Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Telegraph Urges Cameron (Not) To Attack

The words 'Simon Heffer is away' normally cause my heart to leap with joy when I read the Daily Telegraph nowaways. But his ghost still seems responsible for writing the editorial today which criticizes David Cameron for attacking the Government yesterday. But just when I thought things couldn't get worse the Telegraph I see they have hired Bruce Anderson to write for them. Still, I suppose it will be a novelty for the Telegraph to have a pro Cameron columnist on their books. However, his article today is headlined NOW IS THE TIME FOR CAMERON TO ATTACK, which is the very thing the editorial on the next page criticises him for doing! The Telegraph is rapidly losing its way. It's time for them to appoint a new editor who can give it the direction it sorely needs. I just pray it's not Simon Heffer (who is still away).

UPDATE: Further to my piece below about Cameron's speech yesterday, I was talking to a Labour friend earlier who made this observant comment: "Cameron must have got something right in his speech if Prescott has attacked it."

29 comments:

Michael Oakeshott said...

I suspect your dislike for Heffer and the Telegraph is for their failure to join the sycophancy over Dave. But they are right on these things. Cameron has arsed around for months, not discussing serious issues(tax, law and order, Europe and so forth). He has made silly statements about the environment, and has (presumably) authorised William Hague to criticise Israel(absolutely dispicable). He has deceived his supporters over the EPP, and now tops it off by attacking the Government on the one single issue he should have kept his mouth shut on. Cameron is the leader and has the right to lead the party in as stupid a way as he likes, but the Telegraph and many others WILL criticise for this. I suspect most Tory activists(the plebs at the bottom to Dave and co) agree more with Heffer than their current leader.

Mitch said...

Heffer and Anderson are both good journalists. Heffer claims (rightly) that Cameron is a lightweight but seems obsessed by him. Anderson is a bit of a loose cannon and not as sharp as he used to be but he can still put his finger on the point.
I take the Telegraph and read Heffer regularly, and I'll be reading Anderson. BTW I don't vote now but when I did I was a Liberal. I take the Telegraph because it's the best paper.
Since when did the columnists have to agree with the editorial line? Surely they're partly there to disgagree?

Alex said...

DC was good on Today this morning, IMO. Extraordinary leader in the Telegraph - luckily, the Daily Mail leader was much more on the ball. And being attacked by the most discredited political figure in UK (two shags JP) is manna from heaven for DC and the Tories.

Altogether, a good start for DC after the summer break, I would say...

Anonymous said...

The front page of today's Telegraph is a travesty..........but it is dead.......funny how losing Conrad Black caused it to disintegrate

Pulsar said...

Prescott was looking for some method of telling the world he's still alive-Daring Dave shouldn't worry too much!
However the sixth form gushing performance on R4 this morning should give hotel Hilton cause for concern.
I agree about Anderson-NEW EDITOR NEEDED!!!

leon said...

"Cameron must have got something right in his speech if Prescott has attacked it."

I agree with this, also the fact that it drew him out of whatever rock he was hiding under...

tapestry said...

Cameron repeats his promise to repeal the Human Rights Act, so we can expel preachers of hate. The EU ton of bricks will come down on his head if he dares challenge that sacred cow. Interesting that Prescott does not mention this detail. Clearly in no mood to defend it, he goes for smoke screen approach!

dizzy said...

Aren't Alice Thompson and Rachel Sylvester pretty pro-Cameron Iain?

bebopper said...

I stopped reading The Telegraph weeks ago and the onset of Tourette's Syndrome seems to have cleared up.

Large Gin and French said...

Like you, I'm quite glad that Simon Heffer has taken his broken record on holiday with him. But I think Bruce Anderson hit the nail on the head: DC has started to make it repectable to be avowedly pro-tory again, but there comes a time to move away from mood music and start actively showing this government up for the squalid rabble it is. That is the way to turn a small lead into a big one, and I'm sure that is what DC is planning (even if there are debates about timing).

It's a bit unfair for you to say the Anderson article contradicts the leader on the opposite page. The govt needs to be attacked, but that doesn't mean that ANY sort of attack is a good idea per se. I'm not sure DC picked his strongest suit, and I got the same sense with his Today programme interview this morning.

However, I'd actually be quite happy if all the articles in the Op Ed sections contradicted each other. Otherwise, what's the point of having more than one? I rather liked it when Sion Simon (now a Labour MP) had a weekly column in the Telegraph. Kept us on our toes.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who finds Simon Heffer absolutely ghastly. The Telegraph has really lost its way recently (whether or not that's the Barclay influence, I couldn't say). Having said that, it remains (just about) ahead of the Sunday Telegraph which makes my wife grind her teeth every time it writes about women.

David said...

We're heading into dangerous territory if the government thinks it should be immune from criticism, simply because it's on a serious issue. How dare the leader of the Opposition oppose anything indeed?

I truly think the most annoying new tactic the government has adopted is pointing out the legislation the Conservatives have voted against because of one (often minor) thing the legislation contained. For example, how often do you hear Blair whinge that they voted against the CJA, and it contains half a dozen sections on terrorism and asylum seekers that might have been useful? But he doesn't seem to realise it also does about 10,000 other things, many of which have significantly complicated the Justice System, which is why it was voted against.

Similarly, if he was able to control his own party the Terrorism Bill 2006 would have been passed in its entirety. It seems rather sad to blame the Opposition for opposing your legislation when you can't even whip your own MPs into voting for it.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the Prescott comment. Fair enough, if any other minister had attacked him, but Prescott will attack Cameron for being David Cameron, leader of the tories, old Etonian, Oxford toff etc..

Anonymous said...

You bring up the ghastly spectre of Heffer editing the Telegraph again, Iain. Is this just a fear, a nightmare, a horrific fantasy, or is it being mooted seriously? Please tell me it isn't.

strapworld said...

When Heffer supported the ghastly Nigel Farage of ukip in the bromley bye election he nailed his colours to the mast.

The only good thing the essex living toff has done is his book on the second best englishman (Churchill being the first) Enoch Powell. (Gosh how the great man's warnings are coming home to roost now, are they not!).

The Telegraph's editorial alongside the Anderson column is quite bewildering. looking each way? Perhaps they are about to support the Lib Dems!

Ed said...

If you'll recall, Heffer and Cameron's mutual dislike is a rather personal thing - it's not just professional. Recall that Cameron said something along the lines of: "Heffer isn't one of the things that's wrong with the Conservative Party. Heffer IS what's wrong with the Conservative party." Ouch. Handbags, etc. For that reason I think it's quite reasonable to read anything Heffer says about Cameron as being absolutely ridiculous. Even Tebbit has nice things to say about Cameron - surely he's more representative of the traditional Tory right than some pompous columnist?

And yes, I thought today's leader was ridiculous, too. Cameron had every right to make that attack. Just because a situation is grave and universally important doesn't mean that the opposition can't do what our taxes pay it to do - oppose...

For me, the defining legacy of this Labour government will be its inability to accept or even reply constructively to criticism. It's got a kind of inbuilt 'Kevin the Teenager' button. We'll look back and laugh, I think.

legal eagle said...

"I don't understand the Prescott comment."

You aren't the first and certainly won't be the last.

Lord haw Haw said...

Agree totally about The Telegraph. Their reporting of the last Yougov poll was just bizarre too. If The Times jumps ship I'll go back to it.

Anonymous said...

There are rather alarming rumours that Heffer might end up in the editor's chair....

Scary.. But if you haven't seen today's paper yet, have a look at the Matt cartoon on the website - absolutely priceless. He always seems to be able to find a light hearted angle for serious topics.

ol' timer said...

It's all very confusing. The world needs rid of Emily and his cancerous crew but replace them with who, sorry Verity, whom?

DC may have a 'cunning plan' to cause NuLab to finally self destruct, but if he has it's a bigger secret than Operation Overlord!

Everyone I speak to says the same thing, no more Labour please, but who else is there?

DC has the chance to become the next PM but he has to start listening to the people who put 'X' in the box and 'do' something. Listening to advice from Tory manadarins who are themselves failures will not help him.
I am at this stage confident that the utter shower of s*** now in power will be dislodged come the election, but us, the plebiscite need direction.

Do you want to be PM Dave? Or is leader of the opposition a better job? What you are doing now is not convincing anyone that you are deserving of high office.

We need a change of government, if you haven't got the balls to fight Dave, give someone else a chance. Currently you're about as effective as John Major, Oh Yes!

As the saying goes Dave, "Either shit, or get off the pot!"

Best wishes!

RedEye said...

I still enjoy Matthew d'Ancona's column. Iain Martin has been very good standing in for him - he should be given a column of his own in the DT.

Will Anderson continue with his Indy column?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with your comments about today's Telegraph and the ghastly, pompous twit Simon Heffer. IMHO the Telegraph hasn't had a proper sense of direction since the departure of Max Hastings. It is now firmly anchored in a spot 50 years Before The Present, obsessed with Europe. I suspect its problem now is that David Cameron shows encouraging signs of being the first Conservative leader since John Major to recognise that following the Telegraph's editorial line on anything - particularly Europe - is tantamount to committing electoral suicide, and the paper is having difficulties dealing with this.

Maggie Thatcher fan said...

I used to buy the Telegraph every day, Now I don't buy it at all......Enough said.

Verity said...

Yes, Matthew d'Ancona is good. Sam Leith is funny, as is Nigel Farndale. That it about wraps it up for talent at The Telegraph these days.

No more Barbara Amiel. No more Mark Steyn. No more Janet Daley. In other words, no more smart,opinionated, articulate and witty people. This tells me the Barclay brothers have the same level of humourless intensity of the Hindujah brothers. Do the Barclays know Peter Mandelson and Keith Vaz, I wonder?

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

When the Barclay's bought it, a rumour went round that they were going to take it Nu Labour. I often wonder if this is what they're done, but keep the circulation by not being over obvious.
I stopped buying it after they ran a critical article on William Hague's ability to be shadow Foreign Sec because he had made horrid jokes about the French and Germans when he chaired "Have I got News For You" A YEAR BEFORE!
The article read in tone exactly as if it had been written by Alistair "big mistake, pal" Campbell.

UK Daily Pundit said...

Odd timing, that's what I can't get over. Almost as if he was forced to make the speech. He positively squirmed when he mentioned the Home Office budget had been frozen. I can't work him out. Nor, I'd suspect, can the voters.

Verity said...

uk daily pundit - I agree with you. I can't believe anyone could really be that useless and keep looking for hidden depths.

tone made me do it - I think the Barlcays have NuLab sympathies as do so many rich people unaffected their policies. I think the editor has conservative instincts, but maybe he's "turned". Certainly, The Telegraph is not a Tory, or even conservative, newspaper since they got their hands on it. All conservative opinion, except an occasional piece from Charles Moore, is gone.

As to The Speccie, I don't even bother clicking onto it any more. For one thing, the design is an impenetrable mess. And Matthew d'Ancona, whose writing is OK does not,I fear, have the makings of a strong editor. I suspect Quentin Letts would have had a far stronger editorial hand - plus he's very funny and would have run some humour.

Graeme Archer said...

It's not exactly a good feeling, but I do find it very comfortable to read the large range of comment here, all saying that Heffer's an obsessive bore, that the Telegraph is no longer worth reading, and that the Spectator has slid downhill fast. I thought it was just me. Finding that the two media outlets I'd relied on for years were either boring or annoying me, I'd started to worry about my perception of reality! So glad to know it's not just me!

philip walling said...

I agree with the criticism above. It seems to me that both the Spectator and the Telegraph have been infected by the New Labour virus which has damaged everything.

Matthew D'Ancona is clearly not a Tory, rather he is a great supporter of Blair and the Spectator is not safe in his hands.
The Telegraph is becoming boring and, worse still, is rapidly appearing out of date by trying to look modern and up to the minute.

A friend of mine has started taking the Scotsman in protest, although I don't think I could go that far.