Friday, 7 May 2010

It Was the Sun Wot Lost it!!

Yesterday Trevor Kavanagh (67), veteren Sun journalist, wrote this hysterical piece predicting riots in the streets of London if the voters were to defy the Sun and support anyone but Dave. If you don't do what we tell you, says the Super Soaraway Sun, Greek style chaos would ensue.

But, you know what?.... the people defied Trevor and the Sun. They refused to be bullied into electing the Conservatives, and they refused to be rushed into buying the whole Cleggmania package and they gave us a hung Parliament.

So, amid all the political furore about who will do deals with whom, and what shape a new Parliament will eventually take, one development is in danger of being missed: the print media is one of the big losers in this election.

Seven national papers supported the Tories, two supported the Lib Dems, and only one, The Mirror, supported Labour (two if you include the Mirror's Scottish sister, The Daily Record), but theTories failed to get a majority, and the Lib Dems failed to get any improvement in their vote. Given all the media support of the Conservatives and the supposed unpopularity of Gordon Brown, this is a massive failure of the political influence of the UK press.

But this situation was not entirely unpredictable: in February, when the Sun ran a campaign against Brown on the way he wrote and addresssed letters to bereaved relatives of military casualties, the resultant pressure on Brown was viewed as illegitimate and massively unfair. The paradoxical outcome was that Brown got a huge sympathy vote, his personal ratings improved and the beginning of the Labour recovery in the polls was established. The Sun's attacks were counter productive, producing the opposite effect to the paper's intentions.

Similarly when the print media, in the Conservative interest, attacked Nick Clegg with charges of Nazism and other nonsense, the Lib Dems consolidated their improvement in the polls and Cleggmania was off and running. Once again the public told the press where to get off in pushing an agenda that the people did not buy.

So the print media, previously so powerful and dominating, so used to dictating to Prime Ministers and government departments, has failed in its stated aims of forcing a Cameron government on the people.  The Sun, the embodiment of this hubris, the newspaper above all others which has arrogantly assumed that it rules the country and that politicians must bow to to the will of Rupert, has lost the plot and lost the power.

After the 1992 election, the Sun ran a famous headline which boldly claimed that "It Was The Sun Wot Won It!". In 2010 the matching headline would have to be "It Was The Sun Wot Lost It!".


  1. In all honesty though, you could have said the same thing about the S*n 3 years ago. Remember the front page with the SNP logo as a noose?

  2. TBH, don't remember said front page.

    But it's a wider point: I think this campaign has marked a position where, when the newspapers choose a target and go for the kill, the public is no longer as willing to participate in the hunt as it once was. They find it distasteful and even dishonest.

    And without the compliance of the public, the power of the press to destroy its chosen target is much reduced and even reversed.

  3. It is good that the print media is losing influence. We should or I should really give the public more credit. What the election result does prove is that these staged managed politician have no guts or heart and so everyone kind shrugs and say well there all fairly crud.

  4. I think another interesting thing will be how Dave's friends in the Tory press react to his proposed deal with the LibDems - it is after all exactly the type of shoddy Euro-style backroom opportunism they have been warning us against.

    If they do a deal (the ConDem pact?) then it's going to be difficult for the press to give Dave unwavering support, especially if he has to tame his Euroscepticism and desire to slash services immediately. And if Nick Clegg, with his amnesty for illegal immigrants, ends up in the Home Office, I can see the Daily Mail combusting.

    Already Fraser Nelson of the Spectator has condemned the proposed deal...

  5. Anon

    To those who say "they're all rubbish", I say: try it yourself.

    We get the politicians we deserve, and if this lot are crud, it's as much our fault as theirs...

  6. Dom88

    My old mate Craig pointed out that demanding to be first in the queue because you have the most votes (but not a majority) is an argument for proportional representation...

    Cam ConDems FPTP....

  7. The Sun and other papers 'gave the lie' to Cameron's persona of caring Conservatism. I'm not sure if they actually exposed something inadvertently or if they were just massively stupid.