No agreement about the personal side of Gordon and Dave

I’ve a fond memory of two journalists in the old Stormont pressroom in the days when members of the trade actually took verbatim shorthand notes. One was from the Newsletter, the other from the Irish News. They would do separate “takes” in turn, that is, make notes of proceedings and later at the corner of the big long table, swap notes to piece together the raw account of the debate. Then they would go off and file completely different reports for their respective unionist and nationalists readers. When it comes to seeing the same thing through different eyes, journalists are no different from the rest of us.
Ben Brogan The Telegraph

The Tories should be delighted with the outcome of Dave’s session with ITV and Trevor McDonald. It produced a far more rounded and more useful portrait of its subject than Gordon Brown’s stilted two-hander with Piers Morgan did of him

Simon Hoggart The Guardian

Would he ever contemplate firing George Osborne? What did they expect him to say? “No, even if he were convicted of grievous bodily harm and downloading child porn, he would keep his job”?

For my money, the Dave show with Sir Trevor came over flat. He seemed happier in his own skin than Gordon but unlike the PM , he didn’t say a single interesting thing. Cheeky chappie Piers Morgan would have livened it up with the odd squib as he did for Gordon. The appearances on non-news shows continue even before the campaign has started. Latest Gordon on his public image on Woman’s Hour.

It was marriage (not Sarah’s PR experience) that did it… When we’re talking about the death of a child it’s very difficult.. but I’ve got nothing to hide…(Bullying charges ) were damaging.. I’m a tough guy but I work in an open plan office and we are a family.. people have worked with me for 15, 20 years..”.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • Not that I care what the conservatives or unionists do, or at least only in so far as unionists affect the north. I do think Simon Hoggart got it absolutely wrong.

    If G Osbourne or anyone else in the Conservative party were charged or suspected of child porn, the party would have dumped him, preferably quietly (sick Mum), but emphatically, they would not risk being caught in the scandal no matter what or who.

    The rule is: do not get caught, do not be implicated, do not under any circumstances drag the party down with you. Times have changed a bit, but not that much.

  • Rory Carr

    See, Brian, there’s not much a poor journo can get away with when there’s a sharp cookie like our Pippakin monitoring the show.

    It however is really a bit much comparing the Telegraph with the Guardian.

    Although I have never been a fan of the latter, which always seemed to me to trade on a left-liberal image by dint of clever use of progressive columnists while denying that thrust continually in either weak, watered down support or downright hostility in their editorial stance towards any real advance in economic power for the masses, nevertheless I have considered it to be a serious paper with views that needed to be taken into account because they mattered, if not to me, then certainly to a broad sweep of thoughtful opinion which could not be simply dismissed.

    The Telegraph I always treated seriously, loved the layout, admired the writers , detested the editorial stance but liked its raw honesty and while respect diminished somewhat after Conrad Black bought out the Berry brothers it has entirely disappeared with the advent of the baleful brothers of the Chateau Drear on the Isle of Doom. Now old faithful really has become a joke outdoing the Mail in banality to the extent that Private Eye can impishly refer to it as the Mailygraph in full confidence of the appreciation of its readers.

    A headline on Page 3 (ah yes – Page 3 where the Telegraph traditionally blazoned its smut-sheet coverage – I’m sure it gave The Sun the idea) today ran a headline:

    Facing jail in Dubai, friends who kissed each other on the cheek.

    over a story which completely contradicted that headline while playing up jingoism and xenophobia in equal measure. The couple had in fact been found guilty of public indecency after drunkenly smooching and fondling openly in a Dubai restuarant before outraged witnesses. Their defence, to which witnesses gave the lie, was that they had merely pecked each other on the cheek as was the custom in their own culture. The court rejected their defence and sentenced them to a month in jail for offending public decency.

    What we may think of the law on such matters as they pertain in Dubai matters not here. What matters is that the Telegraph in order to foster xenophobic jingoism is happy to depart from its normal practice of accepting the verdicts of the court and instead swallowing the tale put forward by guilty defendants. When was the last time you saw a headline in the Telegraph that read:

    Man sent to prison for being at home in bed!

    over a story that told of a burglar convicted on police evidence who claimed in court, ‘I ain’t done nuffink, guv. I was home in bed, fast asleep. Honest.’?

    Not recently, or indeed ever, I imagine.

  • Rory Carr

    Did I get it wrong? oh dear.

    It is years since I looked at the Guardian, and then only the jobs section..

    As for the Telegraph. I knew some who enjoyed the crossword back in the day, and I did enjoy the MPs expenses debacle but it was available on line so I did not have to lower my standards and buy the rag…

  • Rory Carr

    Oh, Pips, what are we going to with you?

    Simon Hoggart in the Guardian was making an emphasis by use of deliberate, gross (and, as I am sure he trusts) easily seen through, exaggeration.

    He doesn’t really believe that any politician could stay on after such a scandal (and if you mention Gerry Adams again, I swear I’ll shoot you myself!*)

    *Relax! Just another example of the exaggeration for effect ploy.

  • Rory Carr

    How can I put this – I know what he was ‘aiming at’.

    Buuut it coincided with recent allegations about the cover up of child abuse scandals involving Sinn Fein and ex or current republicans. I therefore thought it worth a comment. Never let it be said I let a glib reference to child abuse pass me by…

    In any event, since you want to drag it to the bitter end, what about Kincora?