Posts Tagged ‘Telegraph’

What if the conservatives move…left?

10/04/2015, 06:30:18 PM

by Joe Reddington

Let us consider the popular (and backed by the data) narrative.  Large numbers of former conservative voters are ‘defecting’ to UKIP, which they believe better represents their views.  UKIPs policies are somewhat significantly to the right of the conservatives, even if there is a perception difference, and it is clear from the polling data that it’s a certain type of conservative that is switching.

The average conservative voter in 2015 is younger, more urban, less likely to own a house, more likely to be non-white, and more likely to have a degree than the average conservative voter of 2010 (see here, p15).  We can then infer that they are also less pension-obsessed, more much likely to be pro-(at least neutral on) Europe, much more likely to favour things like equal rights to marriage, adoption and social care than the average conservative voter of 2010.

Now answer this.  Given the group that is *leaving* the Conservative party, who are the remainder? We see that the Conservative leadership has lurched somewhat to the right in an attempt (and it may be working to a small extent) to stop the bleeding.  But it remains to see what happens if it becomes clear that those voters are staying with UKIP.  The thought that should be keeping Labour strategists up at night is this: what if the new Conservatives listen to their thinned down membership and move left?


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The French ambassador’s Sturgeon statement looks like a non-denial denial

04/04/2015, 10:33:09 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Diplomats weigh their public statements carefully. Words are parsed for intent, implication and likely inference. Which is why the French ambassador’s response to the Telegraph’s Sturgeon scoop is so interesting.

“While the ambassador and the first minister, some time ago, have discussed the political situation, Ms Sturgeon did not touch on her personal political preferences with regards the future prime minister,”

At face value, this seems like a denial. But the words have been very carefully chosen. The key phrase is “did not touch on her personal [emphasis added] political preferences.”

Why use the words “her personal”?

Why draw a clear, albeit implicit, distinction between Nicola Sturgeon’s views as a person and her views as the leader and representative of the SNP?

Surely it would have been simpler for the ambassador’s spokesman to say that there was no discussion on preferences for PM or the outcome of the election. That would have been a categorical and water-tight denial.

The words “her personal” are utterly extraneous, unless they are there for a specific reason.

The statement makes it clear that the “political situation” (in other words the election) was discussed and it would have been extraordinary if the ambassador had not asked Nicola Sturgeon for her views on the result and the SNP’s preferences. She simply would not have been doing her job, and so far noone has suggested that the French ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, is incompetent.

Following the meeting, it is entirely plausible that a Foreign Office official, drafting a short contemporaneous account intended for internal consumption, would assume Nicola Sturgeon was speaking in her capacity as leader of the SNP  – the FCO memo seen by the Telegraph states, “She’d rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn’t see Ed Miliband as PM material.)” – after all, why else would she be meeting the French ambassador?

Just as it’s plausible that a French diplomat looking for a way out of a sticky situation could willfully interpret the memo differently, and take the meaning of the wording, “She’d rather see” to refer to Nicola Sturgeon’s personal views. This would then allow an ambassadorial denial of the story without calling the British Foreign Office liars.

Such semantics might seem esoteric, but this is the stock in trade of senior diplomats. And right now, the French ambassador’s statement looks like a non-denial denial.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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Enjoy your daily paper during the campaign. It might not be there next time round

10/03/2015, 01:17:46 PM

by Atul Hatwal

This election will be the swansong of an institution which has dominated the media landscape for well over a century: the daily newspaper.

By 2020, if the trends established over the past five years continue, four out of 11 daily newspapers will likely have ceased print production.

Old certainties will crumble: the Sun will set – it will no longer have the biggest daily print circulation – and the Telegraph’s commanding lead as the most popular of the old broadsheets will almost entirely evaporate.

The papers likely to cease publication by 2020 are the Independent, the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Daily Star.

Dailies cease print 2020 v2

The Independent will probably be the first to end its print run. If the trend in print sales over the past five years continues, then it will literally run out of readers at the start of 2017.

This does not of course mean the Independent will cease to exist. It can continue online but unless the Lebedev family, or a new owner, is prepared to fund the print run of a paper that absolutely no-one buys, there will be no Independent newspaper in a couple of years.

Compared to the Independent, the Guardian seems relatively healthy. With 185,000 daily sales it still has a significant audience. However, by 2020 a combination of the high operating costs of print and declining sales will tip the balance towards the end of the physical newspaper.


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Thursday News Review

23/12/2010, 07:48:21 AM

Telegraph strikes again

David Heath, the deputy Leader of the House, said the Chancellor had the “capacity to get up one’s nose” and did not appreciate what it was like to lose £1,000 a year – the value of the cut in child benefit for higher earners. Paul Burstow, the care minister, told reporters from The Daily Telegraph: “I don’t want you to trust David Cameron.” And Andrew Stunell, the local government minister, said he did not know where the Prime Minister stood on the “sincerity monitor”. Norman Baker, the transport minister, even privately compared the Conservatives within government to the South African apartheid regime, claiming that it was his job to campaign from the “inside”. The disclosures come on the third day of this newspaper’s investigation into the true feelings of senior Liberal Democrats towards the Coalition. – Telegraph

Mr Baker is a minister in the transport department, working closely with the Conservative Secretary of State, Philip Hammond, and a junior minister, Theresa Villiers. “But what you end up doing in the Coalition, as much as we can is we play them off against each other. You try to get the Tories [to] do things. For example, telling you more than I should be telling you, in the Department for Transport, the rail minister, Theresa Villiers, is actually pretty sound on railways, the Secretary of State is more sceptical, so you know I’ll get Theresa Villiers to argue with him about that, because she can persuade him from the side of the Tory party, because she wants to deliver effectively what is Lib Dem policy.” – Telegraph

David Heath, the Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, said that “the awful thing” about the General Election result was that it left his party with “no alternative” but to join forces with its Conservative rivals. He said his party would have been “wiped out” at the next election if they had refused to enter the Coalition, because voters would have asked, “What’s the point of the Liberal Democrats?” The former optician also said that some of his Tory colleagues “have no experience of how ordinary people live”. – Telegraph

Ed on the attack

Talk about a Christmas miracle: Ed Miliband has set about the task of Opposition with ruthless efficiency today. As both Guido and Nicholas Watt have noted, the Labour leader is all across the broadcast news this afternoon, after upping the heat on Vince Cable and the coalition. His party’s attack comes in the form of a letter sent by the shadow business secretary, John Denham, to the Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell. It asks, mischieveously, whether Vince Cable has broken the ministerial code by promising to wage war against Rupert Murdoch, and whether Jeremy Hunt is impartial enough to step into the breach. And while nothing is likely to come of these exhortations, they have already done their work in terms of grabbing Labour, and Miliband, some rare attention. – The Spectator

Ed Miliband’s new media advisers appear to be making their mark. Tom Baldwin and Bob Roberts have only been in their jobs for a few days but already the Labour party appears to have sharpened up its act. Miliband, who had struggled recently to develop a clear message, is dominating the headlines after outlining a sharp two-pronged attack on the government after the downgrading of Vince Cable’s position in cabinet. So far the signs indicate that Miliband is winning the media battle today but making no progress on substance. But Miliband has made a decisive mark in perhaps the most significant part of his intervention today – sharpening a broader strategic attack on the coalition. Miliband now wants to ram home a very simple message: Britain has a Conservative government, enacting Conservative policies that will alarm progressives by, for example, increasing child poverty. – Guardian (more…)

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Tuesday news review

18/05/2010, 09:42:42 AM

John Cruddas rules out standing for Labour leadership

“The free-thinking Labour leftwinger Jon Cruddas rules himself out of the Labour leadership race, saying he does not have the personal qualities for the job. His announcement, in the comment pages of the Guardian following a weekend of soul searching, will disappoint those hoping his candidacy would broaden the range in the contest.” – The Guardian

John Cruddas rules himself out of Labour leadership – ITN News

“I would like to be involved in the debate about the future direction of the party and how we reconnect with our lost voters. But I cannot enter a leadership election just to contribute to a debate; to go into this must be on the basis of running to win and hand on heart I do not want to be leader of the Labour party or subsequently prime minister. These require certain qualities I do not possess.” – The Guardian

“As the potential field for the party contest continued to narrow, Mr Cruddas said he did not aspire to the top job. The Dagenham MP, who has strong union backing and finished third in the 2007 deputy leadership contest, said ”many people” had urged him to stand and he had given it ”serious thought”. – The Telegraph

David Miliband: Time to repair Labour

Future is the most important word in politics, but at the election people judged that the Labour Party was out of time. The dad I met having breakfast with his son in Rochester on Saturday morning had voted for us three times; this time he felt we weren’t addressing his concerns about the cost of living. Too many people like him felt Britain needed change, but that we didn’t offer it. In a “change election” we were perceived to be defending the old order, rather than advancing a new one. Founded as the people’s party, we were too easy to caricature as the politicians’ party.” – David Miliband, The Times

“David Miliband declared the death of New Labour yesterday as he officially launched his leadership campaign.Speaking overlooking the Tyne in his South Shields constituency, he promised tougher policies to tackle anti-social behaviour and drive up classroom standards. He argued that Labour needed to “catch up” with the ConDem coalition with action on political reform, immigration and housing. But he said at the heart of his campaign was a vow to move the party into a new era.” – The Mirror

“Speaking in his constituency of South Shields, the former foreign secretary claimed the electorate had not sent the party into “retirement” but into “serious rehabilitation” instead.  The elder Miliband – whose main declared rival for the post thus far is his brother Ed – has long been seen as close to the former prime minister Tony Blair. But today he urged the party to bury the labels Blairite and Brownite and “renounced refighting the battles of the past”.” – The Guardian

“David Miliband called time on the “Blair-Brown era” as he officially launched his leadership campaign yesterday with a pledge to end infighting and take the Labour party into an era of idealism. Speaking at his South Shields constituency, the former foreign secretary put critical distance be-tween himself and 13 years of Labour government, saying there was no longer any need to “repeat mantras” or “bow down in front of the greats of the past”.” – The FT

“David’s speech was particularly strong on party organisation and the new politics.  This is important ground, especially in reviving the party organisation, and David sounded genuinely engaged in that -especially in the ending of unattributable briefings.  That said, I wonder what implications the “ending of machine politics” has for, say, Parliamentary selections or the NPF.  David will be asked for more hard edged commitments here, no doubt.” – Hopi Sen

“David Miliband has formally launched his bid for the Labour leadership with a call for his party to “reform, repair and reconnect” with voters, as Ed Balls, the Brownite challenger, prepares to throw his hat into the ring.  Miliband, the Shadow Foreign Secretary and regarded by many as the Blairite candidate, made his pitch in his home constituency of South Shields and sought to downplay the Blairite/Brownite delineation, saying he promised to leave such distinctions to the past. “New Labour did fantastic things for the country, never let anyone take that away, but what counts is Next Labour,” he declared.” – The Herald

“Following David Lammy’s thoughtful contribution which includes a call for the public to be brought into the process, and a piece by Ed Balls who is surely about to join the race, David Miliband has formally launched his camaign with a fresh and lengthy speech. The main focus was on his own roots, values and policy positioning. Miliband indicates he is trying to implement his father Ralph’s legacy with practical politics.” – The New Statesman

The future of Labour

“The Labour party was not smashed to bits on May 6th. Its share of the vote fell below 30% and it was almost wiped out in the south of England. But it fought back impressively in places such as Scotland. Across the U.K. it held on to 258 seats – an impressive total in the circumstances, after a deep recession and some keystone cops antics from it leadership in recent years. Labour’s escape in the election has been likened to the evacuation of Dunkirk: Most of the armor and artillery was left behind but the vast majority of the men got away to fight another day. So, the party is theoretically within touching distance of the Tories – who are on 306 seats. If it can regroup and work out a way to take thirty seats then it would be in a strong position to form an alternative coalition with the Lib Dems. If it could take back 70 it’s back in government.” – Iain Martin, Wall Street Journal

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