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If topping the poll and being projected to win 65 more seats than the Tories is failure, what does success look like?

ballot boxThe Daily Telegraph caps it all with their front page top headline: “UKIP surge puts Labour into poll crisis”. If coming top of the poll in a 4-horse race with 31% of the total votes and on that basis being projected by two separate analyses to gain 322 seats (just 4 short of an overall parliamentary majority), 65 more than the Tories, is being thrust into a poll crisis, what would count as a thumping success?

And after lionising UKIP for the past 3 weeks as the party that would break the grip of the 3 mainstream parties as part of its forward march to even greater heights next year in the general election, how do they explain that UKIP actually slumped from 23% of the total vote last year to only 17% this year and as low as 7% in London? And if Labour ‘failed’ as so many of the commentators have chosen to portray it, how do we describe the position of the Tories who lost over 150 seats and now have 600 seats less than Labour – no doubt that’s an outstanding performance?

The prejudicial and factional reporting of politics is now a serious issue in Britain. We don’t have a free press in this country, we have a stream of daily propaganda serving the vested interests of its multi-millionaire (or billionaire) private tycoon owners and their political, economic and City allies. That ingrained prejudice runs through every aspect of their newspapers – what is reported and (just as important) what is ignored or marginalised, the slant that is put on the story, the language and phraseology used, and the unwillingness to put both sides of the argument or anything that mitigates the line selected by the news editor in accordance with the ideology of the tycoon owner. This systematic daily brainwashing of the public consciousness is a major hindrance to the operation of a freely functioning democracy. It determines day by day the public agenda, what the public are told the big issues of the day are and how they should be seen and understood, excluding or sidelining whatever may contradict that agenda.

The press have recently been brought to book over phone-hacking and the ineffective treatment of press complaints. But the gross and persistent failure of the print media to offer a fair, balanced and impartial presentation of the previous day’s or week’s events is a far more serious indictment of their activities. The former charges their working arrangements, the latter is an arraignment of their very purpose. Reporting on the key events of the nation should not be left exposed to the prejudicial manipulation of the news by billionaire private owners. What is needed are newspapers publicly owned by non-partisan trusts which are wholly independent of government and equally free of the malign influence of tycoons with their own personal agenda. The reportage of the last few days is just one example of hundreds of why newspaper ownership needs radical reform.


  1. James Martin says:

    I don’t have any doubt the UKIP vote will fall back next year when there will be more focus on national issues (and a chance to expose UKIP for things like selling off the NHS). But even this year the performance has been patchy. They did badly in places like Lancashire and also Liverpool where the big story was huge Labour gains (more spectacular as Labour is the governing party) and the virtual disappearance of the Lib-Dims in Liverpool, now down to just 3 councillors (they ran the council not so long back), still no Tories (who have been a poisoned brand for decades), no UKIP but the Greens now the official opposition with 4 councillors.

    Of course the national media (and much of the left) will ignore stories like this.

  2. David Pavett says:

    I was somewhat taken aback by this article, on several counts.

    1. It makes claims which don’t stand up and which were dealt with in the previous piece by Phil Burton-Cartledge. For example the question of the alleged fall in the UKIP vote compared to 2013.

    The lack of political discussion is painfully obvious on the left so it really bothers me (a) there is so little of it on sites like this and (b) that those who contribute pieces so rarely feel they have any responsibility to reply to serious points made in in response. Is this imperial model of delivering opinions really appropriate to the aim of a more democratic and more equal society?

    This problem, it seems to me, takes on a particularly sharp form one an article like this one is posted making claims which have already been refuted by the previous one and without feeling any need to justify the contrary view.

    2. The article continues the line developed by Peter Hain in the Guardian according to which getting a majority based on just over a third of the votes and an unfair electoral system can be regarded as “success”. Can political ambitions be set any lower?

    3. I agree with all the points about media bias but this is nothing new. To cut through that Labour would need crystal clear policies and a politically active base (foot soldiers understand the policies and help to develop them). Labour has neither. Everyone knows what UKIP thinks about the EU. But what about Labour? It’s EU manifesto was full of much and I doubt that more than a handful of people actually read it. So I all for attacking the media for its bias but Labour’s mumbling about the EU is of its own doing.

  3. Gerald Allen says:

    It beats me how a very mild version of social democracy offered by Milliband(surrounded by a nest of ultra Blairite vipers in the shadow cabinet; ) can be met by such a barrage of vile hate filled Goebbelsesque propaganda masquerading as news and comment by the Yellow press and media who are doing a magnificent job in diverting attention away from this most evil and vicious bunch of class warriors.
    As has as been picked up by a few left commentators in the days since Thursdays election results, there have been some very good results for Labour, given the hostile attacks they have had to face from the media(a small taste of what is to come over the next 12 months) shame on those latter day Ramsay MacDonaldite Labour MPs who have done the media’s job for them in their haste to blame Milliband for Labours so called failure in the in the local and Euro elections.The role of the Labour Movement and all progressive forces in the next 12 months is to fight like hell to defeat this government and its reactionary class based policies and not turn in ourselves as so many of the Blairite and Progress elements of the Labour Party seem hell bent on doing.
    Btw I am not a Labour Party member; just somebody who realises that as wishy washy as Milliband and Labour may seem, the priority must be to see the return of a Labour Government, and I was one of the biggest critics of Blair and Brown but I did learn the lesson of the defeat of the Callaghan government and replacing it with Thatcher and all the misery that her class based policies produced. So don’t forget that Cameron and Osbourne are worse than the utterly despised and hated Thatcher was.

  4. Robert says:

    But of course the best bloke to ask about this would be Neil Kinnock, he was going to win an election in fact he was going to walk it, Labour blamed the press sadly when you give the press a reason they will take it.

    UKIP is now answering the protest voters, it’s the only way the people can get parties to take notice, but come the next election if that protest vote was to go on Labour would win, sadly that protest vote is handy for the EU elections and it’s handy for council elections, my Councilors will make not a jot of difference to where the Chief exec and his crew are going they never have, £185,000 power base with twelve people all on £120,000 run my council not a councilor who gets £15,000 in expenses .

    So the next election we will get a choice to get a vote on the EU then it’s the Tories, to get mostly of what the Tories think is needed austerity caps on wages and the min wage not the living wage vote, well that’s the question you can vote for either they are basically the same.

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