    I admire Gordon Brown as a decent and principled man. In fact I feel sorry for him with respect to Mrs Duffy. I’m sure the other leaders have made similar remarks off the record.
    Labour should have given the leadership to the engaging and intelligent David Milliband a long time ago.

    The attack on a biased media cheapens you. For years you have used the media as an outlet to spin your message. For the Guardian to turn away from Labour surely illustrates the profound failings of your party better than the positive outpourings from News International.

    We are the end of a political cycle.
    Vote Tory!

  • pat rogers

    I heard Micheal Gove on the Today programme. If I had been a die hard Tory it would have been enough to make me change my mind. Thoroughly unpleasant.I was shocked.

  • Phil Watson

    Alastair,

    Bless you and thank you for all of the work you have done to try to stop the Tories regaining power. I can well remember the eighties-the huge social divisions, widespread youth homelessness, the poll tax, inner city riots, the destruction of the mining communities and the exacerbation of the problems in Northern Ireland. I often contrast this with the minimum wage, tax credits, the creation of childrens centres, a better nhs, investment in schools,the greater acceptance of gay people, peace in Northern Ireland and the regeneration of the former mining communities and so much more. Labour has achieved so much – we should feel proud and have hope and confidence that the British people will not want to go back to those dark days.

  • George Woodhouse

    Getting rid of Brown would probably have won it for Labour. But maybe thats the point – no one wanted to deal with the Brown created chaos so they have left it to the Tories. Such cynicism can only have been caused by the actions of our political masters.

  • David Kingston

    With record numbers of voters saying that they are undecided, tomorrow will be a very uncertain day. In 1992, the undecideds wavered and stayed with the party they were used to in government. As a result a close election turned into a relatively comfortable Tory victory. The same could happen again tomorrow with a significant Labour comeback leaving GB the leader of the largest party and staying in No 10.

  • Bar Bar of Oz

    No-one ever doubted GB’s resilience. The relentless 10 year campaign he ran from the Treasury redoubt to undermine and destroy first PM and then TB was more than evidence of that. So were the thugs around him. The UK Citizens speech was the speech he could have made to launch his election campaign in 2007 – the one in which he went to the people for a mandate. Instead he and the thugs turned David Cameron overnight into a credible alternative prime minister.

    So true about the progressive left majority. But Nick Clegg is the natural leader of that now. Miliband and co forfeited when they were too cowed to challenge the Brownites back in 2007.

    Clegg has been the saving grace for the centre left in this campaign.

  • Jock Menzies

    Anyone writing a history of Britain’s 2010 election campaign would conclude that it was not won by a public mood in favour of electing a Conservative government. There has been no significant switch in public attitudes and ideological orientations. Rather the election had been won as a result of one of the most vicious and sustained media campaigns against a sitting government and its leader seen in any Western democracy. If anyone doubts this view then I suggest a simple exercise. Go online and examine the political coverage editorials, op-ed pieces, stories and images in any of the leading British newspapers during any week in the past twelve months.

    This overwhelming level of bias has been present at a time when Gordon Brown has had not only a national but a major international role in steering the world through the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s and has been at the forefront of international humanitarian initiatives. These efforts led to him being named World Statesman of the Year in 2009 (a fact generally met with derision in the British press). Nationally, he has presided over unprecedented drops in the UK’s crime rates- down even in the midst of a recession by a further 7% this year. He has ensured record levels of investment in the UK’s health services, education and policing. These are verifiable and, one would expect, newsworthy facts, but Britain’s newspaper editors are remarkably reluctant to reveal them to their readers.

    Instead, a few months after Mr Brown succeeded Tony Blair as PM, the major British newspapers have been intent on destroying him, with stories and images carefully selected to characterise the PM as `useless’ and `failing’. This tendency has not been confined to the leading right wing newspapers such as the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and the Conservative supporting Sun, Times and Sunday Times. An examination of the content of the ostensibly left-of-centre Guardian suggests that in 2009 only two out of hundreds of op-ed pieces (besides occasional contributions by government ministers) were favourable to the PM- one by the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman and one by the Spanish PM Zapatero. Meanwhile the newspaper’s editors ran an overt and sustained campaign to remove Mr Brown from office.

    It is an understatement to characterise the coverage of Mr Brown as disrespectful. There are innumerable examples including stories that Mr Brown had been `snubbed’ or otherwise undermined by the US President trailed by the British press prior to meetings with Mr Obama. In responding to an alleged snub on 28th April last year White House spokesman Robert Gibbs dismissed it as completely untrue and added, `stop reading those London tabloids’. What he had not noticed was that the story had been generated and run by journalists from the broadsheet Guardian newspaper. In the US comparable treatment of a major political figure would be met with a furious response and major national debate. There are bodies such as the Project for Excellence in Journalism that systematically monitors press bias. The motivations and interests of those engaging in it would be the subject of scrutiny and controversy.

    The 2010 election has recently seen the emergence of some discussion on the political role of Britain’s press, unsurprisingly largely confined to the internet. A serious national debate on the press’ motivations and influence is both necessary and long overdue.

    Britain’s democracy depends on it.

  • Kayode Olatuyi

    Did you hear that?
    A BBC political editor said in his report tonight – “…if the polls were to be believed…blah blah blah”.
    Really??? Were these no the same people who took the polls as gospel truth a few week ago? Now that it seems that people are sticking by policy instead of fluff.

    Now it’s D-day!
    Call me unrealistic, but somehow, I feel we’ll wake up to some Friday morning surprises.

  • Brian Hughes

    Vote Labour

  • Sally

    Thank you for yesterday’s excellent blog which said it all and was also most revealing of your involvement during the last weeks. Thank you for all your efforts.
    Gordon just got better and better throughout the campaign and stronger and stronger. We live in exciting times. I was going to say, just think how good it would be if he had had, on top of all that, the media backing that the Tories have had, (but with the media that we‘ve got, maybe not.)
    I don’t know how you two and your families survive, and have survived, the constant unmitigating pressure from the media. The BBC in particular is now so powerful and unchecked that they have got to the stage of telling out and out lies, or perhaps they always did, but their fate one day surely awaits them. I don’t understand how anybody in cabinet since 1997 has withstood the daily media onslaught. I don’t think they can have survived it entirely. Every tiny mistake swooped on and magnified, every tiny criticism picked on, you know the rest. People have been pilloried over nothing. But I digress, except to say; I think Tony has not quite survived. Whenever I see him on the box these days, I think his face looks angry and, frankly, anybody’s would, given what he has had to put up with and after all the good things that he did for us, the people. I feel sorry when I see him like that and I think it is about time the media said sorry, too.

    When I put the TV on the other night, I was livid to see that I had missed most of the ‘Newsnight’ where Jeremy interviewed Gordon Brown. I watched the last few minutes, at once struck by Jeremy’s untypical body language which was slightly turned in towards Gordon, listening for once without heckling, interested, almost deferential. Blimey. I was in time for Jeremy’s last question, which asked Gordon about the public not liking him. Gordon looked unfazed and his response was perfect. Great stuff!

    Just for the record, I was thinking of voting tactically (for the Lib Dems), because in Uxbridge, where I live, the Tories have always got in at every general election since 1921, apparently, except in 1945 and 1966. Even in 1997, they still got in by a narrow margin of 724 votes, which I remember. I reckoned the Lib Dem vote might be a lot bigger this year, given the undeniable charms of Nick Clegg, (and Vince Cable and Shirley Williams) and they might keep the Tories out. But when looking up these figures yesterday on the internet, I was struck by how big the Labour vote has always been, notwithstanding. I will, of course, vote Labour.

  • s chapman

    Reason I visit the site is purely for humour…I mean some of the regular bloogers on here really should be on stage and I seriously would pay cash to see them.
    AC your hissy fits on here are just lege…cheers mate you are hilarious…in a black comedical way.
    Bye bye Labour

  • Stevo

    At this time of the worse bias I have ever witnessed in the media (How ironic that if they win the Tories will decimate the BBC) this site remains the place for truth.Thank you Alastair-keep the faith!

  • s chapman

    Re Pat James – I did not criticize you for being gay – It just got very boring that you kept telling everyone you are..

  • ollie

    I don’t admire anything whatsoever about Brown.

    for resilience, read self denial. for depth, read bloody minded stubborness.
    Those are NOT the traits of leaders.