Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Press tries to smear Clegg

It is quite astonishing to look at the front pages of some of the press this morning. They are really going for Nick Clegg, especially the Telegraph and the Mail, both of which has very flimsy "stories" that really do not stand up to scrutiny and are blatant smear jobs not warranting even page 17 status let alone splashed across the front page. I'm not linking to them, you can find them if you wish. Tom Bradby, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Paxman all suggested last night that the Telegraph story is a smear or something and nothing.

It can only be because the press are running scared that the Lib Dems might actually do well at this election now. Every time the press runs smears like this, the stakes get a bit higher because the more it is clear that they are desperate to try and force the Lib Dem polling numbers down. If they are not successful in this endeavour then it will demonstrate that the power of the press has severely declined.

Obviously I hope that they are not successful, but I would be saying this even if they were going for Brown or Cameron. I want this election to be decided on issues. When there was talk of the Lib Dems coming under more scrutiny I welcomed this. I want to see our policies being debated properly and I think they stand up well against our opponents. This is not what the Mail or the Telegraph have done today. They are just hurling a tonne of crap at Clegg and hoping that some will stick.

Conservative blogger Iain Dale did a very good post earlier this morning which made clear what his view is on this sort of thing. Here's a snippet:

I don't want Nick Clegg to win. I don't want him to be Prime Minister. But he is not the devil incarnate. He's a nice guy, doing a fair job of leading his party. I do not agree with many of his policies. I think many of them are misguided. But I am happy to accept that he believes they will be best for the country. I am happy to debate them with him or any other LibDem and that's what politics and this election should be about. It should be about debating ideas, arguing about policy. It shouldn't be about this sudden urge to denigrate Nick Clegg as a person. It will backfire on those who promulgate these attacks because most people can see with their own eyes that he is a transparently decent individual.

Of course politicians should be scrutinised and questioned. But not like this

I hope Iain is right about this strategy backfiring for the press and fair play to him for posting this. I also hope that other bloggers from across the spectrum are willing to speak out against this sort of thing.

UPDATE: Caron has an excellent suggestion for how to deal with these press smears by trying to make sure they are hit in the pocket here.


Steve Rolles said...

Hes a a Nazi according to the Express headline. ridiculous, and I suspect will be seen as such. for the papers to so obviously turn on him like this smacks of panic - i think the public are smart enough to see it for what it is.

Primly Stable said...

I suspect much of this nonsense is being briefed in by other parties (especially the Tories) who want to knock Clegg and co down a peg or two without being seen engaged in negative campaigning. Helps when you have a client media to use as a proxy.