Sunday, 25 October 2009

Gordon's deeper into the Brown after Recession gaffe

"The recession will be over by Christmas"

The statement by Gordon Brown that the recession will be over by Christmas is the final, damaging evidence that the PM is completely disconnected from voters.

Gordon deals in stats and counter-stats, and by the official definition of the term 'recession', the UK economy may indeed no longer be in negative growth, technically at least adding weight to Gordon's theory.

But this is an argument for economists not the PM of a country which will have millions of its families experience one of their bleakest Christmas periods for some time, not to mention thousands of unemployed parents unable to provide for their children. So how does Gordon connect with these voters? By using economic technicalities to tell them everything is all right, to show he has 'saved the world'.

Sadly, and perhaps ominously given the current situation in the Middle East, this has echoes of the misguided 'our troops will be home for Christmas' proclamation of the HH Asquith Government. A sheltered politician telling ordinary people how it isn't.

Labour MPs have a lot of thinking to do between now and the New Year.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Birmingham Post goes weekly

The news that the Birmingham Post is going weekly, coupled with the move to overnight production of the Mail, follows recent damage to the regional presses in Nottingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

The decline in regional advertising revenue coupled with the need to cut costs and squeeze productivity means that the cull in the regional print media is progressing at an even fast rate.

It's sad to see for those of us who believe in and support the regional media but we must hope that recent improvements to regional newsgroup websites will in the long term secure the future for the regional news which is so important for a pluralistic democracy.

It could also expediate the growth of micro local websites providing truly local content, such as this wonderful news blog in Kent:

To me this means that the web which started the decline in regional newspaper revenues will ultimately secure the future of the vital regional news sector.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Twitter exposes Jan Moir Daily Mail homophobia

What a day it has been on Twitter, with the "#janmoir" article on Stephen Gatley's death being criticised for its homophobic views.

I've been tweeting on this all day and the point of the outage isn't that the Daily Mail is vile, everybody knows that, it's the sense that people now feel they have a platform to say "we're not going to stand for this anymore."

There are so far unconfirmed reports that the Mail has had to pull advertising from the Moir article. If this is true then it validates the Twitter and Facebook protests, which have also received support from high profile Twitter uses like Stephen Fry and Derren Brown.

Either way, it seems that this time the Mail has indeed gone too far. Some fellow journalists have bemoaned the fact that it will mean Moir is congratulated for a job well done but we won't know this until the news plays out tonight. Sky News are featuring it at 7pm and the Guardian continue to focus on the story.

I sincerely hope Moir is made to retract her sweeping accusations over the late Mr Gately and that the Mail is forced to apologise to his family.

This story is one to watch as a watermark for how much influence the Twitterati can have.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Too many tweets...

Ben Bradshaw's tweet about the Today programme was a rush of blood to the head the Minister will regret. As culture secretary, he should not be using Twitter to air his criticisms of the BBC in such a flippant and ill thought out way.

I admire Mr Bradshaw as a politician but as a former journalist he should know better than to take such an attack dog stance against Today.

My own view is that Today remains robust against all parties but the new Webb-Davis partnership of recent days lacks a hard hitting presence and Evan Davis tends to be to come across as placid because of his tone - it's not Dragon's Den, Evan!

Sorry Ben but this time too many tweets did indeed make...

Monday, 5 October 2009

Manchester goes blue

Coming out of work tonight I was met with the amusing site of three large Lexus vehicles with blue suited drivers trying to negotiate their way to their hotel. It can only mean the Tories are here.

I've been sitting back and reading the tweets, watching the message boards and looking for gossip. All of which strikes me as rather desperate on my part but even more so, helps me realise just how little the people of Manchester know about the party they are scrambling to elect.

But that's the point, cry the local journalists, it's our chance to form policy.

Er, it's not.

The Conservatives are holding their party conference safe in the knowledge that all they need to do is avoid echoes of Kinnock in Sheffield 92, talk vaguely on jobs, immigration, Europe and anti-social behavour and then hold out until the election. They will not be listening to the desperate local businesses, journalists, PRs and Councillors seeking to make friends with the new Govt.

The conference is the equivalent of a sporting showcase testimonial match. It looks good, costs millions but is hollow, without essence or meaning.

And that for the boys in blue (and er, a green tree) is exactly the right strategy.