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The media’s bottom-kissing of top Tories becoming a tad embarrassing

Posted on 19 October 2010 | 9:10am

If a Labour government had ever come up with a strategic defence review at the centre of which was the idea of aircraft carriers without planes to fly from them, we would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever have heard the end of it.

The cartoonists would live off it for months; the headline writers would go into orgiastic delight; the Sun would dig out the old front pages of Neil Kinnock announcing his ‘Surrender’ to whatever enemy wanted to come in and take over; every retired general in the land would wander onto the telly sofas to say their fears about Labour not being trustworthy on defence had been borne out. And a few serving ones would be wining, whining and dining the country’s massed ranks of defence correspondents to make sure the views of ‘senior military sources’ were bombarding the front pages and the airwaves. It would be one of the defining moments, a symbols, of our time.

But with most of the media so determined to blow their loving kisses up the backsides of any top Tory, instead we are reading how brave and bold and successful defence secretary Liam Fox was to leak a letter warning against the Treasury’s even more zealous cuts; how the top brass can live with the settlement; and how David Cameron ‘played a blinder’ in sorting it all out.

The Cold War may be over. But Pravda style journalism remains all around us.

  • David Blake

    That is very unfair to Pravda

  • Paul Hart

    Another example — the Despatches programme on how the rich avoid tax. It barely figured in the rest of the media. Not interested. Labour peers fiddle expenses and it is big news. Also the whole coverage of the cuts is driven by people who are unlikely to be affected – wealthy media owners, and a BBC terrified of its own shadow

    • NickSmeggHead

      Over the weekend Osborne said Benefit cheats are ‘mugging taxpayers’ well Gideon and his wealthy friends are mugging the taxpayer by avoiding paying the tax.

    • Bev C

      Paul, I couldn’t agree more. My only hope is that once the enormity of the sending review is revealed in all its blood-curdling glory tomorrow people will start to wise up about who is really going to bear the brunt of the cuts – and it isn’t going to be the mates of the multi-millionaire cabinet.

  • Hilary King

    I saw your tweet on the BBC report on Obama last night, and the number of times we saw the reporter compared with how many times we saw Obama … the BBC coverage of Obama is the reverse of their tone for Cameron. Obama can do nothing right. Cameron can do nothing wrong. The good news is that I think people are onto it more than the media realise

  • Colette Jardine

    Doing defence today also takes away from the real substance of Osborne’s statement tomorrow. See Guardian g2 for a fair spread of people whose lives are about to be transformed for the worst.

  • Teresa

    Alastair reading your blog has made me feel better, I’m so sick of them blowing their loving kisses too, they are disgusting, they make me want to scream!

  • Olli Issakainen

    Media should have no power in democracy – only influence. Good journalism seeks the truth – that is why it is so influental.
    Pravda, of course, means the “Truth”, as we all here in Finland only too well know. We used to call it Pravda – the other half of truth!
    Pravda used to publish all the official statements of the Communist party. It seems that big part of British media is now prone to this style of journalism. What will happen when Murdoch buys BSkyB?

    Ps. Pravda is still going strong. But it is now a tabloid concentrating on celebrities. All progress is not progress at all!

    • Richard Brittain

      Influence is power. That’s why AC and other politicians talk about it. Media influences can sway the opinion of individuals. Individuals cast votes. Ergo, influence = power. It’s all well good referring to old-fashioned ideals of truth seeking, but the reality is that we don’t live in a utopian society.

  • alan

    Its getting silly now are we,the general public expected to swallow this? the BBC should be ashamed of themselves for their “unbiased”coverage of it so far pathetic

  • Janner

    Perhaps if the media were presented with an alternative viewpoint then they wouldn’t be so slavish in following the Tory agenda. But they’re not, so they are. Anyone seen the Labour Party? I’ve looked in the kitchen drawer and down the back of the sofa but not a sign. I’m sure I had it here somewhere. It appears that the old party is so pleased with itself in taking control after enduring years of those New Labour types, who were crass enough to win three consecutive elections, that they’ve retired for some stimulating internal debate over tea and crumpets in the JCR. Looks like we’ll have to lose the next election before we’re crass enough to come up with anything that appeals to the electorate again.

  • This love-in of the Tories by our esteemed media is an insult to our intelligence. The Tories will become even more unpopular very soon, probably tomorrow. They are keeping very quiet about the sorry state they left this country in as Labour took over in ’97!

  • Chris lancashire

    Oh dear, nasty old Tory press. Actually, you will find just as many Tories complaining of bias to the Left. All in all we have a pretty good press – most of it tries to be evenhanded and those that don’t – Daily Telegraph, Guardian for example are pretty up front where their sympathies lie.

  • David Owen

    Condems have, as was obvious before the election but the local media buried it in going all out to get a Tory elected in the area, scrapped the Defence Academy in the Vale of Glamorgan….

    And here he is:

    Conservative Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns said Welsh Conservatives were “delighted” that St Athan remained the UK government’s preferred location for military training.

    “We are disappointed that Metrix and the MoD were unable to reach a robust agreement which proved to be good value for money for taxpayers,” he said.
    “It is unfortunate that the project was delayed considerably by the previous Labour government resulting in it being caught up in current financial pressures.”

    Oh right, so it’s Labour’s fault.

  • Janete

    Watching Dispatches last night made me realise why the media report Obama in such a negative way. The clip of him strongly condemning tax havens must put the fear of God into wealthy millionaires who hide their money (or is that our money) to avoid taxation. You can see how important it is for wealthy people to ensure those in charge of powerful financial sector driven economies, should be controlled by people who won’t rock the boat. Through their control of the media they can promote or ruin parties, according to their own financial interests.

  • Richard

    !2 years in power and New Labour did nothing to plug the perfectly legal loopholes which the Dispatches programme highlighted. Why not?

  • I think the situation with the media in the UK now is amazing and frightening.

    Such a large proportion is simply part of the government and I think has more power than the government.

    The rest are fearful of the government.

    I would love it if Ed Milliband and Labour of course were to adopt a line that they are not going to curry favours from media barons.

    This would gain massive support from many people I think. Personally I think this would gain more than they would lose from not having the support of media barons.

  • Sarah-dodds

    Aircraft carriers without planes today.
    Neighbourhood “police” teams without police tomorrow. At least that was the plan for my local force as of last week.
    And to follow, whole communities with their heart and soul being ripped out.
    But at least it will be Big Society time.

  • Steven Cooke

    I just remembered something…In 2000, the TB govt. received an unexpected but huge windfall of £22.5 BILLION from 3G licence auction. What did TB & GB do with the money? Surely, they must have spent in on education or health or defence or some other purpose that benefited low income or middle income people. No, they didn’t. They used all of it to pay back or pay down debt. That’s what TB told us.
    Fast forward 10 years later, and the country’s coffers are not only empty but in the RED & Labour now says cuts to public spending not right, reducing deficit will cause double-dip recession etc.
    So, the Labour philosophy is simple: when govt. has money, payback debt instead of investing in public spending and when govt. is broke, keep borrowing as much as possible and don’t cut or cut very little public spending instead of reducing deficit.
    No wonder the country’s finances are an utter mess !!!

  • arresta

    So far this shower have managed to piss off just about every section of society with the exception of the very rich, including now the armed forces; tomorrow its going to be the rest of us, including the police. It’s enough to make you wonder whether this is another Burgess/McLean/Philby/Blunt plot to bring down the establishment from the inside. Unfortunately I’m afraid this lot just aren’t smart enough.

  • Anonymous

    You are right. I just saw Sky News (by accident, of course) – and the complete absence of any kind of commentary on the defence cuts was singular. Deafening silence, for sure. But what on earth could they possibly say?

  • Rogershrubber36

    Good thing the BBC used to be as subservient to the Labour Luvvies as they apparently are to the Terrible Tories, otherwise one might think the Burnley Bandit might be having a dose of sour grapes.

    We had to swallow all sort of tripe from former Mirror journalists spun as truth, and unbiased facts, which now… are a bit wide of the mark.

    Just think of the money we could still have in the coffers if the likes of Morley, Uddin and friends were honest decent folks and not trying to hide behind imaginary concepts of deference, and Parliamentary Privelege.

    Oh and I’m sure George’s trashing of the lower paid, will benefit Tone just as well as Sugar, Ecclestone and all his rich cronies that Al seems to forget.

  • Old Slaughter

    What utter nonsense.

    This is your legacy. Your one and only defence review was a bad joke. The treatment and performance of the MOD even less funny. Your treatment of the armed forces a murderous disgrace.

    The Tories didn’t write those contracts. The reason the media are not going nuts is a Labour bias. Because this is your doing.

  • Ronnie

    I agree. The disappearance of the party is incomprehensible. They should have been right down the Tories’ throats over child benefit – instead the only Labour MP on the news that day was grandstanding about an x-factor contestant. They should be screaming about defence this morning. I’ve heard Libs and Cons on the radio but no Labour spokesmen. If they’re not interested, why should the public listen to them?

  • Robert Kaye

    You and your friends were in power for thirteen years, signed the contracts that mean it’s cheaper to build the aircraft carriers than scrap them and left us with too little money to buy the planes. You were the ones who signed us up on a peacetime defence budget to two wars – one of them on the basis of lies, that YOU – You personally – articulated and propogated.

    Labour never had any way of running both the aircraft carriers and the planes, but for political reasons they signed up for a deal that made no military or economic sense and with no means to pay for it.

  • Oliviabeard

    And whose government was it which ordered those two huge carriers, and their aircraft, with not the faintest idea or interest in how they were going to be funded? Whose government followed a policy, for 13 years, of cranking up government spending in all areas which was unaffordable? Whose government increased the public sector by 500,000 largely unnecessary jobs, doubtless in the hope of adding 500,000 grateful and gormless Labour-voters to sustain that economically illiterate government in power forever? Whose government imposed a ridiculous regulatory regime on the banks, emasculating the Bank of England in the process, encouraging the banks into recklessness? Whose government implored Lloyds-TSB to rescue HBOS, then turned on it in hypocritical self-righteousness when the HBOS debts undermined it?

    Whose government appears, even now when the evidence is incontrovertible, to show no shame for its blithering stupidity?

  • Impossible to read. Type face contrast to background too small. Sort it out.

  • Quinney

    We also have the £4 billion Nimrod programme scrapped leaving with no airborne anti submarine capability. The tories have not commited to the number of JSf planes they may order or whether or not they will order Tranche 3B of Typhhon.

  • Bidoneil

    Not impossible to read at all. I’ve just read it, and completely agree.

  • alienfromzog


    So are you saying that Labour followed Keynes’ theory?
    And that they were wrong to do so?

    I think there the correctness of J M Keynes will become all the more evident over the next few years. Sadly by then, the damage will have been done.