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News agenda still tending to suit the Tories

Posted on 27 March 2012 | 12:03pm

Just caught the BBC TV news headlines. Lead story new planning rules being brought in by the government. Second story a rise in the cost of stamps.

So neither of them particularly good stories for the government; the first will lead to lots of angst among countryside campaigners, not to mention NIMBYism; the second will add to the sense of the cost of living rising and privatisation looming.

However, three stories later at the time of writing, still no mention of the Tory funding scandal (despite some very loose loose ends hanging out in all directions) and no mention of the tankers’ dispute.

I can’t help thinking, based on some experience, that had this been a Labour government, the funding story would have run big until every last drop had been squeezed from it, and the tankers’ dispute would be getting major ventilation en route to a bit of panic buying later in the day.

Yesterday I urged the Tories to divulge the details of who David Cameron had had for dinner before they got dragged out bit by bit. Today I urge someone on his behalf – he will be too busy – to have a quick look through the account of the fuel dispute of 2000 in my diaries. If there is one issue not to allow to get out of control, it is this one.

STOP-PRESS .. BBC have just done a sentence on funding, focused on Ed Miliband, and a piece on the tankers’ dispute, the first words of which were ‘Ed Miliband’. Weird!

  • Mark Wright

    At 09:58 I turned over to BBC News 24 eagerly awaiting the sort of forensic, incisive, in depth coverage that adorned our media for so many, many weeks during the Dromey-triggered (cheers mate) ‘Cash-For-Honours’ ‘scandal’.  

    As the pips struck 10:00 I had to double check to see whether I’d slipped into an alternate universe. As headline after headline was read out nary a mention was given to what is surely the most disturbing development in modern politics since Neil Hamilton called room service and said “Put it on my tab.”. 

    I gave up and switched over to ‘Homes Under The Hammer’. Just what would have to happen in order for this government to be given the sort of relentless grilling that was metered out to the New Labour on a regular basis? 

  • John Quinton-barber

    Mmm. I have to say that I don’t agree with you here Alastair. Have you read the NPPF document? Reluctantly I think the government should be applauded for radically improving the planning regulations. The changes should suit developers and communities. This was always going to be a headline grabber and Greg Clark’s day – funding scandal or no funding scandal.

  • Gilliebc

    Quite right Mark Wright!
    The BBC in particular is nothing short of a national disgrace in terms of distorting, slanting and blatantly ignoring the real news stories.  The rest of the TV companies in this country aren’t much better either imo.

    RT is a much better source of real information on news stories concerning this country and the wider world.  Whether it gives fair and unbiased coverage of Russian news, I don’t know.

    The problem is that far too many people are still reliant on the BBC to give them ‘the news’ and won’t believe anything unless the BBC tells them it is so!

  • Gilliebc

    Re. your ‘stop press’ (sort of) AC.
    I thought Ed did rather well in the HoC yesterday against Maude, whose strategy of diversion didn’t fool or distract anyone from the real issue, which was the disgraceful behavior of that over-blown ‘barrow boy’ Cruddas!  Who as Olli wrote yesterday and other equally reputable sources have also since stated is reputed to be worth in excess of £800 million!  I have no problem with people being successful and making money.  But, making £800 million plus in a comparatively short space of time surely must involve an element of unfair or insider trading?

    Finally, back to Ed M.  His performance yesterday has been well received and appreciated on several over comment sites.  One commenter writing that Ed is really getting to grips with this politics lark now!

  • Chris lancashire

    Oh do give it a rest Mr Campbell. The BBC tries hard to be impartial and generally succeeds – witness all the gripes about it from Conservatives. What you mean is that attempting to stir political trouble is the top of your agenda but it’s not top of the BBC’s.

  • reaguns

    I used to think the BBC was pro labour, but having watched more and more I’ve realised that a lot of stuff people say on here and on the guardian is true. I think there is no question that the bbc is left wing, such an organisation couldn’t be any other way, it stands for big government, and most of all it is very very europhile.

    But then again, by traditional conservative standards David Cameron is left wing, he might not be left of centre, but he’s left of conservative, and able to run his govt that way due to lib dems. He is also a europhile. So perhaps the bbc feel backing him is as good as backing labour these days?

    Props to Alastair for pointing Tories at that bit of his book – this seems like a genuine attempt to put politics aside for the good of the country – unless he has set them a cunning trap n which case even bigger props!

  • Janiete

    Labour supporters will not be surprised the BBC have quickly closed down discussion of the cash for influence allegations. I’m sure they wouldn’t have reported it at all if they could have got away with it. In their news reporting they frequently summarised the issue as ‘cash for access’ when anyone viewing the video would recognise the more serious issues of buying influence over policy and encouraging donations from foreign nationals. Rather like their reporting of the Health & Social Care Bill as a ‘shakeup’ and describing it as ‘giving more power to GPs’, even anti-government reports seek to lesson damage to the coalition.
    It is becoming quite easy now to identify Cameron’s supporters amongst journalists at the beeb. There was a visible sigh of relief when Cameron announced he would publish details of ‘significant donors’ who had dined at No 10. Unfortunately the BBC’s standard of journalism is so poor now that the word ‘significant’ was rarely mentioned and had turned into the word ‘all’ on the BBC website. I, among others no doubt, complained about this inaccurate reporting and the headline on the website was corrected for a while. When the website was updated after actual publication of the list, the headline reverted to ‘David Cameron publishes list of all donors dining at No 10’.  As I type this at 21.08 on 27/3/12, this incorrect headline can still be seen. Needless to say it has moved down the list in favour of the Tory preference for debate of the wider question on party funding, and specifically the problem of union funding of the Labour Party!
    Apart from obvious manipulation of news, it seems to me the BBC is also becoming very sloppy in ensuring its own commentators observe the BBC Charter. The political correspondent on BBC1 6 pm news last night looked into the camera and reminded people watching that they don’t like state funding of political parties. He also stated on the 10pm news that he and Huw Edwards would have to pay for it out of their taxes and that it’s a problem. Well I beg to differ, and in any case we shouldn’t know the personal views of BBC commentators, unfortunately they too frequently think they have a right to tell us.  

  • reaguns

    “One commenter writing that Ed is really getting to grips with this politics lark now!”
    I think they might be right but in a bad way. I thought Ed was his own man, a man of principle – I still hope that’s true but I get the feeling he is using more strategy and ‘politics’ now than he once did, I just hope he doesn’t lose anything by doing that.

  • Ehtch

    That’s a hefty rise on stamps, well, a lunatic rise really, up a third. Petrol prices are really running away now, which must be one of the main factors that affects an economy. Quarterly economy results will be interesting for the rest of this year.

    The Governor of the Bank of England mentioned yesterday that the economy will be affected detrimentally even by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, as like the wedding last year. And heck knows what the Olympics will do it when choked-up London grinds to a halt this summer for a few weeks.

  • Ehtch

    BBC seem to be like rabbits caught in headlamps with the way they tend to avoid difficult national news stories these days. Each week there is something that is disturbing going on the the corridors of power. It is as if they are worn out from reporting such stuff, giving the feeling that they are constantly saying “oh what flipping now?”.

  • Dave Simons

     By ‘stir political trouble’ are you referring to argument, one of the key components of democracy?

  • Olli Issakainen

    Much has been written about the power of the Murdoch press and the Daily Mail group, but people at Number 10 pay most attention to the BBC News at Six.
    I watch with interest as to who will be the next head of BBC…

  • Chris lancashire

    Would that it be that it was.

  • Trevorsmith

    I certainly got the clear impression that the BBC, particularly on Monday, has tiptoed through the Tory party  financing issue repeatedly turning the discussion/report  back to the “cash for honours” story and Unions’ financial support for the Labour Party.
    Cameron’s attempt to divorce himself from the touting for contributions is laughable.Didn’t he ever wonder why these individals were at his dinner table?

  • Mel

    Has anyone at the Labour Party HQ objectively reviewed the Beeb’s reporting of Tory antics? I’m a great fan of the Beeb but even I’m getting concerned by the sense of an ‘invisible hand’ in the news editing. If there’s hanky panky, it will catch up with the Beeb eventually – when things really get rotten and people ask why there’d been no hint of it previously.

  • Ehtch

    Pastygate, Jerrycangate – my garden gate! Wonder if the Siemens train contract over Bombadier’s heads was done in connection to proposed new nuclear plants in the UK by the germans? If so, it has blown up in the face of the Coalition today, what with the the german firms pulling out. Same goes with Sheffield Forgemasters loan withdrawl in 2010, who wanted it to develop manufactucturing techniques for products for the nuclear industry. But I am speculating. But needs looking into by apolitical journos, if there are such kind around in the UK these days, or will it be left to blogland UK?

    This Coalition mob are all over the place and plain useless, and is making a mess in every corner they are fiddling in. UK is going backwards, fast.