Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Media Coverage”

Mundell worried about Structural Damage: Scotland & Brexit?

The Secretary of State for Scotland has said he is worried about “structural damage”. However he said this in relation to the second fire at Glasgow’s School of Art (The Macintosh Building); I have not heard him say anything similar about the constitutional fire that his happening on his watch.

The “Scottish Question” is becoming more poisonous as the Tory Government in Westminster seems determined to implement its policy of “Brexit at all costs” – the “Will of the People” apparently. Read more…


Good MP, Bad MP, Less Bad MP?

Earlier this year there was comment about an MP who had got in to “marital difficulties”. The actual story is possibly of little interest today, but the coverage is an interesting illustration of how the media can influence us. What follows is a review of just part of one story.

I normally try to reference most posts; I am not this time as the MP’s personal difficulties are not the object of this post, so I will try to maintain a bit of their privacy. The prurient can always use Google. Read more…

The Crisis of Indirect Democracy and its Consequences

Indirect democracy is a fragile child. In effect we say we (“democratically”) elect representatives to a body that then “does governing for us”. This is in stark contrast to direct democracy – which in its most extreme state has everybody having a vote on everything.

Parliaments should be shining examples of indirect democracy at work. They consist of “representatives”, not mandated delegates, who collectively form a body that should be recognised as “representative”. Their legitimacy depends, I believe, on three factors.

  • Whether elections to the parliament are recognised as “free and fair”
  • Whether the resulting parliament is recognised as “representative”
  • Whether the parliament through its collective actions and the actions of its members retains the “respect of the people”.

In the UK, I think we are, to a degree, failing on all three of the above. Read more…

Political Honesty or Automata?

Oh dear, we say we want honest politicians who are not political automata, we want authenticity, but then when we start to get it there is uproar!

(But does the uproar come from the wider electorate or the professional commentariat?) Read more…

Corbyn would not press the button

This morning, Mr Corbyn told me explicitly, indeed with some irritation, that there was no way that he would ever use nuclear weapons because they are “immoral”. …

His position on ruling out taking such action as a last resort has immediately been criticised by not one, not two, but three of his shadow cabinet.

They haven’t just rejected his view, but are angry that he has pre-empted the results of the policy review he wants the party to carry out.
Laura Kuenssberg, Political editor, BBC News Website, 30 September 2015 : Risks for Corbyn over nuclear stance

Why is this such a surprise – or are “honest politicians” meant to become dishonest on being elected? Read more…

The Unspun Spun

There is always a difficulty when an individualistic backbencher becomes party leader. To lead you have to show some sensitivity towards those to be led.

This means compromising – which is difficult when you have been elected because you are different and authentic.

Media management and authenticity do not go well together, but without some management you end up spinning.

We have seen a few instances where the media management has been a bit lacking. Read more…

BBC Bias? “Legitimacy”

The BBC is making much of what they are calling the struggle for legitimacy. By this they imply that the biggest minority in the new parliament is by default the “legitimate government”. Whilst the bulletins are pushing this line Nick Robinson is a bit more nuanced:

So, what is obsessing politicians of all parties behind-the-scenes is the debate about what a legitimate government would look like.

You might think that’s simple – one led by the winning party – but think again. In politics things aren’t nearly so neat and simple as that. …

So, what are the competing arguments?

1. A legitimate government is led by the party which “wins” – ie wins the most MPs and votes …

2. A legitimate government is one supported by a majority of MPs (of whatever party) …

3. A legitimate government must be backed by all parts of the UK
BBC News Website 5 May 2015 : Election 2015: And the winner is? Er…

This is so muddled-headed. Read more…

Your Election Buzz Word Bingo Card

No prizes offered – probably too easy to win. To make it more interesting restrict your Buzz-word spotting to one of:

  • Politicians
  • Commentators
  • Members of the Public in “vox pops” or at events like Question Time

Read more…

Answering Questions

Paxman:”Did you borrow too much?”, “Did you spend too much?”

Miliband won’t say “yes” or “no”.

Is this indecisiveness, an unwillingness to answer a question, dishonesty, or frustration with questions being asked in a simplistic way? Read more…

UKIP: Naive or something less savoury?

UKIP have been on the TV quite a bit recently specifically:

To be honest telling which one was fiction and which one was factual was difficult! Read more…

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