Monday, 25 July 2016

Project Tough Love , act four for the "book" ?

As mentioned previously this blog could become a book when there is some clarity about facts and shape. Today the Guardian , well worth reading by the way you never know what it will include , has some opinion from Joris Luyendijk about the benefits of obvious Pain for the UK post Brexit, both for the coherence of the continent and the education of the UK for a European future.

The full text is HERE.

Thing is, there ought to alternative endings just to be fair and just in case.


The euro currency comes to an end. A return to nation states works out well for Europe.


The EU gets closer and deeper. The UK has so many trade deals all over the globe that it carries on regardless. Somehow this sort of globalisation has wide social acceptance.


The City loses any major role in Europe but UK becomes a tax haven for Asia and USA . Not much social acceptance by those outside London but Westminster just continues

Anyway , trying to be more open with this blog. Just think that Project Tough Love is well worth a look.

Any form of story has to have a crunch bit in the middle. It can still end happy though this is mostly in fiction.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Digital Storytelling - case study Newsnight and EU Referendum

Background, during the Radio 1 Academy in Exeter as part of the Big Weekend I went to a session on digital storytelling, mostly about news with Evan Davis as part of the panel. So far I have not edited out many clips but I will link to some later.

The EU Referendum could be an example of how stories can be written from different points of view. Also how they are rewritten as part of another story. During the election for a Labour leader we will hear various versions of what happened during the referendum. See previous posts for where I observed major contributions by Corbyn, quite unlike what is widely reported.

I realise the Newsnight report has to be short, but it misses out not only Corbyn but any LAbour involvement at all. It says the Remain momentum dropped away with the end of government resources  (6.13 ) then around 6.33 there was a  mid June  "reach out" on immigration. It may be because of the same phase in the polls that there was a "reach out" to Labour by deliberately putting Cameron in the background.

I think there is still no information on how this decision was taken. If government had been driving the issues and presentation previously, what conversations happened between Britain Stronger in Europe , Labour In, and the Labour Party as in Corbyn? The sonsequence seems to have been to put up front several previous leaders, in particular George Brown.

Later in the Newsnight during the discussion Nick Clegg said that "the Punishment Budget almost made him want to vote Leave". No mention though that Lord Darling shared the platform with Osborne, that Osborne claimed Darling and LAbour would support such a budget if 60 Tory rebels voted against, or that Corbyn had to state this was not going to happen.

Around 9.18 Corbyn on EU described as "less than enthusiastic" on narrative and as a "nightmare" by Will Straw Executive Director    Britain Stronger in Europe  ( Labour )

My guess is that the sort of distance apparent in the leadership discussion could have existed before the EU referendum. Probably Will Straw and Alan Johnson were more relaxed about working with a Cameron agenda. Corbyn said he was "not a catastrophist" which I think meant he would not go along with extreme claims. His case for remain was very different, see previous posts.

Previously I uploaded to YouTube a clip including the heckle, widely assumed on Twitter to have been arranged by someone connected to Portland Communications. Now it seems Newsnight will be uploading loads of content anyway.

So digital storytelling can continue, in a multitude of versions.

The 800 page hardback may wait a few years, For inside info on who  said what to who and who else knew when, we will just have to follow the tweets.

Friday, 22 July 2016

notes on dates so far

This is a guide for anyone trying to work through this blog so far

started  7 march

16th  march  campbell on newsnight

18th aprill  first  worry about Guardian

24th April  MacMillan

5th may  elections

mandelson on immigration

16th may  corbyn blindspot  definite problem

early June, more Guardian worry

4 june  Gaby

13th june  Rawnsley

15th juned  rave  darling

18th  june  channel 4

25th June    how the news agenda is set  -   heckles etc


the basis of something is there, needs a sort out.
That is why it is creative commons or open. But please send a link.

the book is going as a format. This could become a book later.

from Jo Gedrych timeline just after Brexit result

Will Pollard Unless there is some democracy imagination has limited influence and it may be too late. Storytelling theory assumes this is only act three but this may be fiction.
Like · Reply · 29 June at 11:21
Andy Manson
Andy Manson Please elucidate about story structure. Thanks.
Like · Reply · 29 June at 13:46
Will Pollard
Will Pollard In fiction a story conflict is resolved. In life less so. but there may be another referendum after the damage, then happiness.
Like · Reply · 29 June at 14:05
Andy Manson
Andy Manson Ah. Thanks.
Like · Reply · 29 June at 14:14


yes a blog needs editing, feel free to join in

Clue to when blaming Corbyn was first thought of

Reading the Guardian closely finds this in a G2 story about a Labour split, as in the SDP though there are several recent quotes, some not identified.

Just one for this post

The 1981 defector who doesn’t want to be named says: “The anti-Corbyn side have moved too quickly against him. They never gave him a real chance to fail demonstrably. They’ve been seen off, for now. If he holds on in the leadership ballot this September, a lot of power will accrete to him. A coalition of the [mostly pro-Corbyn] trade unions and all the young people in Momentum would take a lot of Commons seats from any anti-Corbyn party [at a general election].”

So how long has this been going on. What would be a "real chance to fail demonstably". If that is what some are looking for, would they support Corbyn in an election or referendum or just wait to criticise afterwards? Since the people involved are not known journalists have only speculated so we just do not have any idea. But something like this may explain why the Labour campaign for Remain turned out as it did.

Currently there is still mystery as to who is involved in #savingLabour or where the funding comes from. I notice Will Straw has retweeted support for them. I just wonder how the discussion between Stronger in Europe and the official Labour leadership actually went along. The blog   from Stronger In may only tell part of the story.


Back to Harold MacMillan and EFTA

Starting on updates to the blog after looking back earlier in the day.

24th April post about Harold MacMillan. Query was why he seems to be forgotten even though there is still concern about Churchill.

I have now found some dates around EFTA (European Free Trade Association) from Blackwell Reference.

EFTA could never be a substitute for the EEC, with its population of 170 million and so, only seven months after EFTA came into being in May 1960, Harold macmillan , the British Prime Minister, decided that he would try to take Britain into the EEC. Rebuffed twice by de gaulle , Britain and Denmark finally left EFTA in 1972 in order to join the eec (Portugal also left in 1985 for the same purpose).

So it took a while to get out of alternatives to EEC ( later EU ) and back to negotiation. How far back will the Conservatives travel and will they then start to return? Unfair question probably but I still think this era is less studied than it could be.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Labour Leadership is a rerun story from EU Ref

 Have just heard BBC Radio 4 Today prog on the Labour Leadership election. Conversation between Nick Robinson and Norman Smith. They mention #savingLabour, saying it has only had a fortnight to get together and is promoted by people like JK Rowling and Robert Harris.

In the blog about the Guardian I recently wrote about the Daily Mirror report on #savingLabour that mentioned Dr Reg Race. Recent Mirror stories have not included this but it was not that long ago.

You don't have to use the word "plot" or "coup" , previously mentioned on the Today prog as the sort of words some would find bullying if included in a tweet. Some may consider there is more organisation behind recent events than has yet been reported.

another thing

This is an official #savingLabour tweet. The charge is there that there was no "fight to remain in the EU". So this may come up again.

Interview with Dianne Abbott about this, she was told to "move on" . Heckles blaming Corbyn, both well reported by BBC, turned out to be connected with Portland Communications and the Lib Dems. At least as reported on tweets. So far no fact checking MSM wise as far as I can tell.

So hello BBC Radio 4 Today prog

What do you know about the people and finance around #savingLabour ?
When did you know it?
How do you choose what to tell your listeners?

During the #EUref

What happened?
How was it reported?

And hello Roy Greenslade
you write bias reporting, where is the harm? or maybe this was just a Guardian headline over which you have no control
Harm could include limited effect of Corbyn balanced and sensible views on EU

Monday, 18 July 2016

Changing stories, Larry Elliott on "ludicrous" punishment budget

This may be a bit unfair to Larry Elliott but as memory serves the punishment budget was not described as "ludicrous" by most of the Guardian reporting at the time. Today in an assessment of the UK economy post Brexit -,

And change there has certainly been. Osborne has been fired, his ludicrous idea of a post-Brexit “punishment” budget has been scrapped, and the idea of balancing the budget by the end of the parliament rightly abandoned. 

So this is another occasion to ask about the good sense of a shared platform from a Labour point of view. See previous posts or do a search for how Osborne claimed Lord Darling and Labour MPs would support such a budget in a vote and how the Brexit Tories opposed this.  

Also in Guardian some direct quotes from an interview with Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn said: “My message is going to be, as well as having the debate within the party, let’s do some campaigning to reach out to the parts of left-behind Britain that often voted to leave the European Union, and in some cases have turned to Ukip.”

So although time has gone by and we are where we are, the question still arises. What if Jeremy Corbyn had been allowed more influence on the EU Remain campaign? If reported, would his sort of approach have been more effective?

Just a long shot, if the BBC has some relevant emails what are the chances of them becoming public?

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Looking back, how did this Labour EU problem get started?

I am going back to the beginnings of the EU referendum to better understand how the result happened and what people say about it. I am currently interested in the Labour Leadership campaign and also the case made against Jeremy Corbyn who is blamed for the Remain case being ineffective.

I have found a Guardian report from July 2015 on the appointment of Will Straw to the campaign. Here is a quote that strikes me as interesting.

Some senior Labour figures fear that an all-party campaign backed by business will do little to help Labour re-engage with disillusioned Ukip voters after the referendum. However, the funding is likely to gravitate to the all-party operation.

Trouble with journalists they rarely say who the source was. But could this view have been shared by Jeremy Corbyn? Who decided what as the campaign went on? How many decisions did Jeremy Corbyn object to? Is there any focus group evidence on what response was to the shared platforms etc?

And how many emails has the BBC got a copy of? Will we ever see some?

Still shifting time focus a bit. I still think Corbyn was persuasive when reported. There will be a positive EU case eventually I think and Corbyn can develop his ideas as a part of this. So going baqck is still valid, what actually happened?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Still Fact Checking during Labour Leadership Debates

Now that Corbyn is on the ballot it looks like the first recap of the EU Referendum will be during the leadership election over the next couple of months. I will be looking at the blog again and trying to evaluate what sort of campaign Corbyn actually achieved.

I will be trying to check some dates. I still think Corbyn did well on social media but there is very little research or evidence that I can find. Some detail is coming out about the way campaigns were organised. The Guardian has reported at length on the Remain campaign and it appears Corbyn had his role constrained by organisations other than the Labour Party as such. It is not clear from the Guardian article how this was decided on. The most interesting phase is the time when it was decided to emphasise Labour as Cameron was getting some negative response. Why was there such a large role for Brown? who decided that Lard Darling should share a platform with George Osborne? When Corbyn denies being a "catastrophist" I think he is putting some distance from the sort of scare stories that Remain relied on. Has there been any polling on response to the "punishment budget"? I cannot see how Labour benefited or Labour voters could have been influenced. The Brexit Conservatives were able to state they would vote against such a budget so Osborne told the Today prog that he would rely on Lord Darling. Clarified by Corbyn at question time that nothing like that would happen so far as he was concerned but I don't think this was widely reported. I will check into this later. Main point is that I don't think the PLP can just blame Corbyn without a bit more study.

Still waiting for any mainstream media facts about the two heckles that appeared to balme Corbyn for the referendum result. On social media such as Twitter one is linked to Portland Communications, the other to the Liberal Democrats. Both reported on BBC as appearing to show lost support for Corbyn. What to think? How organised was the "coup" or "plot"? The Truthseeker has a view but there is other mainstream comment on when the PLP were thinking of a move against Corbyn, depending on election results. It might be that the referendum was seen as the best chance so the weakness of Corbyn's role has been over stated.

I still think the Guardian could have reported Corbyn with more positive attention. There was often a negative view from anonymous PLP sources in any report of a Corbyn speech or TV appearance. I will also try to track down why Channel 4 blocked the use on YouTube of a clip from the Last Leg. Corbyn's own channel blocked from uploading it though the fancy dress intro is available, just not the reasoned explanation of what Corbyn had to say.

More about the Guardian on the ReadG blog.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Soon be time to loop back and start this blog sequence again

Previous post about the Guardian just a guess but seems to fit with something. Zoe Williams considers ending up with two Labour parties. My guess there will still be one Labour Party and something like the SDP, soon to merge with the Lib Dems or whatever. Meanwhile the Times is reporting the Sunday Times and Lord Ashdown.  A Guardian story on Chilcot quotes Prescott from Sunday

“Bitter division within the PLP talking about different parties can only be made worse by very angry statements about Iraq,” 

So who is talking about different parties? So much of the PLP messaging happens in secret or through journalists that it is hard to work out who is who. If the message is something like give up or we will split then it would be only fair to know who they are.

Something for proper journalists to tell us, or maybe just for tweet speculation. Often turns out to be more illuminating. Nothing today from the crowd sourced trip to Liverpool. Maybe there are only reports once a week and otherwise mostly from Westminster.

The relevance for this blog is that once the coup is over there can be attention for what Jeremy Corbyn is saying about Europe. I would also like to go back and look at the Lib Dem contribution. At the moment I don't remember much if anything. Tim Farron has been critical of Corbyn and it seems likely that the heckler widely reported at a recent Corbyn meeting was a LibDem not a lapsed Momentum supporter as supposed by the BBC reporting. As with the heckler that tweets have suggested is linked to Portland Communications, there has been no mainstream reporting to either confirm or deny the online views.

As it is suggested that future Corbyn leadership could allow for a wider range of roles and opinion, it would be interesting to know more about how the various events during the EU referendum were organised. Corbyn was not the only speaker. Did Alan Johnson influence the decision as to how Lord Darling shared a platform with George Osborne? Is ther any poll evidence on how George Brown was perceived? Maybe Tim Farron has some info on this sort of thing or would like to comment. If it is only Jeremy Corbyn he is prepared to comment about, has he already spoken about who would like to join the Liberals? Only asking the question. Honest info about the heckler would contribute to trust.


Reading the Telegraph on a Monday is still essential but I fear the column this week may fall apart faster than last week. All critics are in the same sort of mob, chanting slogans outside his window. No sort of defence or apology for his remaining fans who expected more conventional leadership as in a visit to parliament. The absence of a Brexit plan is something to blame on HMG before the result. Current public mood is "hysteria". Looping back in this blog will consider "hysteria" as an explanation of how the vote went.

Just as interesting is Ben Wallace on Gove. Apparently he tends to gossip, often after a drink. Could this be a contributing factor in working out that Gove may be the source for a Sun story about the Queen, published soon after Gove dined with Rupert Murdoch? Someone should ask Ben Wallace if he would hazard a guess. Loops back in blog with background on IPSO, Leveson phase two and soforth.

Times claims UKIP plot to back Leadsom. Shares Sun story about tax issues that may be more fully reported. It seems the Murdoch preference for Gove rather than Boris, ( widely suggested in tweets and not much denied in print ) is shared by the Times and the Sun. Gove may be a traitor for Boris fans and even a bit of a gossip, but he may also be the only Brexit candidate without a tax issue. Please follow for yourselves during the week. Sun and Times are behind paywalls and I don't plan to buy one every day just to check this out.

Still part of the Boris story really, or how Tory MPs mix leadership plans with newspaper backing. Going back on the story will add to understanding of how it ends. Sun says "if Leadsom had been in the Cabinet her earlier remarks against Brexit would not have emerged until yesterday."

If she were not standing against Gove, then in some newspapers they may not have emerged ever. Just a thought.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Is Guardian Media Group trying to split the Labour Party?

Just a question. Has to be quick but more on Monday. From Andrew Rawnsley in Observer today, if Corbyn not unseated after another election " hard to see howparty" ....."can avoid formal split". So presumably this may be based on conversations with MPs. So my question is about how long this has been known. I still think that Corbyn made a solid contribution to the EU referendum remain case. It was not well reported, especially in the Guardian. Very often their report had a negative view from a secret source.

Back to fact checking. First heckle, was it from a known individual and are they linked to Portland Communications? Second heckle, was it from a known individual and are they linked to the Liberal Democrats? Clue, suggest checking Twitter. What to think?

Sunday Times has interesting weblink to Paddy Ashdown and a plan to work with current Labour MPs. Who is involved in this? Secret ballot notwithstanding I think we should be told. Of course the mainstream media are best place to find the reality. Otherwise speculation on social media may well continue.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Tidying up tweets, call for politeness, Buzzfeed plug

Busy weekend, mostly holiday next week so this post is note form sometimes. More below on social media / mainstream media and why you should keep looking at Buzzfeed.

Tweets at the end of this week have often been about heckles and BBC reporting. Portland Communications often mentioned, just do a search. It seems well established that the first heckler is connected to Portland Communications. No contrary claims as tweets but no reporting in mainstream media. Second heckle could have been a Lib Dem. The BBC is happy to report the heckle, could there be some fact checking on the tweet claims?

No further discussion I can find on the truth of what sort of campaign Corbyn had during the EU referendum. the BBC did not allow Diane Abbott time to refute the attack but it is so often repeated without question that one might think the actual record will be checked at some time.

Also I got the impression listening to Margaret Beckett that many senior Labour people were involved in the various Remain organisations. How was it decided who did what? Lord Darling sharing a platform for example. See previous posts, just expanding a bit on a tweet. I think there should be more care to consider what actually happened before just claiming that Corbyn is to blame.

By the way even the Sun praised him for honesty is saying that freedom of movement was a condition for access to the market. Despite the various poses that something else can be negotiated this may turn out to be a position that stands the test of time. Beckett may think that integrity is not enough, but it should be part of the mix.

Other tweets mention Iraq, Chilcot next week, and background on Maria Eagle website. Apparently this was set up before the announced dates for what is known in shorthand on some tweets as #coup but Eagle had no idea it was happening. My guess is that Chilcot has something to do with it. Plan A may have been that Corbyn should resign before Chilcot is published. The closer it gets to Wednesday the more likley it is that Eagle will have to deal with some Iraq related issues. So whoever it is organising this situation may have to consider another front to the leadership.

The guess that this is run by a PR company gains strength because all the quotes in the papers are anonymous. Somehow a story gets into the Observer and the Sunday Times but Benn has no idea how it got there. Somehow a website is set up. Anyway I am sure the facts about Portland Communications will become clear. Chilcot will be mentioned in the Sunday newspapers , one supposes, and the consequences for the Labour Party.

Meanwhile on Mainstream Media

I am getting worried about the tone of some printed comments when the Guardian refers to social media. Gaby Hinsliff only has space for the downside when writing about Twitter.

Yeah, but Corbynites get abused on social media too! 

There is rarely any reference to anything positive that may come from tweets. Sorry, not enough time to go into detail, more later.

As in previous posts and other blogs and various txt to the @Guardian over the last decade or so the drift has been from smashing Guardian Unlimited Talk to Comment Is Free and more or less open to concentrating on staff celebs to rubbishing social media outside the protected space. Again sorry not enough time to put in all the quotes here but at least this is more clear than a tweet.

Warning for Labour MPs and others caught up in this. Just my opinion. Print media is facing a bit of a crunch. They may be tempted to rubbish social media if they think their online efforts are not working. (The print pose is not that helpful for online culture) MPs can go to Twitter and YouTube directly and then respond to the comments, the politeness thing is encouraged by some feeling of connection ( best way of keeping the language on track imho )

(If they stay voting in secret and leave the Sunday Times to speak for them on Sky News they may get the occasional heckle when they do surface, just a guess )

Story re written yet again

Post Boris a look at the Times and Telegraph reveals that the EU Referendum was about immigration after all. The Boris article on Monday got it all wrong. So the first part of this blog is very much a rough guide and the central part of the book will now have even more versions. Book may take some time, summer break coming up so even this blog will have gaps.

Buzzfeed is on the case

Something I notice is that a) Jim Waterson is diligent in tweeting links to stories b) the stories in the Canary are well sourced. Jim Waterson is on Twitter @jimwaterson  and edits UK politics for Buzzfeed.

Suggestion, check this for links during next week. I may or may not be posting, depending on holidays etc.


PS final check shows the New Statesman has got a report on the Portland Communications story but assures us that the story in the Canary "is not true". I cannot find any fact check of the claim that the first heckle was from someone linked to Portland. It is the sort of thing that makes one wary. The News Statesman has the clout to ask the BBC how many heckles have made it to the main news in the past three months. My guess is two, both of Jeremy Corbyn. I am open to any explanation.