Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Trade issue reported but not much

Twitter has a clip from Today on Brexit but they have not chosen the bit where Angela Rayner mentions priority for tariff free access to the market. John Humphries queries how this can happen but there is no background on how EU may see free movement of goods and people as connected. EU speaker cut off yesterday because of the weather but surely the Today planners could find time to explain?

On Sky / Channel4  last night Jeremy Corbyn said " the priority is tariff free trade access". I cannot find this today in the print Guardian although they do report him at length. My guess is that the Guardian has been supporting LibDems as a way to contest Brexit but this has had a mixed response. Looking at what Labour would actually negotiate could have more potential. They might say more if they thought they would be fairly reported. So far Andrew Neil and Jeremy Paxman have concentrated on immigration in their questions.

Humphries shares a concern that the electorate is being "infantilised" by the absence of information on what Brexit negotiations are about. My guess is that this will be remembered or discovered if the consequences turn out to be difficult. So far the UK media has missed a lot as far as I can tell. Contrary evidence welcome. there are still a few days.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Looking for links on Conservative policy on Brexit economy

So far I have got the impression that there is not much detail on Conservative policy and almost no questions or comment from media. Over the next ten days I will try to find some. So tweets etc based on the view that May has largely switched away from Brexit to contrast with Corbyn on security. Media still asking about immigration rather than jobs and almost no scrutiny on what Conservatives are actually trying to negotiate or how.

Few examples show something happening but not much. Today prog had interview this morning but cut short by the weather. I have uploaded with my own comments and queries. What deals can be done and how? If EU offer details on formal situation there should be time to consider.

Peston interview with Paul Nuttall got more response than I have heard from a Conservative. About 4min 30sec. Suggests German car makers will want a trade deal even though UK leaves market. No further question from Peston. One more show to go before the election. My guess is that although Brexit seems to less of an issue there will still be a claim that whatever turns up has been agreed. So any clips when the economy is an issue please add links in comments.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Brexit still main topic for blog / "soft on terrorism" tilt for election

Thinking about the newspapers and the morning television I think the news is that the intended focus of the election has changed. Theresa May called it allegedly about Brexit. She needed a stronger hand. But other issues seem to be working against Conservatives in the polls.

Sunday Times reports there will be a relaunch, return to core message - "only Theresa May can be trusted to negotiate Brexit". But looking at the Sun on Sunday it seems something else is happening. Two pages near the editorial in her own words. No mention of Brexit that I can find.  Corbyn is "incapable of tackling the grave threats we face". He is against shoot-to-kill by armed police, opposed to RAF in Syria and Iraq. etc. ( can't find a link to this but presumably similar will appear soon on other online sites)

On Peston this is the full interview, context for the "soft on terrorism" statement

So my guess is that coverage of actual Brexit issues will be even less next week than previously. The BBC keeps asking questions about the IRA in years gone by. A switch to what Sinn Fein is saying in the European Parliament about issues that concern many in 2017 is very unlikely.

Not enough time now to copy in clips from Marr and Sunday Politics. Just a note that the press panel at end of Sunday Politics was agreed that Diane Abbott would continue to be asked about IRA. Compare her interview on Bloomberg ( see previous post ) where the interviewer was polite and the questions informed and current.

Age divisions continued, blogger considers Facebook

Continued from previous post, which was wondering about how age influenced this election and the way media cover it.

Today watching Peston on ITV I had to notice a section on social media continued on Facebook. I have had a look and it is not easy to link it to this blog directly, No embed code for example that I can find. So the time has come to move into Facebook as well as this blog. I have been there a while but how to use it is still a mystery. Following suggestions I have started a page to put all the links that may turn up. Also now i have a heading graphic, a user id and a link.

The username @brexitelection2017 has been created for Brexit Election 2017.
It's now easier for people to find your Page in search. People can also visit your Page at fb.me/brexitelection2017 and send messages to your Page at m.me/brexitelection2017.


So looking forward to some more links. I don't think the stats are in yet but there is a significant difference in how different generations are supporting different parties and how they voted on Brexit.  Trust in media? what they watch / read? we will be told later, when election is over.

By the way, the first two tweets selected for comment were from Tom Newton Dunn and Tim Shipman , So difference to BBC starting with a press review of the Sun and the SundayTimes, not a lot really if you ask me. Other tweets are available. This blog will continue with the same balance you might expect. Facebook similar, with relevant links you can check for yourselves.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Age divisions, looking for new info

I have found an article from early on in this  election - YouGov on the "demographics dividing Britain". Makes sense, the anti Corbyn bias mentioned in previous post might work for an older TV audience so Andrew Neil and the others are not getting much feedback.

Not sure how this is working out over time. It may get more polarised. My impression is that on Twitter the Conservatives are tending to use display ad styles. There may be some reaction to this.

Blog is still mostly looking at newspapers but I will spend more time with social media for context. TV and radio is turning up as clips.

Bias against Corbyn could explain a lot, for example #Brexit referendum result

I was actually surprised how antagonistic was Andrew Neil in his interview with Jeremy Corbyn yesterday evening. It seemed completely over the top. BBC still seems more concerned to go through the archive than to report what actually happens in the campaign. Corbyn speech after Manchester continues from Chatham House, not much reported either.

I went back to the iPlayer for BBC This week, previously just found some clips of YouTube. Should be there for a year or so. Most recent one Alan Johnson and Michael Portillo actually agree on downside of sending in the bombers to foreign countries.  Johnson has views on community policing that seem to me to be close to Corbyn and Diane Abbott. But Johnson spoke more in support of May than of Corbyn.  Complete studio agreement on Corbyn record with IRA as it seemed to them.

In the later interview Corbyn mentioned the upcoming EU negotiation and the role of Sinn Fein. Not allowed to develop this point. it seems to me the reporting from BBC and others during this election is mostly about personality. Actual policy about Brexit, aims of negotiation and how to do it, this sort of thing is mostly ignored. ( I have sent in a tweet with the proper tag

is there a difference between Conservative and Labour on priority for jobs in EU negotiation? If so should it be reported ?


Anyway, back on topic. Labour stars such as Johnson and journalists such as Neil may have been in an echo chamber, just a theory, where knocking Corbyn has been assumed for several years now. They may not realise how this comes over to people who can observe Corbyn in his own words directly on TV or online.

Going back to the Brexit referendum it seems probable o me that Lord Mandelson and others arranged the Labour campaign without much influence from Corbyn or communication during the arrangements for TV appearances etc. Exactly who said what when is a bit of a mystery but memory could stretch back a year or so. this info could be available. When the polls moved against Cameron it was decided that Labour should step forward. Gordon Brown and Lord Darling, sharing a platform with Osborne. turned out not that persuasive. More reporting for Corbyn on worker rights and the environment might have worked better. Just how long has this negativity from Johnson been a factor?

Anyway, now in speculation mode I wonder why Bloomberg suggests the pound is falling because the polls are narrowing? My guess is that Brexit will be a disaster, that May is so worried by UKIP and immigration that the economy will have no priority. By contrast Labour would negotiate better access to markets. So Bloomberg audience might well prefer this. Anyway I will keep watching every so often. They sometimes report what is actually happening, more interesting than Corbyn bashing from the BBC archive.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Bloomberg clarity, Diane Abbott Brexit priority on trade

About an hour ago I saw an interview with Diane Abbott on Bloomberg. Francine Lacqua was relaxed and polite but asked relevant questions. Freedom of movement may be an issue around trade, there may be a difference with the Brexit expected, but Diane Abbott was allowed the space to make clear that Labour has a priority for jobs and the economy, including financial services, rather than the Conservative priority for immigration control.

I still find that this is not well reported in newspapers or most TV / radio. the election has been called about the negotiation but there is very little discussion on what the negotiation is aiming to do or how to set about it.

Hope this clip turns up on YouTube soon.



about 8 minutes in

( My view is that Bloomberg should make Brexit the headline title. Most other media are not reporting Labour priority on Brexit. It could be news especially if contrasted with Conservatives. Remain comment could allow space for this possibility rather than expecting Lib Dems to totally reverse referendum result. More on this in a future post.


Meanwhile have found the Andrew Neil interview with Teresa May. He concentrates on immigration although she makes several statements about Brexit in general. When will the BBC explore Conservative ideas around jobs in more detail?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Conservatives on YouTube link to BBC, can BBC maintain their own balance?

Quick look on YouTube finds this

careful edit from Laura Kuenssberg interview with Jeremy Corbyn. Previously I have suggested that the main news aspect of this interview is the priority for trade rather than immigration. The way the BBC reported it allowed such ambiguity that the Conservatives can make this edit.

May is quoted here just saying that some in the EU do not want the negotiations to succeed. But it is she who says that no result would be better than a bad result. Michel Barnier in Guardian page 4 23 May is quoted "That is not my choice and I would advise anyone to explain exactly what no deal would entail."

Andrew Neil had several topics to raise. Priority for trade was not one of them. Will the BBC get round to reporting Corbyn priority for trade or asking Conservatives what it is they are negotiating or how?

Sunday, 21 May 2017

What happened to Labour with City connections? Time to speak out?

See previous posts for suggestions that a) Labour is more interested in trade than immigration as a priority for EU negotiation b) newspapers and TV/radio are not reporting this difference well and are not asking the conservatives any searching questions on detail of policy.

I am beginning to wonder if this explains some of the problems during the referendum. Lord Mandelson, Will Straw, Alistair Campbell, they could be asking questions about this sort of thing. I might have missed it. It is possible that knocking Corbyn is such a high priority that they would rather be silent. Not sure, time will tell.

I don't think I am just being rude at this point in time. There are some trading concerns that could become urgent and clear statements could get attention.

Still not much scrutiny of what Conservatives are negotiating

Both Marr and Peston seem to avoid asking what the Conservative negotiation on Brexit is aimed at. The Observer has story on Damien Green suggesting remainers should vote Tory as there are some Tories apparently with a softer take than May appears to be suggesting. But Marr asks nothing about this. Who are these people? What do they think? Is the Conservative Party any more united than Labour on Trident?

Peston allows Boris to make statements about Labour policy on Brexit that I find misleading. "Corbyn does not know if he wants to be in the single market or out of it." Not true as far as I can follow it. Corbyn has a different take on immigration and might negotiate on the single market within the scope the EU is starting from. Boris seems to support an exit from the single market or just walking away from negotiation. this followed by a free trade deal that is far from clear on timescale or whether it would happen. In the Mail on Sunday he writes about a "great Free Trade Agreement". Is this the sort of thing Peston should ask for detail about?

Sunday Times has "Old Knuckleduster" David Davis "in mood for a scrap with EU". Andrew Neil and panel consider this "rhetoric" will vanish after the election and relations with EU will return to calm but this may not happen. I do not find any comment about how sensible it is to drop this sort of thing into negotiations. Reporting is still around the idea of Teresa May as a strong personality. Newspapers will continue along party lines so TV and radio might be more investigative. Not yet as far as I can tell.

I still think the Labour interest in jobs and the economy offers a real difference in how negotiations could turn out. The soft end of Fleet Street is doing nothing to support this however. Lib Dems still getting the attention for a sharper point of view that sounds better but will not have much effect.

Future post to look at the online aspects of this. Newspapers and TV so closed down I guess there is an alternative discussion somewhere.

PS. Checking papers today finds Dan Hodges p18 in Mail on Sunday who praises Teresa May's bravery but claims that at an event in Bristol he has "never seen a prime minister less comfortable in the public arena." ....... "The strategy of hiding her from voters and the press is born of necessity, not opportunity."

Will anyone get to ask a question on what the Brexit aims are? As compared to Labour? Not on personality as reported, just on policy?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

FT sense on Brexit in podcast - no paywall

Strongly suggest this is worth a listen.

Podcast on Brexit has several points that make sense for me but are not much covered in the rest of UK press.

What strikes me

difficulty of getting a UK trade deal    ( EU will not allow a better situation outside EU than in )


unpleasantness, downside of argumentative atmosphere during the election


election will not make much difference to strength of UK position


( timings just in case you have to skip, really worth listening to the whole thing. )

My own guess is that May wants a hard Brexit, the election has not helped a good atmosphere for negotiation.

Things may soon change but I expect the largest part of Fleet street to stick to bashing Brussels with none of these issues being raised as questions for the Conservatives. Possibly the TV interviewers could be concerned. But I think this election will be completed with even worse reporting than during the referendum.

Meanwhile Labour manifesto.

 We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.

Labour recognises that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. We will reject ‘no deal’ as a viable option and if needs be negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a 'cliff-edge’ for the UK economy.

There is clear difference here. Again, not much chance of Fleet Street pointing this out.

But the FT at least talks some sense some of the time.

Bloomberg follows up on Davis, @Guardian scrutiny still obscure

Search on Twitter suggests Bloomberg is the main report on Davis story as it continues.  Includes video from studio discussion. Apparently we should not expect any detail from May during an election. there is a Plan A and Plan B. My impression is that this means there is a threat to walk away. Trade deal outside EU is supposed to negotiated as much the same as if nothing had happened. I may be wrong about this but so far this is about as much info as UK media has discovered. Bloomberg doing much better.

Yesterday Guardian opinion.

Matthew d'Ancona

as the PM approaches her negotiations with Brussels, it must rid her of the outlandish and (in some cases) downright misleading claims of last year’s leave campaigns. There was never the slightest chance that departing the EU would yield a dividend for the NHS of £350m a week. But – until she has her own distinct mandate for Brexit – May will be dogged, not unreasonably, by this and the other promises of the 2016 referendum.

I can't see anything else on what May offers at this time. Will actual Brexit be just as much a shock as the referendum fallout? Fleet street including the Guardian is not doing any scrutiny. It is well known that May rarely answers a question and sometimes selects the questions to answer. But there can be comment that results in discussion somewhere. The Davis interview has not been much reported. 

Then you get a Remoaners article that fails to mention Corbyn priority on immigration / jobs.

There is a choice between the two main parties. The "misleading claims" from the referendum continue with the misreporting of this election.

Bloomberg is well placed to report on the UK,

Sunday, 14 May 2017

And Another Thing, David Davis and the people who "hate Brexit"

Peston with David Davis. Labour Press tweet

Previously Marr suggested to Corbyn that there was no difference between Labour and May on Brexit policy. this interview shows otherwise. I still expect confusion reporting from the Guardian and selective quotes from most of Fleet Street. But the evidence is there for social media and journalists outside the UK.

Just to repeat from previous posts, is it reasonable to expect EU officials to be wildly pro Brexit? just how much unanimity is Davis working towards? This kind of mixing it may win extra seats in an election but will it help negotiation? Do they actually want a negotiated result?

Extra aggro could be just a side effect of the election decision that was not considered. Who would know?

Brexit will dominate the next few years, taking up almost the entire bandwidth of the next Government.
A big majority will ease things, virtually guaranteeing Theresa May will be able to get any outcome through the House of Commons – but the sheer amount of energy she will have to devote to it means the Prime Minister will have to be selective on the domestic policy front.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4503724/Think-week-s-Tory-manifesto-scarcely-matters.html#ixzz4h3v6kh11
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Craig Oliver in the Mail on Sunday. What I gathered from the press reviews on BBC etc was that this article is about the need for clarity. I thought this might be clarity about whatever it is that is being negotiated. It turns out that "any outcome" will get through the Commons. Is that it then. Expectations of clarity in the manifesto or probing from journalists have not been set very high.

Andrew Marr has gone too far away from news

Just repeating from previous post but yet again the aim of knocking Corbyn has got in the way of any sort of sensible journalism.

Marr finds a tape from 2011 and describes it as "recent". No mention of Chatham House speech this week till Emily Thornberry mentions it. They clog up the time with versions from the past. Best to follow official Corbyn on YouTube.

On the papers, Observer journalist suggests supermarket prices result from pound devaluation, Sun journalist says just supermarkets being naughty. Once upon a time the TV / radio jiournalists were supposed to comment on this sort of thing. Now they seem to either have news that includes opposite facts in the same item or to have found a quote from long ago that suits their plan for the week anyway.

I listened to BBC World Service last night then fell asleep again so not sure of names. But here is a link to a podcast I will check later. Supposed to sum up the news for the week. Reported admits he cannot remember much detail from similar clips for previous election. No mention of Corbyn at Chatham House. Maybe the news would be interesting if based on what actually happens. Yes, Corbyn views evolve, but this may be news.

I am beginning to wonder about the BBC and war. Interesting documentary on BBC4 telly , probably still there, on how the news operation was improved during WW2, then expanded with the invasion of Europe. There may be something about the culture that is built around war reporting or context setting or something. They don't like the negotiating style that Corbyn suggests. When the dinner leaks came out Marr said "they started it" and was right behind the Downing Street bashing Brussels. I still think it significant this came to an apparent extreme just ahead of the local elections.

The World Service was once the Empire Service in the 30s . Maybe the ideas around "Empire 2" make sense to them. There has not been much scrutiny of what Brexit means during this election. My impression, less than in the weeks before. "I am a difficult woman" quotes seem to be enough for the public to get the drift and the journalists are not making any comment.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

UK Media miss out on Brexit election story, help please

This post is on a few things that seem to be missing. Just my take, may seem a bit of a rave but see previous posts for sources. I may just be repeating things.

Jeremy Corbyn is not well reported. I may go back to the referendum and try to work out how often the media / Remain supporters were more worried about knocking Corbyn than checking out the points he made. Recently his speech at Chatham House not reported at all in Guardian as far as I can tell today. I have uploaded a clip from Today ( BBC Radio 4) that seems to have been based on an advance text. Full clip comes from RT so thanks for this. we need comment from somewhere on the range of reporting available.

See also the Prime Minister and her appeal to the patriotic working class.

So far it has to be accepted that the Teresa May approach is working very well and the press are doing a wonderful job. But the details of what it is she wants to negotiate are still vague. Maybe this will change next week.

After the referendum there were questions raised about the UK media. Newspapers are expected to be partisan and TV / radio are supposed to be balanced. Is analysis supposed to appear when something is not making sense?

May decided to call an election in the middle of negotiations. Arguments around "leaks" could get worse. Is this intended? If not was it foreseen? Is it the plan to eat the cake first and then demand a trade deal anyway? What difference is there to Corbyn view on jobs and industry?

RT or someone please ask the question. Chances of UK media getting an answer to a question is quite low as asking the question would have to happen first.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

More on Corbyn tilt

I still think that Corbyn yesterday was opening up a possibility of an option very different to the May offer. It is clear enough he has a priority for jobs and the economy rather than limits on immigration. But today there is hardly any of this coming through. Channel 4 News last night emphasis on muddle in a very short item. Mail editorial just mentions the number of questions and "utter confusion". Guardian has nothing at all that I can find, even in an editorial about Corbyn.

I still wonder about the Remain lobby. they could work with Corbyn and explore the differences with May. They seem more concerned to just bash Corbyn without examining what he is saying.

May is getting away with claims to be the better negotiator without revealing what she wants to negotiate. Is it to leave the market then expect the same benefits somehow else? Corbyn clearly sees that someting must be discussed to protect jobs and economy. There seems to be no questioning on May or Conservatives as to any detail of their position. Negotiation in secret was the claim but she has decided on an election in the middle of all this and some would expect a full discussion.

Also still not much comment on why the election was decided on. Negotiations will be upset by the tone of the election. "They started it" says Andrew Marr about the leaks and comments from the dinner. But it seems to have been timed to escalate for the local elections. I bought a Telegraph to check their reporting on Corbyn. Found a Con Coughlin article about Macron and his "anti-British vendetta". I can't see how this sort of line can be mellowed back after the election. Do they want a sudden exit with no deal? Would someone at least ask the question?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

BBC may ignore their own scoop, Corbyn tilt on not Brexit

Alex Forsyth on BBC News TV channel suggested it was a sign of more muddle but I think the Corbyn take on Brexit negotiation is a bit of hard news well worth exploring. I have never believed the claims that Corbyn was not pro Remain during the referendum. See previous posts. It is fair enough that Labour accepts the referendum while pushing for market access. It seems to me to be wrong to claim that Labour and Tory policy on Brexit is the same. As claimed by Andrew Marr when interviewing Corbyn and also by John Pienaar on Radio 5 Live this morning. Pretty clear that May is concerned about immigration, repeating promises that so far are unlikely to be kept but presumably remain a priority. Corbyn mentions industry, jobs, market access. When he talks about discussions the next question could be what else he might agree to in order to get market access.

Unfortunately the reporting from Remain sources looks unlikely to follow this up. The Guardian website is looking for more muddle evidence.

InFacts has just ignored it as far as I can tell. I can only conclude that knocking Corbyn is the main concern. For the 48% to change anything they need to be persuasive. There is a debate inside the Labour Party at a local level. It needs some space, some reasonable reporting, and probably more time than available in the next few weeks.

Anyway back on the main topic of this blog. The main Fleet Street newspapers are doing really well. Guardian result Remain voters shift to don't know and confused, maybe this is what they intend not sure. Long shot, FT may share Corbyn concern for jobs and provide some accurate reporting of what he says together with analysis.

Meanwhile still no comment I can find on why the election is happening or whether anyone thought about the downside of the Brussels bashing let loose in the papers and Downing Street.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Buzzfeed checks on print media during the UK election

I have followed up on the Andrew Marr Show story from Buzzfeed about pro Labour stories on UK Facebook. Main story HERE links to another on "Alt-Left sites" and one on Corbyn not helping some print journalists with access to events.

Suggest you follow Buzzfeed for more on this. My guess is that social media are still not strong enough to counteract the Fleet Street influence. But there could be a dent over the next month that showed up on a larger scale l;ater.

Meanwhile I do think confidence in newspapers and TV may have challenges. In Exeter we had a wrap around advert for the Conservatives in our local paper on the morning of the local elections. All quite legal apparently but I worry for what happens to local news as fewer people buy such publications.

Why did May start an election in middle of negotiations?

The negotiations are getting more difficult as more strident views are expressed. Not long ago May said another Scotland referendum was not at the "right time" as it would destabilise talks. So whay have an election? Is it intended to get a harder result?

I notice Andrew Marr is not asking this question. But it may come up. My guess is that debate in the Commons is just as possible with a large majority as with a small one so I don't think the result will make a lot of difference to what the government can do.  Towards the end of this clip an attack on European sources getting into the UK election. What else can happen with one called at this time? At least this question should be asked.

Catchup / my own views

I have not posted much recently but this is clearly a new phase in how Fleet street covers Europe. Part of my hesitation has been that my own bias may be too obvious for the reporting to be credible. So here is a bit of background.

I still think Brexit is a disaster for the UK. Policy may well change again and a new membership proposal could follow. But this will not happen till the damage is more obvious. I think Labour is right not to reject the referendum result. But the way the Lib Dems and some media have been pushing things has not had much benefit. some Labour voters have switched but no enough for there to be more LibDem MPs. Debate inside the Labour Party has not been reported and there has not been space for policy to be explained. The Guardian for example has lots of Remain opinion but impatience with Labour. I don't think there will be a challenge to Brexit unless there is an argument from the left that makes sense to most people.

More later on the Reading the Guardian blog. These posts are a bit all over the place but there will be catchup.

Obviously Corbyn is part of this. Some people seem so concerned to damage him that the case against Brexit is damaged incidentally. It will be interesting to see what happens on TV as he makes a case in his own words. YouTube clips may be more reliable than as selected on news channels. I notice on BBC Radio 4 Today that Laura Kuenssberg has twice claimed that some say Jeremy Corbyn is liked less the more he is known. My counter evidence is the Sky News lengthy discussion towards the end of the referendum and the Last Leg show. Claim that 7 out of 10 was unsupportive is refuted in context. Channel 4 refused permission for Corbyn to upload complete clip to his own YouTube Channel.

I am going back to previous posts, but may be worth repeating as the referendum history can maybe be checked in the conventions of an election. Labour is allowed to talk directly and Corbyn is in more control than previously.