Saturday, 24 April 2010

Saturday papers: What's not to like?

PoliticsHome has the front pages. For the first time in three days - the debate outcome, and the Kill Clegg campaign - the paper's just can't decide what the main story is. Mysteriously, no other paper joins Paul Dacre in making the obvious choice and putting the great bin apocalypse "THE NINE BIN NIGHTMARE" as the main event. (The target is a Tory-LibDem administration: is that the hidden message?). Dacre's bin nightmare means relegating Tory-boosting - "Cameron surges past Clegg" - to second place on the Mail front-page.

The Tiems reports that Gordon Brown will have a much higher profile in the Labour campaign, as the focus returns to the economy. (The low key nature of the Prime Minister's regional tour was this week questioned in Jonathan Freeland's front-page Guardian report).

There is a fascinating nugget in The Times' inside report.

It is a notable feature of the television debates that Mr Cameron’s likeability figures have fallen after every debate. While 53 per cent of people thought the Tory leader likeable before the debates began, 45 per cent did so after the first event and that figure dropped to 38 per cent after Thursday’s clash.

The convergence of some key leadership ratings between Brown and Cameron has been much underreported. While Brown was narrowly third on debate performance, he was slightly ahead on best Prime minister (35-33-26 over Cameron then Clegg) with a larger lead (43-34-18) on best decisions in a crisis in the Guardian/ICM poll of debate-watchers.

This potentially sets Brown up well for the final debate on the economy. The paper also reports that "The number of voters saying that he knows how to strengthen the economy has risen from 33 per cent before the first debate to 43 per cent, according to Populus. Mr Cameron remains static on 35 per cent".


The Guardian carries a David Miliband interview in which he warns that a hung Parliament is not n the ballot paper and stakes Labour's claim to the progressive banner. It also contains what interviewers Aida Edemariam and Patrick Wintour suggest could be the world's worst political joke:

"The Tories are saying, 'We change our values, we keep our policies, but hey presto, we can have a progressive country!' You can't! It's a con! It's putting the con back into Conservative. John Major put the 'er' back into Conservative, David Cameron's put the Con into Conservative – and Norman Lamont put the VAT into Conservative!" A big laugh. "That's quite a good one!" His self-confidence creates an aura of hilarity, if not always quite the thing itself.

The Independent reports that the Moody's credit ratings agency dismissed hung Parliament scaremongering - and the paper has totted up that 10 of the 16 countries with AAA ratings have coalition governments.

The Conservatives plan for a coalition front-page Telegraph story contains rather less than meets the eye).


In the week when James Murdoch and Rebekah Wade went bonkers - amusingly, taking deep offence at the assertion that 'Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election' - Ian Burrell of The Independent thinks the red-tops are losing the plot.

Reporting only the favourable elements (and positive polls) of such a public occasion is like covering an England football match, broadcast live to the nation, and refusing to acknowledge goals scored by the opposition. In a modern media era when consumers are never far from an alternative news source, that just won't cut it.


Bigger than Jesus?

Finally, the theory that New Labour believed the meaning of life could be found in managing expectations has been disproved, with Alastair Campbell teasing twitter over a celebrity endorsement for Labour today.

gutted can't make Labour NHS event tomorrow. One of my heroes going to be there backing the party. Gary Barlow small fry by comparison

we are talking big. I mean mega. Could be highlight of campaign ... and I'll be stuck in London reading Cameron/Clegg economy speeches.

Nobody has guessed the legend who will be backing Labour tomorrow. One clue - he was John Lennon's hero too

Which rules out my initial guess: Labour-supporting Robbie Williams.

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