Monday, September 07, 2009

Have the media written Labour off?

There is a new trend emerging in the media when it comes to discussing politics. More and more of the thousands of articles, news items and features written in newspapers and on telly are increasingly working on the assumption that Labour will be out of office next year.

I first noticed this on Newsnight a few weeks back in an interview when Paxman dismissed a cabinet members plans for next year with a rather extra sneery 'well it won't be you in office by then, will it?'- but it has now become the language of interviewers and commentators across the media.

Of course with time running our before the election and with Labour still polling in the mid 20's it is hardly surprising that people are beginning to take a Cameron victory for granted. But what is interesting to me is that Labour seem to be doing so little to dispel the idea, it is almost as if the media are being given the impression by the Cabinet and senior party officials that Labour know their time is up.

This comes back to leadership. Even in the dying days of his premiership John Major continued to motivate and drive his party, as did Callaghan when defeat looked likely in 1979; whereas it seems that Gordon Brown has neither the energy or the oratory to give his troops the morale boost they need.

Just in the last 24 hours:

Peter McKay of the DAILY MAIL: “Why Gordon Brown could walk before he’s pushed out”

GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON, Political Editor of THE SUN: “Ministers believe Gordon’s doomed”

Andrew Porter, Political Editor of the TELEGRAPH : “Gordon Brown warned he’s ‘meekly’ accepting defeat” :

Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian "A Tory dystopia looms, yet ministers meekly sit and wait"

It is particularly fascinating to watch the leftwing media (including the BBC) seamlessly move from 'will Labour win a fourth term?’ in 2005/6 to ‘can Labour win a Fourth term’ in 2007/8 to ‘what will happen to Labour when it loses?’ in 2009.

Never mind that there is a whole new right of centre agenda going on which is fascinating, genuine news, and could have massive implications for social and economic policy for twenty years or more, the BBC are far more interested in inviting several left-wing commentators into the studio to argue amongst themselves about the future of Labour.

And even as Cameron settles in to No 10 and ushers in an entirely new chapter in British political history I expect the Guardian/BBC will still be agonising over ‘can Labour ever win again?’

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