Saturday 21 March 2015

A Tale of Two Parties on 'Newsnight'

I suspect that supporters of the Labour Party would have been much happier watching last night's Newsnight than UKIP supporters.

A speech by Labour's Tristram Hunt was giving top billing, a report by Chris Cook and an interview by Evan Davis. 

Chris Cook's report gave Mr Hunt's ideas a respectful airing and Evan Davis then gave him an interruption-free interview - though Evan did preface their discussion with a comment about an (unnamed) education blogger having described Tristram's speech as "cliche-ridden".

Tristram's interview with Evan was certainly cliche-ridden. Given his past as a BBC documentary presenter, you'd have thought he might have made his ideas sound interesting (especially as they are interesting). But he didn't. It was professional politician's management-speak all the way. Chris Cook made a far better fist of it than him.

The ideas Tristram Hunt are proposing are those that Sarah Montague looked into for her fascinating Radio 4 series, My Teacher is an App - the idea that teaching remains stubbornly old-fashioned in its approach to new technology, that here's a huge wealth of innovative online learning programmes out there which schools are very nervous about introducing into their classrooms. It's still pretty much a teacher and a blackboard (or whiteboard).

After that came the bit on UKIP: Three new scandals for the party and Allegra Stratton popping down to Thurrock and ostentatiously pointing out that the UKIP candidate there was very willing to talk to Newsnight last time they were down, but this time doesn't want to talk to them. Then Evan Davis followed this up by saying that they'd inviting several top UKIP figures to appear but they had all declined Newsnight's invitation.

From a tweet by Douglas Carswell, I think it's possible to see why UKIP declined that invitation:


  1. It would appear Ian Katz will now be remaining at the helm too, if not in the best of moods.

    The only consolation UKIP may have is that as far as I am aware, most of the UK outside a small bubble doesn't watch Newsnight, pay attention to it, or if they do it is to see what mockery it is reduced to this time.

    UKIP could help itself by sifting its candidates better, as the cumulative effects of trojan horses & suicide sign-ups, in addition to the venal and lunatic all parties attract, is eroding their base support.

    Especially with the likes of the BBC ready (often with amazing speed given how often accusations they don't fancy can be delayed or even ignored) to lead in very partial charges with their unique takes on who is newsworthy and who is not.

    The technique of behaving so badly that candidates refuse to appear is tried and trusted, but hardly one enshrining professional integrity. But of course from an organisation with such as Jasmine Lawrence still haunting its corridors, studios and edit suites, a win-win: they get to host zero profile AND can pop out a 'refused to attend' dig.

    1. If I were that ex-Beeboid spin doctor for UKIP, I'd just be publishing a list of all the Labour and Tory politicians, candidates, councilors, etc. who got forced out or resigned in disgrace for various offenses (plus a few who were given a pass for things like anti-Semitic remarks or expense fiddling), with a compare-and-contrast guide on how fast or slow each party reacted.

    2. ...and then we bloggers could do a similar compare-and-contrast guide on the question of whether the BBC reported it or not. Such a study would be highly illuminating - and, quite possibly, absolutely damning.

    3. I was thinking of adding a list of Beeboids given a pass for various offenses, and contrasting it with the handful of BBC personnel who don't. Plus Clarkson, a bizarre exception to the rule whose time is up because BBC management is fed up with giving him the pass they give the leftoids.

    4. If you did that, David, we'd love it if you posted it here.


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