Friday, 17 April 2009

THe Guido/McBride/Draper Affair: whats the final verdict?

So, as the dust is settling after the disturbance of the Easter weekend, what conclusions, what changes can be seen from the affair? It seems to me most people have missed the point... the REAL news of what happened this week.

Well, on the one hand it changes nothing, but on the other, it changes everything. I know, very obtuse, let me explain:

Well, on the one hand, it changes nothing: the media certainly knew about the No10 spin machine and how nasty the politics were at the top of the Labour party. They knew about it for a very long time and did nothing, as Guido has said in his own blog. I watched incredulously during the whole Iraq dossier/Kelly/Hutton affair screaming in frustration as the media at large all brayed the same pro-government song. As if to voice dissent was a criminal act. Those that did dissent were cast into the wilderness (Greg Dyke and Andrew Gilligan).
I've screamed at Nick Robinson (even eliciting a terse response from him in one of his blogs) for promoting government spin as fact, for never providing a balanced documentary so that viewers could form their own opinion.
So the media have been complicit in broadcasting a pro-government stance for over a decade.
Against that, the opposition have had a huge mountain to climb since the late nineties when the media switched pro-Labour.

So what was the fundamental change this week?

The media started briefing against the government, in a way it hasn't briefed against government for a very long time. Even the Sun, which has been staunchly pro-Labour since the tenure of John Major, switched sides this week and launched a tirade of critical articles. It didn't once begin to defend the government. Sure, the meter of media bias has been twitching a bit over MPs allowances, but the needle has swung firmly over against the government so far it will never come back.

That is the main news that has come out of this week. Forget the resignation of Damien McBride, forget Dolly Draper. Forget even, claiming more scalps. The damage has been done and the wheels set in motion.

This is the week the media turned against the Labour government. The government is finished. They will not win the next election, no matter what happens, they can't, because the media are solidly against them.

Look at the storm being whipped up around the videos of Police brutality during the G20 summit. Would the videos have been used in this way only a year ago? I doubt it. The old media wouldn't have batted an eyelid.

So, what next?

Well, I'm sure there's a story around the source of the leaked emails. Why would someone in Labour want to cause so much damage? Or did someone in the old media pass the emails to Guido so the new media, free from the old media cabal could release them and to precipitate the turn against Labour?

What of Tom Watson and Charlie Whelan? What is their part in this story? They have been rather quiet of late.

The European elections will add more fuel to the anti-Labour fire. Also, MPs expenses are due to be published in full and I'm sure there will be bombshells for the government there too.

I did say months ago that Gordon Brown only had until the summer before he became a liability to Labour. I may be proved right.

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