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Friday 6 March 2015

TV Debates - Press Backs Chicken

Here on Zelo Street, it’s good to see all those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet following where Crewe leads: suddenly, editorials out there on the right are remembering Mrs T., and her use of the Lincolnshire vernacular, as she called out Denis Healey for being “frit”. The Murdoch Times has put the word in its leader headline, as they declare Young Dave to be “True Frit”.
Pointing the way to a swift exit

Even Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue, has revisited that put-down from 1983. But, while the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre is forthright in its put-downs of Corporal Clegg and Mil The Younger, it can’t come off the fence on those pesky TV debates. “There are many who believe David Cameron failed to win the last election because of his unimpressive showing in the debates” they tell.

The rest of the editorial rant is little better: “But inevitably, by turning down a head-to-head debate with Ed Miliband, Mr Cameron now stands accused of running scared – or in Mrs Thatcher’s memorable phrase, being ‘frit’ … And as he was so enthusiastically in favour of live debates before the 2010 election, he also sounds hypocritical … The irony is that he would probably wipe the floor with the hapless Mr Miliband (though there’s a danger he would also give huge publicity to Ukip if its leader Nigel Farage took part)”.

And how, pray, would Mr Thirsty take part in what the Mail has already described as a “head-to-head”? Of course, Dave is assumed to “wipe the floor” with Miliband by a paper which has relentlessly pushed the line that the latter is useless. What frightens the Mail, as it frightens Cameron, is that the reality will not match their propaganda.
That the popular press knows, deep down, that Miliband is not the fool they paint him as being, though, was summed up by the Murdoch Sun, which got an editorial out on Wednesday night after 10 Downing Street delayed its decision on TV debates. From the headline, “Debate farce”, readers were told this was A Very Bad Thing Indeed.

THE TV ‘leaders’ debates’ won’t tell us anything about who will run Britain best. Nor will they change many voters’ minds … Nick Clegg’s performance in 2010 won him brief popularity, but not votes … The bickering over holding them this year - and the political shambles created by TV firms clamouring to play host - is overshadowing genuine issues Britain should ponder before May 7 … David Cameron’s solution is right: hold just one, early on, with all the major leaders. Then get on with engaging voters where it really matters … Not in make-up in front of the cameras, but on the doorsteps and in the streets”.

And to that I call bullshit. Craig Oliver could have written that, and, who knows, he may have. It is the surest signal yet to emerge from the right that they are frightened shitless of allowing Dave to have a one-on-one debate with Miliband. They know their caricature of the Labour leader is a sham. So they are backing the chicken.

Like Dave and Craig, the Sun’s motley collection of clueless pundits can also hear Mrs T’s words ringing in their ears: “The Right Honourable gentleman is afraid of a debate, is he? Frightened. Frit. Couldn’t take it. Couldn’t stand it”. 


rob said...

Can't imagine why he's so scared. He's always got "Bert" Hodges to deflect any flak in the aftermath.

James said...

It's certainly kind of the Sun to tell us plebs that, regardless of what we think, we're not actually interested in the debates.