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Sunday, July 10, 2011

News International, News of the World and the rehabilitation of Vince Cable.

Few winners come out of the News International- News of the World spectacle. The sustained campaign of The Guardian and a couple of tenacious MPs - Chris Bryant and Tom Watson stand out.

Add to the list the Business Secretary: Vince Cable. He took a hammering last December over an unguarded private comment that he had "declared war on Murdoch."





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Perhaps he was indiscrete but, instinctively, many amongst his peers and the public knew he was right. The political elite held its head in the sand and the boat was not to be rocked. He was removed from the decision over the BSkyB bid and his star waned.

As the Westminster Village, press and police sort out their new standards and relationships, perhaps more attention will now be given to those whose instincts in the past were to question what was going wrong. As the Cabinet meets around the table, colleagues may be looking at Cable with an element of envy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ed Miliband’s surreal interview with Damon Green. Viewers are sick to death of interviews when they are being treated with disrespect by the media circus and politicians.

Ed Miliband’s interview with ITV’s Damon Green about public sector strikes took one into a surrealistic world when it comes to pinning down politicians. We are used to their sliding and slipping as they use straw man thinking and the rephrasing of a question to gain more favourable ground. Miliband’s repetition of the same phraseology to five questions was something to behold. Questions and answers seemed to live in different worlds. Sound bites had to be got out at all costs. The editing processes of the broadcaster circumvented.

There are only so many ways of delivering “when negotiations are still going on…both sides round the negotiation table and put aside rhetoric blah blah.” It made Paxman’s famously repeated Newsnight questioning of Michael Howard over prisons look sane.

In the world of presentations, it makes sense to make few and focussed points, but Miliband’s action replays just took him away from the way the rest of us communicate. You Tube has now fixed the evidence for ever.

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“When things go wrong one tends to do more the same with greater intensity.” is a well-known quote but this usually covers situations where tempers are short and exasperation rules. What makes Miliband’s performance stand out is that it was done with methodical coolness of mind. Unfortunately, the practice is now prevalent across the Westminster Village.

News Corporation’s hacking hiatus puts the press under scrutiny from politicians. When the dust has settled and we have a reconfigured press, let us hope that one of their first tasks is to stop the interview circus we saw with Miliband. Politicians and the media know what is going on as they play out this charade. Viewers and the electorate deserve better.