Friday, 17 April 2009

Getting our message across....

. On a slightly more political note, Conservative Home has an interesting feature about which way the nations press will tilt come the next General Election. It speculates that the Daily Mirror maybe the only Labour-supporting paper left. The premise on which this is based, Tim Montgomerie, speaking to 'at least two journalists on every paper' maybe a little threadbare but I don't think the conclusion but I don't think the conclusion will be that far off-beam at all.

I think it is pretty certain that The Sun will return to the Tory fold and its plain to see that it is in full attack-dog mode with it's columnists regularly savaging the Brown government. As is rightly said The Times was never a true Labour-paper in any case and equally it's return to the fold will be expected. In any case it will not want to buck the national mood for a change while it's rival; the Daily Telegraph, is proudly flying the Conservative standard. Although unimpressed by David Cameron and his section of the party; the Daily Mail should equally fall into line.

The real interest and possible variable will be in the position of the Economist and Financial Times. Montgomerie may well feel that the biggest determinant will be a softening of the line on Europe I think economic policy will also be key for the FT especially. Some of its columnists have been tacking to the left of what David Cameron has been saying and have been arguing a more interventionist line. I think it will eventually plump for the Conservatives but hesitantly and with reservation.

Of course, neither the Guardian nor Independent can explicitly endorse the Conservatives but they can argue it is 'time for a change' which in effect given the current political geography is pretty much the same thing. The Guardian in particular has already been heavily flirting with the Tories; including them in it's 'progressive future' debates and running columns in favour of giving them the 'kinder hearing' Montgomerie thinks they will give.

From a Liberal Democrat point of view however it shows how much work to do that no major newspaper would consider endorsing us accept as a tactical vote option. When you look at the opportunities that exist however, that is perhaps as sad a commentary on our much lamented projection problems as much as it is our policies. Naturally, we should court both the Guardian and Independent but also, given Vince Cable's gravitas, we should not consider the Financial Times as being naturally hostile either and maybe even at a very big pinch The Times.

While Mongtgomerie is right that editorial endorsements are maybe not as significant as they used to be (mainly due to the very diverse nature of the media universe) they are still much-prized and in some ways a measure of where you are as a party (in so much that they try and accurately reflect their readerships view back at them). Politics is governed allot be peoples perceptions also source people don't take enough of an interest to decide on substance. From that perspective how we get the message across is as important as crafting the right one.

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