Monday, February 08, 2010

Is the Telegraph Still the Tory Party House Journal?

The Daily Telegraph always used to be considered the 'House Journal' of the Conservative Party. But according to a ConservativeHome blogpost today, Tim Montgomerie reckons his blog has now taken over that position - at least among Conservative Party candidates. He surveyed 150 PPCs to find out which media they read regularly. This was the result.

Ninety two per cent said they trusted ConHome whereas the Telegraph only scored 67%.

It's easy to make too much out of this. You still have to bear in mind that the Telegraph sells 800,000 copies a day, whereas ConHome will have between 20,000 and 40,000 individual readers each day. But Tim is right. Conservatives have fallen out of love with the Telegraph, and this was happening way before the expenses scandal. Why is this?

Conservatives are instintively loyal to their Party. A newspaper's loyalty lies elsewhere. Over the last few years the Telegraph has given the impression of delighting in any difficulty the Conservative Party happens to find itself in. It has been sceptical, if not downright hostile, to David Cameron right from the start, with some difficult personal relationships not helping. Simon Heffer has played a big role in the alienation of the Telegraph from the Party, but he has been aided and abetted by many other Telegraph regulars such as Janet Daley and Jeff Randall. No matter who has been brought in to provide some balance, the space provided to Cameron sceptics has always been greater.

It is not the Telegraph's role to be a cheerleader for the Tory Party, but nor is its role to be downright hostile. And that is how it is now perceived by many ordinary and loyal party members.

As an election approaches, thinks don't seem to be getting much better. Even the recruitment of Ben Brogan hasn't made a huge difference to the paper's overall editorial position. While his weekly column is less hostile to the Conservatives and he seeks to explain Cameron to the Telegraph's readers in a much better way than I ever used to, the overall tone of the comment pages is still hostile. And then there's the ongoing campaign against Nadine Dorries, which Dizzy catalogues HERE.

All that said, it is still a great newspaper, and it is one I still read most days - unlike its competitors.


Anonymous said...

I suggest the 86% for the Beeb, is to find oiut what the enemy are saying today?

Michael J McCormick said...

The Daily Telegraph is just reflecting its readership; they are not very keen on David Cameron.

Liz said...

The proprietors of the Telegraph, the secretive Barclay Bros, are friendly with gormless - so it is unsurprising that its contributors are hostile. I used to be a great fan of the Torygraph but it has not been my first choice paper for some years now. you o failed to mention gormless' No 1 cheerleader, Mary Ridiculous - comments on her articles are unanimous in taking the piss....

Anonymous said...

heffer would be attacking thatcher for being wishy-washy were she still active today......he is a man who all too obviously pines for the majesty of the Raj, and thinks that anyone who hasn't bagged a tiger before breakfast and thrashed the servants for not ironing his newspaper properly isn't a gentleman and so cannot be a tory.

best to ignore him. or alternativley tell him Kipling is dead and the empire has gone and watch him implode

DespairingLiberal said...

Quite funny that the BBC, which you Tory bloggers so loath and want to shut down and sell off cheap to Murdoch in little pieces - comes - wait for it - second only to Conservative Home amongst TORY CANDIDATES.

Bizarre though how highly placed Staines is as his blog rarely has anything more intelligent than abuse and US far-right-inspired Libertarian tosh. Quite a revelation that this is a premier news source amongst Conservative Parliamentary Candidates. One trembles for the future.

John R said...

As a long time Tory supporter I read it (and the BBC) as regularly as I ever used to - I just dont like or believe it as much as I did. It's the least worst paper in my view.

Anonymous said...

The Telegraph is a gag of cr@p.

It has a Brownite as political editor. Heffer is a raving looney.

even today - its on[line edition has a headline with Harman attaching Cameron for is comments over the labour lying 3. And then we read that Brown has withdrawn the whip - at last.

Even after Thatchers victoiry I remember the Telegraph leader saying it would be acting as an opposition to the govt.

Even its sports coverage is cr@p and its self serving expenses coverage was gross tabloidisation.
Its headlines rarely match with the reality of the story.
Its aganda is anti politics and pro Barclay Bros.

Dellingpole online is a rarety when put alongside Heaven Heffer sour-faced Daley and they even give propaganda space to Martin Salter.

There are no newspapers worth reading anymore and it comes to something when the best of them is Murdochs Times.

Intelligence Insider said...

"Ninety two per cent said they trusted ConHome whereas the Telegraph only scored 56%."

Iain, the Telegraph scored 67% on trust, 56% was the amount that read it regularly. IMHO it's still the best, by far, of all the dead tree press.

Simon said...

67% said they trusted the "Telegraph", Iain according to the ConHome article - please get it changed in your post.

Wallenstein said...

The Telegraph - particularly the letters page - has gone beyond parody in the last couple of years.

It reads like a "spoof" Telegraph ought to sound, full of "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" blustering but without the self-mocking irony that e.g. many Guardian letters display.

Alan Douglas said...

I've read the DT for many years.

Would switch if anything better existed. Tried the S Times as replacement for S Telegraph for a few weeks, but it was no better.

Now I get what I want mainly from the blogs, Iain, Guido and ConHome as the first 3 every day, plus Coffee House, which is also in decline since Frazer moved up.

Alan Douglas

PS Iain for fair-mindedness + many links to others of all persuasions
Guido for sharply targeted ire
ConHome for factual and fair articles and comments.

John Moorcraft said...

Interesting. I am sure my publishers will not mind me contributing the following (popped on ConHome as well)

For my research on young conservatism (due for publication, at long last, in the summer) I asked 2,500+ members and supporters of the Conservative Party under 30 to indicate what newspapers and blogs they regularly read. The results bare more than a passing resemblance to what appears on ConHome. The Daily Telegraph remains popular (more so then when Whiteley, Seyd and Richardson undertook a more comprehensive assessment of the entire grassroots in their work published in 1994), but one or two blogs are now the most regular ports of call (in my case – ConHome and Iain Dale topped the poll...Guido was less popular. The only other blog I looked at was Tory Bear, who finished bottom of the four blogs, but was still read more than many national newspapers). It would also seem is more popular with young members and supporters than PPC's. Perhaps that article indicating you should clear before you tweet is founded on good ground! I would suggest something about May's Law here, but lets not get too academic!!!

An interesting observation in my research however is the difference in the amount of supporters who read the Sun in comparison to party members. The membership stat is similar to what Tim has suggested (a bit higher)...the supporters stat was much higher............

Of course, my research is an examination of young conservative members, voters, and supporters and must been seen in that context (you could argue you would expect a more new media savvy younger generation to reach for the internet in preference to the newsagent). However, it does seem to me that we are seeing C/conservatives embrace new media outlets at the expense of the dead tree press.

Jabba the Cat said...

Heffer articulates the serious reservations that many Tories feel about Call Me Dave, Boy George and the Invisible Hague.

I get the distinct impression that many Tories would prefer to bury their heads in the sand, or stick their fingers in their ears and loudly wail la-la-la, than face up the serious shortcomings with the current Tory leadership.

What makes these particularly pressing issues is that we expect the Tories to shortly win the next election and have to undertake cleaning up the ZaNuLab created mess within this country.

However, like Heffer, I see no signs of clear and determined leadership on the Tory front benches and I find this very worrying. This contrasts starkly with Mrs Thatcher's leadership in opposition, where she took every opportunity to point out the problems and state how she was going to solve them. It was this clarity and perceived determination to solve these problems that people across middle England understood, and consequently voted for in the next three general elections.

Archbishop Cranmer said...

It is interesting to observe that at the same time as The Telegraph has been becoming anti-Tory, it has also migrated to a distinctly anti-Anglican position.

matterhorn said...

The problem with the Telegraph for natural Conservative voters is that you might come across an article by Mary Riddell, containing an apologia for Mr Brown, the sheer preposterousness of which could render you suddenly and quite seriously under the weather. As for the Heff, my theory is that he spends too long in the back of a London cab (perhaps on the way to or from the Garrick Club) so he doesn't realise that a vast swathe of the British public (people who buy things they don't need, urgently or at all, on high priced credit) will always go for the soft option. Sad and cynical it may be, Heff old chap, but you've got to get elected first.

Anonymous said...

Iain :

It is not the Telegraph's role to be a cheerleader for the Tory Party, but nor is its role to be downright hostile.

You should have stopped at the first comma. A private company can be downright hostile to whoever it darn well likes, subject to libel laws. It's only role is to make money for its owners, or to follow its owners' agenda sufficiently that they are prepared to subsidise any losses.

It seems particularly unfortunate that you are coming out with this tosh only days after you were saying Biteback would publish a Tory Peter Watt. Your argument seems to be that the Telegraph should not be hostile to the Tories but Biteback can be hostile to the Tories if it makes money for the proprietor of Biteback?

Scary Biscuits said...

McCormick's right. The Telegraph commentators are just reflecting readers' views; there's precious little enthusiasm for Cameron among Conservatives, which verges regularly on outright hostility. As Conservatives we want to support him but every time we convince ourselves that he's ok, he's goes and does something to upset us (and Telegraph columnists). E.g. the latest example was attempting to hire Ld Stern as 'climate change' advisor, as though the recent scandals, which also implicated Stern, hadn't happened. What planet are these guys on?

Iain, writes as though the Telegraph has something against the Tories. Maybe they have but the real problem is the lack on Conservative policies they can get behind. Heffer may upset the wets with his Daily Mail style prose but his basic argument that what's the point of voting Conservative if all we get is a fourth term of Blairism, still hasn't been answered. Until it has, we shouldn't be suprised that 75% of voters (including absentions) don't intend to vote Conservative at the next election.

Robert said...

The Telegraph may no longer be the newspaper of choice for Conservatives, but then the Conservative Party is no longer the party of choice for conservatives.

I will not be voting for Cast Iron Dave's Conservative Party at the next election in a Labour 'marginal' and could not care less who is elected to the toy parliament. Until we get political parties that actually reflect the views of voters, parliament will continue to be meaningless. Oh yes and parties that are prepared to take us out of the EU and stand up for Britain against all this climate warming nonsense. That probably means the Monster Raving Looney Party to most of you.

Prodicus said...

Randall, Daley, both basically pro-Tory. Heffer, maverick, all good fun. Ginger groups are OK and none of these is a Conservative electoral problem.

Life's too short, though, for religiously Brownite Hennessy and his little helper, Riddell. Why doesn't Hennessy go the whole hog and poach Professor Beard? She'd be right at home on his team and we'd all know where we stand.

Hotmail said...

Iain you are too kind about the Telegraph. You omit

Rosa Prince - the recruit from the Mirror's political dept. A place where only Labour members are allowed to work.

Andrew Porter "political editor" the drinking buddy of McBride and the chap who tried to stop Guido running the Mcbride email stuff.

Robert Winnett, the paper’s deputy political editor close to Mcbride.

The Sun Telegraph Political Editor, Patrick Hennessey described by Martin Bright as a Brownite and someone almost appointed Editor of New Statesman.

It is a very long list.

Anonymous said...

Ian - could you ask one of your techie friends to introduce a Like/Don't like button next to the comments?

I would like to say my bit but it's already been said and I don't want to bore people rigid. If there were a ratings button people could show which comments they agree with.

For what it's worth, I agree with McCormick and Scary Biscuits. Why vote for Cameron just to get more of what we've endured under Blair and Brown?

William Blake's Ghost said...

Despairing Liberal:

How do you think that we know that the Brown Broadcasting Company is biased in the first place? How else would they know what the current enemy spin line in its native form is?

As you overlooked these rather obvious points it makes your comment regarding Guido hilarious because your existence is clearly almost totally detached from intellegence and hence would not know what intelligence was if it walked up and bit you on the arse.

Shish these Liberals make you want to despair sometimes.

Unsworth said...

Another example of DesperateLiberal's complete failure to understand anything at all. Since when did popularity derive from or equal intelligence? Is he a Sun 'reader'?

Anonymous said...

McCormick (et al) -- I see this quote from right winigsh Daniel Hannan,
"Still casting around for a good reason to vote Conservative? Read David Cameron’s latest speech.
The Conservative leader has taken the agenda set out in 'The Plan' ... and turned it into a manifesto ... That’s the stuff, David."

So continue to dream on Mr M.

And Jabba the cat ... this right wing tory does not give a monkey's for Mr Heffer. He realises that the public generally are to the left of him. He also remembers it was Mrs T who took us in to the single market. get real and get a life.

If Tory voters actually thought like you pretend they did, then why have we lost the last 3 elections?

Fingal3 - Do you really think Cameron is like Brown?? or Blair??
Do you really think that the next 5 years of a Conservative govt would be like the next 5 years of a Labour govt ??
If you do then you deserve to be sectioned. I refer you to Mr Hannan's points reported above.

Bird said...

I stopped reading the Telegraph and Spectator months ago. I still read Coffee House Blog (online Spectator) for the opportunity to heap odure onto its anti-Cameron posters.
The slyest anti-Tory propaganda machine is the BBC, particularly on radio, where most news bulletins begin with "Gordon Brown said today...." "Gordon Brown will be meeting...."etc.
And any utterance from Cameron is treated to an instant rebuttle from a "Government spokesman".
How often do you hear "The Tory leader was put on the defensive today"..."came under fire today..."etc.? Almost every day.
The BBC also pushes the current narrative with buzz phrases like "Tory party wobbling..." "Tory leader was accused of opportunism today..."
Re newspapers: I take the Times, trying to avoid anything written by NuLab stooges Philip Webster and Tom Baldwin.
End of rant.

wild said...

The fact that Tories claim that the BBC is institutionally biased just proves that it is balanced.

I think that the BBC ought to be broadcast (both radio and television) into every home in the land and everybody made to pay for it.

All unbalanced sources of news and comment (for example Murdoch's Sun newspaper) ought to be closed down and replaced with newspapers that are required by law to be balanced.

They should enshrine in law a code of rights that give us the freedom to agree with whatever is rational.

Call me an extremist but I think that all private schools ought to be closed down (or at least excluded from any charity status) and anybody who teaches ought to have a certificate of correct thinking.

Only then will we enjoy the true freedom of living in accordance with the rationality of a General Will.

BenS said...

So what's better, 'instinctive' loyalty in the place of principle, or principle in the place of loyalty? Actually, don't answer that...

I'm not suggesting the Telegraph has principles - it's a newspaper after all - but its writers, people like Heffer, clearly are more keen on sticking to their guns than jumping on the Cameron bandwagon.

Something that quite a lot of so-called 'conservatives' have been happy to do.

Jabba the Cat said...

@ wild

"I think that the BBC ought to be broadcast (both radio and television) into every home in the land and everybody made to pay for it."

Thanks, but I make my own choices over which brain washing I wish to listen to, and the Bee Bee Cee is not on that list. If you want to listen and watch their output feel free to do so and foot the bill.

eb said...

I am with Simon Heffer and the Telegraph. The Tory party elects someone with little experience as leader because they think he is a blue Blair. He promised to keep to Labour spending, when it must have been obvious that ruin would be the result. He did not change until it was obvious to even the most dimwitted that it was definitely a bad policy. He did react quickly to the expenses scandal but, if he really considered it that bad (and it was) why had he not acted sooner. Lots more in that vein plus his use of focus groups that have only a rear view mirror. Finally, of course, is him reneging on his "cast iron guarantee". The only reason to vote for Dave is that he is not Gordon and his Tories are not Noo Labor but are they really that different or any more competent?

Sorry Ian, I have been hoping that you, and others, were right but all the evidence points to his organisation not being significantly better than Noo Labor.

Anonymous said...

It's the Pope, stupid!

wild said...

Jabba the Cat,

What you suggest seems dangerously close to the notion that we ought to live in a free society. Personally I think it is better if the BBC tells us what to think.

Since paying people to tell us what to think costs money it is fair enough that we should be made to pay for it.

I think the BBC is great value for money.

Brock said...

I am a conservative who abstained in the last three general elections - simply due to the absence of any policy worth voting for. Now we have a situation where (eg) we know that crime has greatly escalated under this Labour government - and the conservatives actually have a constructive argument ('get the coppers back on the streets, away from filling-in-forms'). Why aren't we hearing this message blasted from every rooftop?
There are several other big issues that are likewise being overlooked.