Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quote of the Day: The Sun

"It's not editorials which count, but the votes of millions of Sun readers. We believe that they understand the benefits they are now enjoying by working with this Government. They will prove The Sun wrong on election day."

Who do you reckon said that, then? Gordon Brown? Peter Mandelson? Kerry McCarthy on an overlong tweet?

No. None of them. It was a Conservative Central Office spokesman on 18 March 1997.

Plus ca change, plus ca head in the sand. And they say history doesn't repeat itself.


p smith said...

The Sun endorsement in itself is irrelevant in the sense that the Sun has been effectively campaigning against Brown and for Cameron for at least the past year.

This is not 1992 when the Sun took a bold decision against the prevailing trends in the polls to back the underdog Tories. The outcome is already certainty (barring a revelation that Cameron has sexually assaulted the Queen) and the Sun, frankly, appear to be following not leading public opinion.

The real significance is that they pushed Brown off the front page on his big day. That was really the true purpose of the declaration; the timing.

As for Brown's speech. Again it's not really important what he said as people's minds are made up. Every criticism that can be made of Brown (no specifics on spending cuts and reducing the deficit) can equally be levelled at the Tories but the public could care less. The narrative is set.

The one thing Brown could and should have done is declare that he will debate Cameron rather than delaying it as he has bizarrely opted to do. Whenever he does confirm his intention to debate, it will be so late as to appear that he has been goaded into it by Cameron. He ought to have confirmed it in its speech and used it as a call to arms. As a piece of political theatre that may have secured him the headlines this morning.

Martin said...

Plus ca change, plus ca head in the sand.

Aha, but did you say it at the time?

Elaine Bamford said...

'It's the sun wot won it'

Russell said...

I still can't get over the grinning, supercilious I-really-do-know-best-you-know arrogance with which Brown sought to dismiss the Sun issue entirely, along with its estimated seven million plus readership.

The message was unmistakeable; proper voters, as of roughly 10.15pm yesterday, don't read the Sun. Meanwhile Sun readers are now officially non-people and don't count. If he could, he'd have cancelled their ID cards.

Just been watching bits of it again, Boulton now joyfully making hay with excerpts including Brown's "puzzling" reaction to the debate question; weird Jokeresque grin much in evidence, declaring he wanted to go round the country and "explain" his policies to the electorate first, as if we'd never heard of him before. WTF? After all this time??

pablopatito said...

What do you expect them to say, "Yes, we're screwed, because Murdoch is more powerful than any politician"?

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Nice apt quotation. The Sun (perhaps all Murdoch titles) is, at best, a fair-weather friend. As any England football manager well appreciates.

Three quickies:

1. This long-awaited volte-face/reverse ferret doesn’t apply in Scotland, where the Cons are flatlining a dozen points below Labour (and a couple more behind the SNP).

2. The Sun, although the most successful of the UK red-tops, is struggling to stay above the 2m circulation figure. Its ABC numbers have already dropped below that critical level a couple of times, needing heavy (and unsustainable?) price-cutting in the South-East and Scotland for buoyancy. For a comparison, does anyone have to hand circulation figures for April 1992, when “It was the Sun wot won it”? By January 1994, the Sun had changed tune: “What fools we all were”. A curious use of "we", there?

3. Prof. John Curtice considered the influence of newspapers on the 1997 Election. He concluded:
British commentators are mistaken to assume that because the country’s press has a measurable impact on individuals it therefore can determine aggregate outcomes. Indeed, relative to the often highly evocative and strident manner in which the British press often conducts itself, its partisan impact is a small one… Even if there is an imbalance in the proportion of persons reading pro-Labour or pro-Conservative newspapers, the net effect on the balance of party popularity over any period of time tends to be small if evident at all. Above all, we have seen that a pro-Labour imbalance in the press in the 1997 election was insufficient to avoid a decline in Labour’s overall level of electoral support. And it is wholly unable to explain why there was a rise in the Liberal Democrats support at all.

Old Holborn said...

New Campaign

Send an underdog a dog collar

Paddy Briggs said...


Labour is well rid of The Sun – at least from an intellectual and moral standpoint, if not an electoral one.

Of all New Labour’s faults – and they were legion – the cuddling up to Murdoch was the most venal. Blair wanted Rupert on his side and he bent over backwards to ensure this. This involved the casting aside of principles – not Blair’s for he had few, but those of Labour’s supporters who believed in proper Social Democracy with a liberal edge. And believed passionately in Europe.

Rupert Murdoch offered a poisoned chalice to Blair and he jumped at it. Join the Euro? Of course not Mr M. Introduce proper social mobility legislation. No way Sir Rupert – your call as ever. Back the Unions – you must be joking Rupe my old Mucker. Introduce a decent equal opportunities media ownership regime. Ha ha – nice one, but Rupert won’t let me and he calls the tune.

Dave needs to think hard about what he offers News International. Bugger all would be my suggestion – but maybe the deal is done. David Cameron needs to remember his Etonian chapel teaching about the devil incarnate (Boris will help if he has forgotten). And remember what the great Denis Potter called his cancer. Rupert, as I recall…

DespairingLiberal said...

Oh well.

Anyone wanting to read more about what government may be like under "compassionate conservative" Cameron could do worse than read the hilarious "Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor" by Matthew Latimer. The book details the many insane moments of Bush's administration with an insider's eye-view. Includes the ban on JK Rowling's getting an award (because she encouraged witchery - yes, really) and the drunken midnight rows between Bush and Cheney over which country to invade, luckily mostly forgotten in the morning.

You couldn't make it up.

Richard Gadsden said...

"...once as tragedy, the second time as farce".

Frankly, this is farce both times!

DespairingLiberal said...

Russell - do Sun readers get to vote on "their" paper's policies then? Er, thought not. So how on earth can it be a slur on the "readers" to slag off the "paper"?

Anyway, the readership figures are a huge exageration. It sells approx. 2.9m copies daily and the marketing people always over-project the readership. Probably it's not much more than 3.5m.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

It's worse,

Graham Norton is officially homophobic.

Frugal Dougal said...

On the other hand, the Labour Party, whose harridan Harriet Harman is now criticising the "news in briefs" on Page 3 had no problems with the scandal-sheet's morals when it supported Labour.

Dimoto said...

I had to laugh when, on the BBC Newspaper Review last night, the Chris Eakin bloke indignantly reminded his guest that it's the voters not the Sun, who decide elections. Funny that, I always thought it was the BBC.(clown emoticon)

The nauseating picture on the front of the DT today, of Brown puckering up - what the hell is that all about ? Is far more irrelevent and disgusting than any pronouncement from the Sun's editor.

And maybe someone should tell Malcolm Redfellow that Scotland (about 8% of the UK electorate), doesn't actually rule England.