.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Chatshow Charlie

The papers continue to speculate wildly on the Leadership of the Liberal Democrats. It is almost as if they think that having manipulated the Tories into dumping an awful leader they can now browbeat the Liberal Democrats into changing our leadership.

I do have a problem with the obsession that the media and others have about Leaders and the way that the Country is moving towards a presidential style of politics. Like many other Liberal Democrats I instinctively distrust the concept of leadership as an afront to my individuality. I have always advocated a more collegiate style of working and actually believe that it is a good thing that we get coverage for other Liberal Democrat MPs so that we do not come across as the sort of one man band that we became under Paddy Ashdown. Like Nick Barlow I think that it is healthy that all this speculation has given coverage to some of the very talented younger MPs in the Party who may challenge for the leadership when Charles Kennedy finally steps down.

It is though time that the newspapers got some perspective. According to the Mail on Sunday, the men in suits have visited Charles Kennedy with a threat to replace him with Menzies Campbell. Do we really determine leadership issues like that in the Liberal Democrats? I do not think so. Perhaps the Mail on Sunday is thinking of another political party, the Tories maybe.

As if to underline the journalistic fantasy that these newspapers are embarking on Sarah Teather MP is quoted in the Sunday Times Diary as saying that sometimes you just have to give your liver a rest. The implication is that she thinks that Charles Kennedy has a drink problem and that she is happy to endorse the lurid but untrue speculation in the press on this issue. In actual fact the quote is taken from a BBC online article published on 19 March 2004. It did not relate to Charles Kennedy at all as the following extract demonstrates:

But doesn't she sometimes feel like sneaking off and letting her hair down?
"I wouldn't go out and get drunk now in public - it's been a long time since I went out and did that anyway," she says.
"It's the kind of thing I did when I was a student, but now I'm pushing 30 and there comes a time when everybody's liver says: 'Okay, time to behave like a grown up'."

It is on days like these that it is driven home to us how badly served we are by the media in this Country and what a poor quality of reporting and factual accuracy they offer us. This is not news, it is the promotion of a political agenda in the hope of manufacturing news.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?