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.