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March 26, 2009


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Paul Flynn

Thanks Kevin, I agree with many of your points about the merits of a local press.

They are certainly less biased than the national tabloids but there are far more influential in effecting support or otherwise for local MPs.

I put this argument forward for an obligation of balance for newspapers ten years ago. Alll we have now in a weak industry dominated Press Council. they can be as biased as they like in area of local constituency where there have a near monoply of local news.

Graham Marlowe

Yes I read Mr Hannan's "monstering" (as one newspaper put it) of the Clunking Fist, and I have to say that I thought it was quite mild - I would have been far less kind to him. He is continuing Blair's work of destroying th Labour party an everything it stood for.


Just a thought about the power of the Internet. GB got a clinic kicking in the European Parliament from an MEP called Hannan. Initially the BBC would not cover it but it has since then become the top viewed video on YouTube this week.
I think this is something that politicians may have to realise - just because its on the BBC/ITV does not mean anyone is really listening - the activists (like for the US elections) are talking direct to people (in the way this blog does) and 'official' messages can get lost (I wonder Paul if that is part of the reason why you declined the allowance so you can say what you think)
Having said that its worth having a look at the video , not just for the content but for the maniacal grin on GB's face.
Seriously , the damage he is doing to the chances of Labour are huge - if he went now maybe you'd get 200 MP's back , leave it until next year and potentially 3.5m unemployed , Labiur will be lucky to get 100 - there is some real anger being expressed - and I don't mean by the bloggers but by people I'd normally not associate it - next week could be quite messy .. (British understatement) ..)

Kevin Ward


Firstly, thanks for highlighting the issues.

A couple of points, though, on your interesting take on what the Society of Editors is saying.

Firstly, this is not about beating down competition. No-one has a problem with commercial, fair competition. In fact, it is healthy. But competition funded by the tax payer surely cannot be fair - and that is what some (not all, by any means) local councils are providing.

Particularly in metropolitan areas there are an increasing number of council-run newspapers that sell advertising space. Again, no problem if it is a commercial enterprise and not funded from the public purse.

Andy Burnham has recognised this today and invited the LGA to the government seminar on the local media. He says some councils are "overstepping the mark".

Secondly, I think most regional and local newspapers provide far more balance coverage than the nationals. We shouldn't all be tarred with the same brush. Ask your colleague Mike Foster or opponents Peter Luff and Sir Michael Spicer if they get fair coverage here in Worcester.

There is a joint PCC/SoE Editors' Code of Practice to which the vast majority of local media adhere - I don't think that is the case with the national press.

The regional media is certainly not asking for a bail-out like the banks or the car industry - just a little help around the edges.

Having been in this industry for 25 years, I believe passionately that we are a vital part of local communities and essential to local democracy.

The more local newspapers that go, the less accountable the people who run our public services become.

Surely that cannot be a good thing?

Graham Marlowe

I am just surprised Woolas is still a minister, given his propensity to make an ass of himself. I can't imagine why Brown, who has quite enough troubles, is prepared to let some of these embarrassments (especially people like McNulty and Butler) continue in office. I have given up - the longer he goes on and on, the bigger the defeat will be. So be it.

I certainly don't think any minister ought to be given official stats 24 hours in advance so that they can dissemble.


For those who would like to search for the magically prescient and modern sounding quote or who would like to search for some real ones.

You can try here

Paul Flynn

That's very convincing Huw. The language does sound like a very modern translation.


Sorry Paul.
The Marx quote is almost certainly false.
There has been a fair bit of debate about it online, but it really boils down to a few things.
The language is just not Marx(even in translation)
Technology was not a thing the working classes bought in the 19th century.
Loans and credit, other than perhaps if you were lucky being able to get basic necessities on tick for a few days, were not available to the working classes.
Other little fiddly bits plus the fact that Marx did not believe communism could come into being without bloody revolution.

The quote may be fun, but its not from Marx, its not from the 19th century and there seems to be no trace of it prior to 2008.

Now if it had given the winner of the fifth race in doncaster, we would have had some way of checking its validity.

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