The problem comes when the there is an accident with the props and the theatre burns down. Thus the perils of writing before the event. Sadly, in the intervening half a century, the Fourth Estate has forgotten the lesson, and this, coupled with their determination to tell readers which way to vote, rather than give them any of those inconvenient facts, has left the Telegraph and Sun covered with rather more than confusion this morning.
So while the Independent’s offspring i tells its readers “Dawn of rainbow politics”, acknowledging the contributions of seven party leaders in last night’s ITV-hosted show from Media City, the Super Soaraway Currant Bun had already decided that Mil The Younger had lost, because this was in accordance with their script. So readers of that paper were told “Oops! I Just Lost My Election” (Geddit?!?).
The Tel had also made its mind up that, whatever the reality, Miliband had lost because the accepted Tory-supporting line meant that he was rubbish. “Miliband flops as outsiders shine” they declared, selecting the post-debate poll that gave the Labour leader the least favourable rating. The problem with this approach was that the YouGov poll put their preferred Prime Minister behind Nicola Sturgeon and Nigel “Thirsty” Farage.
Sadly for both Sun and Tel, the snap polls after the debate showed Miliband doing as well as Cameron, with ICM for the Guardian putting him in front by a point (those who like to crow about ICM as being the “gold standard” when its results bring news they like may not be too happy about that) and two other pollsters showing a tie. And the conclusions reached by the Guardian’s report will not make good reading for the Tories.
“In truth, last night’s debate decided nothing” was the grudging opening line. And that’s not quite right, is it, Murdoch poodles? It allowed more and more of your readers to see through the fog of blatantly partisan propaganda. It showed once more that, the more the viewers see of Miliband, the less they believe the abuse. And it showed just how desperate the right-leaning press is to keep him out of power.