Saturday, 24 April 2010

Newspapers and what they tell us

Johann Hari has a very good piece in the Independent, which is well worth reading all the way through. For me, this was the best bit:-

The British media is overwhelmingly owned by right-wing billionaires who order their newspapers to build up the politicians who serve their interests, and marginalise or rubbish the politicians who serve the public interest. David Yelland, the former editor of The Sun, bravely confessed this week that as soon as he took his post, he was told the Lib Dems had to be "the invisible party, purposely edged off the paper's pages and ignored". Only a tiny spectrum of opinion was permitted. Everyone to the left of Tony Blair (not hard) had to be rubbished – even when their policies spoke for a majority of British people.

Both TV debates, then, have been a very rare moment in which a slightly more liberal-left voice could speak to the public without the distorting frame of pre-emptive abuse and smears. When, for example, have you ever heard the EU defended as plainly and clearly? The window of permissible opinion was opened a little – and people responded with a wave of enthusiasm. It could've been opened wider still – to the Greens, say – and found a receptive audience too.

It's amazing what a little fair play can do and I say this with my fingers crossed because of course the only poll that matters is on May 6th.   Imagine what might happen if government broadly reflected the actual views of the electorate ?  That can only happen if the voting system changes and that will only happen if the Lib Dems manage to break the duopoly previously enjoyed by Labour and the Conservatives.  
Full disclosure:  Bermondsey Mum, although not a member of any political party, is married to a Lib Dem.   Just for fun I tried this online questionnaire in the Telegraph, which takes about 3 minutes to do, and then tells you which party most closely mirrors your views/priorities.  Guess which one Bermondsey Mum topped ?

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