Sunday, February 11, 2007

When an Exclusive is Not Quite What it Seems

Sky and News 24 and the Sundays are full of the Francis Elliott/James Hanning "revelations" about David Cameron's schooldays. Big deal. He handled the issue very well during the leadership contest and I expect him to do so again.

The amusing part of this story is how the Mail on Sunday have a so-called EXCLUSIVE from two journalists from the Independent on Sunday. Money talks, eh? Although the Indy have also run it as an exclusive (so, laughably, has the News of the World) they really need to buck up on their own PR. Apparently they rang News 24 this evening to complain about them saying it was a Mail on Sunday story on their bulletins. The BBC replied that if the Indy had bothered to tell them it was their story in the first place it would never have happened. Elementary PR, you'd have thought.

Several journalists are querying now what exactly the Conservative policy on soft drugs is. I suspect it will remain whatever David Davis says it is. Period.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interetsing sense of BBC news priorities on running this non story as a lead tonight. Given the BBCs propensity for nose powder its dangerous territory for them - pots-kettle-black etc. Who didn't smoke dope at school? Only Norman fuckin Tebbit as far as I can tell.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

The Daily Mail today (Saturday) has decided to run a 2 page spread on the 9/11 conspiracy theories and a You Tube video.

I just can't believe they ran with this contemptible bollocks.

I use to think that the Mail was a useful right-wing attack dog.

Chicken liken news (the sky is falling in) is now a better description. Coined here first (I believe) by a good friend of mine.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

mutleythedog said
Who didn't smoke dope at school? Only Norman fuckin Tebbit as far as I can tell.

ehh....

(entire Blog World looks at Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence)

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Mutleythedog. I'd be amazed if this story is still around on Monday. Whatever next - an exclusive on how David Cameron once made a paper aeroplane in geography class? The Sundays reporting this really should take a moment to remember the reason they got into journalism, and ask themselves whether this really constitutes hard news.

Personally, I think Hain saying that big City bonuses should be outlawed is a slightly bigger story. Yes, that's a good idea Peter. All the City workers will leave the country for less onerous tax regimes, but that's okay, because we can get Sharon from the Basingstoke branch of Natwest to work in the futures market instead. Her boyfriend's mum's step-dad once read most of a copy of the FT that was left on the Tube - how hard can it be, after all?

And as for your career hopes, Peter - the deputy leader's future may be bright, but the deputy leader's future most certainly isn't orange.

The Empty Suit said...

Unsurprising for the Beeb to give a Tory-bashing story such a puff. I wonder when they'll start digging into the allegations about senior Cabinet members serially harassing women, or a very senior *cough* figure being into dope and wife-swapping?

Oh, silly me.

Anonymous said...

The question still remains that had he told the truth about his drug use would he have been elected leader-I think we all know the answer!

Anonymous said...

The Conservatives should declare that once they are back in power they will flog off the BBC and thus abolish the licence fee. Very few people would miss this bunch of overpaid card carrying Trots. Bloody labour arse licking parasites.

Anonymous said...

I'd regard a story about what a politician did as a schoolboy 25 yrs ago as garbage, no matter what Party they are now in.

Is the BBC going to get an affidavit from every Minister/Shadow in the HoC that they never swiped a pack of sweets from Woolies, or snuck into a cinema for free?

Let's hear more from the BBC about the restrictions now being imposed on the Freedom of Information Act by the very Govt that introduced the legislation.

Raedwald said...

It's quite wonderful how these anti-Dave snipes tend to rebound. People found Dave the Chameleon really cute - 'Hmmm, a politician who is prepared to listen and change his views' - and the knocking campaign actually gained him support.

I don't suppose there can be many folk under 60 who haven't tried a spliffy at some stage. Despite the BBC's utterly inappropriate headlining of this story, no one seems to care. Except Norman.

As Dave's 'normal bloke' credentials soar, now watch for Brown supporters desperately trying to find someone - anyone - to testify that they saw Gordon smoking something that may have been a spliffy .....

nadders said...

And I bet he had an alcoholic drink before he was 18, and has exceeded the speed limit, and kissed a girl in a manner that today would be classified as a sex crime too

It is amusing to read and see how smoking a joint is referred to as "taking drugs". Maybe they are relating it to the media industries heavy coke habit

Anonymous said...

Is this not part of the Eton RnR curriculum? I always thought it was.

There should be some formal national recognition of the basics here. I had in mind a GCSE to encompass basic spliff-rolling, identification of brands and origins - such as Lebanese Red or Afghan Gold, stash location, machine vs manual construction, relative costs, quality assessment etc.

It would neatly interplay with most of the rest of school lessons, such as Geography, Maths, Chemistry, Biology and practical skills.

In any event, it should be placed on the National Curriculum, after all, we should not allow our state school pupils to be deprived of this valuable social skill. Perhaps New Labour has missed a trick here.

Bryan Appleyard said...

The use of the word 'spliff' is interesting. I thought that died in about 1972, out-competed by the more familiar 'joint". Perhaps it is time to resurrect 'reefer'. 'Funny fag' or 'waccy-baccy' are just too postmodern.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that Cameron was stupid enough to think that this story about his school days would remain secret - and quite frankly it really is a non story in this day and age - even Norman Tebbit cannot get too outraged (does the Mail on Sunday have readers who are even bigger reactionary bigots than Tebbit - difficuly to believe that they could read however)

My guess is that Cameron is hiding something else and the press are pretty near to saying what it is - and this is just part of tactic to smoke it out.

Anonymous said...

Complete non-story. I'm sure the UKIP gang of three will be hammering every blog in the country about how ghastly this is and would never have happened in the old days &c &c. Although I seem to remember a party conference a few years ago where just about every member of the shadow cabinet - including Oliver Letwin? - "confessed" to having tried dope in their youth, in order to combat some draconian nonsense policy being touted by the usually blessed Anne Widdecombe. Apologies if that's a false memory! though in my case it's definitely the gin that's to blame.

Anonymous said...

This will cost a further margin of winning votes and make tory politicians more of a laughing stock,whilst taking a bit of heat off Labour.There will be level Opinion Polls next time.
Anybody for a new Leader yet?

Anonymous said...

Dope and wife swapping, eh ? Now that sounds a bit more exciting than what happened a quarter of a century ago.

jailhouselawyer said...

I thought it was amusing to hear David Cameron stating that the past should stay in the past, and that he was happy for the media to shove their cameras up his nose. It will make a change from what he is used to shoving up his nose, allegedly...

Anonymous said...

'Period' ? Is this a bit like a 'full stop' ? You will be telling us next that you are off to see a 'movie' tonight, when you are actually going to see a film.

Anonymous said...

If I were David Cameron, I would be far more embarrassed by the Bullingdon photo that looks more like a dodgy 80s New Romantic pop group than anything else! Crimes of fashion can never be forgiven.

The Indy also has the weekly piece by Comical Ali, aka John Rentoul, mini-PMOS etc. He claims that Boris Johnson tried to dig up dirt on Bliar ie. that he smoked dope during his long-haired London year, and that the evidence was completely to the contrary. Yes, and I believe in the Tooth Fairy!

Anonymous said...

BBC has this as the second story when I watched at 11pm and midnight and not at all over night. Sky News took up the first ten minutes of each hour last night with this story.

As the BBC is paid for by us I think all reporters/correspondents/anchors should be made to answer the same question - "Have you ever smoked cannabis?"

Sky News is crap any way

Anonymous said...

I think Cameron should get used to little attempts to derail his march towards 10 Downing Street. As other people have already commented, I think it will blow over very fast, although I'm not sure this will be the last time we hear about it.

The only consolation for DC is that this seems to be the best the opposition can throw at him, which might give him a bit of encouragement in a bizarre way.

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I think Hain saying that big City bonuses should be outlawed is a slightly bigger story."

Even more of a reason to set the firing squads on him. Who the Hell is he to tell companies how much they can and cannot pay their employees?

Anonymous said...

"The use of the word 'spliff' is interesting. I thought that died in about 1972, out-competed by the more familiar 'joint"."

A few years ago there was a range of bomber jackets with pictures of druggies on the back with "spliffy" written above them. It's not a phrase I hear as often as "joint" though.

Roger Thornhill said...

Frankly, so many things will be resolved if drugs are made (near freely) available for consumption on the premises of regulated centres. How many ODs occur due to users getting better quality material? How much mental deragement is caused by cutting materials? If the criminal element is removed, how better to deal with the far smaller problems caused by users? The Afghani growers would be given a legal market overnight to boot, making the Brits a customer, not the enemy.

This should be an 18DS attackvert IMHO.

FYI I have not smoked a single cigarette. Now? Alcohol and the odd cigar ( <5/year), so I have no axe to grind/spliff to roll over this.

Ralph said...

'Interetsing sense of BBC news priorities'

Non story given hype becomes news, a bit like the 'cripple' Email story.

Anonymous said...

Dave best leader since 1997 says Hague.
Is he starting to mix politics with after dinner jokes?

The Daily Pundit said...

And when Peter Ainsworth says "it was kind of the odd ones out who didn't (smoke cannabis)," do you condone the message he's sending out to youngsters? Do you condone the message he's sending out to parents who worry constantly about their kids getting involved with drugs? How many of his frontbench colleagues agree with him that it's only the odd ones out who don't smoke cannabis?

Ainsworth quote, Yahoo News

Old BE said...

This must be all part of Cameron's strategy - by upsetting Tebbit he proves he is modern and electable.

The "senior Labour aide" quoted in The Times is having a laugh! I think it's time Guido released the video of the cabinet member skinning up which he trailed some time ago.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I could well be wrong here, but i seem to remember that you mentioned once before that you had considered writing a biography of Cameron but had thought better of it for reasons I can't quite remember.

If you had written one then I assume you would have covered the allegations of Camerons drug use and the relevant passage had been splashed across the tabs like this book is today would it be fair to say you'd be quite pleased, rather than deriding it as a non-story?

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, yes,I was considering writing such a book. I don't think I said it wasn't a story. Of course it is, but I don't think it's a story which has much legs or will have any effect at all on people's opinions of David Cameron.

Rich Tee said...

What I find reassuring is that he did at least get punished for it.

BJ said...

Sigh. The BBC follows up a newspaper story on what is quite a slow day and suddenly it's "bias".

Sky is leading with this story too. I'm aware it's not publicly funded, but has it ever struck you that the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition more or less admitting taking drugs is a reasonably good story?

I'm sure Jack Straw's son and the Daily Mirror dope-peddling incident was covered just as widely.

Steppenwolff: Do you think everyone in a publicly-funded position should be forced to own up as well, then. The lists of confessions of school librarians and Jobcentre workers will be fascinating, I'm sure.

I have, by the way, and I don't really give a shit who knows.

Johnny Norfolk said...

What do you expect from the BBC. So many far more important things for them to investigate but no, they just run with this non story.
For BBC read New Labour.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you think about the news worthiness of the drugs story, you can bet the next totally unbiased Yougov poll will read Labour 34% Conservatives 32% . The Tories really should be on at least 40% with all thats going on with Blair but the great British public still see them as unelectable. Good.

Anonymous said...

The Leader of Her Majesty's Govt lied about watching Jackie Milburn play football, and about running away from home. That's apart from all the lies about the government of this country. Oh yes, and the sleaze, and the sordid sex stories, and most important of all, the sheer bloody incompetence of the lot of them.

THAT'S the important story.

Anonymous said...

Saw you on Sunday Am, you were fab. Well done and thank you for keeping it real.

The Stoat said...

I nearly fell off my chair this morning seeing BBC N24's headline on this story saying 'This really isn't news' (they were reading out editorially filtered e-mails at the time). Unfortunately I couldn't live pause to take a picture for posterity.

I think this story says much more about the media than it does about Cameron.

Anonymous said...

What's with the past tense in the mail headline: "Cameron: I used dope at Eton"?

I understood that Dave is still employing George Osborne.

Anonymous said...

So would you rather: a party leader who behaves like everone else? Or a senior Labour Party politician who is a sexual predator? Indeed a senior Labour Party politician or two, or three? who is a sexual predator.

Cynical we may all be, but everyone smokes; the other stuff is rare in the circles of civilized people.

Anonymous said...

Had to smile when Sean Curran said on N24, "interestingly there have been no calls for a resignation." Why the hell would there be?

peterporcupine said...

British and American jails are full of people who don't get to pick and mix the laws they obey. Most are mad, some are bad and nearly all are born in the wrong class. It's not a matter of privacy. It's a matter of principle. If you want this freedom please give it to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Although on the BBC website this story has been nuked by the far more appealing pictures of those cuddly pandas.

What is the betting that the next time the proverbial hits the fan for Blair/Home Office/whatever, they will announce plans for Britain to adopt one ? There are 15 pandas, so they could have enough to tide them over until the next election..

Anonymous said...

Anyone out there fancy fighting Yoevil against Dave's chosen one.
(A Mr Laws)

Jeff said...

The fact that this has hit the headlines makes me wonder what NuLab are trying to hide now.

Could they be trying to divert attention from the road pricing scheme, or maybe the new tax on rubbish removal.

having a joint is nothing compared to half the shit the Tony hand his crowd hav ebeen upto for the last ten years.

Anonymous said...

funny how they are laying into Cameron and his spliff smoking, when far more serious stuff has emerged about a certain minister and his sexual harrassment of a female labour MP - which led to her death surrounded by 15 vodka bottles.


sometimes i really think that that MSM is just asleep at the wheel, too busy snorting coke to notice the REAL news out there.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is entitled to a private past.

Yes,I'm sure Gary Glitter,Jonathan King & surviving Nazi war criminals would concur!

Anonymous said...

The fact that they use the word 'spliff' is sort of an indication of how long ago this happened.

And the fact that this story will probably not be in the Monday newspapers is an indication of how little we actually care about what Cameron got up to back in his school days.

Anonymous said...

And of course Blair was only in a rock band because he "lurves" music ....

Paul Evans said...

Cameron has been shrewd in settling the drugs issue by ‘fessing up to a little scampish schoolboy caining, thus making any later and more class A misdemeanors an irrelevance (“we’ve already heard this!” they will cry, people will assume they’ve already made up their mind).

Personally, I'd bring back Borstals and stick Dave in with the glue sniffers and shoplifters.