Monday, 26 April 2010

It's Not Just Murdoch and The Daily Fail Who Spin

Last week saw a feeble flurry of attacks on the Liberal Democrats, and specifically our leader Nick Clegg, by the "right wing press". The Torygraph, the Daily Express, the Daily Fail and the Sun pounced and then drew back (no doubt in wait for another opportunity to attack again shortly).

That is unsurprising. As someone who is in a centre-left party, a homosexual, a sceptic, and a Europhile it is hardly shocking to me to see them launching these sort of attacks. Par for the course, as they say.

I've been a Guardian reader since, at least, the year 2000, I'm under no illusions as to what sort of paper that is and, knowing the editorial slant, can usually read between the lines to the kernel of truth at the heart of any story (or even comment). I assume (no... pray!) that those who read the right wing tabloids do the same.

However even taking into account the Labour bias of the paper, I was disgusted to see today's headline story. What they implied was that Nick Clegg would not form a coalition with Labour if they came third in terms of popular vote. This is not what he said.

"It seems to me that it's just preposterous, the idea that if a party comes third in terms of the number of votes, it still has the right to carry on squatting in No 10 and continue to lay claim to having the prime minister of the country," he said.

"What I'm saying here is pointing at a very, very irrational possible outcome of our potty electoral system, which is that a party that has spectacularly lost the election … could nonetheless according to constitutional tradition and convention still lay claim to providing the prime minister of the country.""

He's said here, in a nutshell, "If the election throws up a rogue result of Labour losing popular vote and coming third but winning most number of seats, they shouldn't get Number 10". Therefore, implying, they don't get their guy (Brown or whoever) to be Prime Minister (a job Mr Clegg will certainly want for himself, he is a politician after all!).

Simples. But the Guardian chose to spin it, and for very transparent reasons; they are terrified Labour is about to collapse. This was no less a smear on Nick Clegg than calling him a Nazi, and in smearing him by suggesting he'd only consider the Tories suitable partners the Guardian was trying to terrify wavering Labour supporters into sticking with the tired old, authoritarian party that Labour has become out of fear of a Tory victory.

I know, it's ridiculous, but I felt almost personally affronted by the article. It's sheer CHEEK in suggesting what it was suggesting in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary was infuriating. I expect more of the paper I read, and have thus made the sad decision to give up on the Guardian. I'm turning to the Independent, whose editorial line I've always found confusing and whose website truly sucks but at least I know my money won't be going to support some backward, regressive paper who is willing to spin a story to prop up a war-mongering, civil liberties destroying, half-heartedly reforming mess of a party.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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