The Conservative news machine is in a frenzied attack on Nick Clegg today. The Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Express and Times have a combined readership of 18 million, which is 10 (ten) times the combined readership of the Guardian and the Independent. This is an indictment of the obscene political imbalance in the UK media scene. It will be interesting to see whether this massive propaganda offensive wave can dent the Clegg Surge in the polls. Fair play to the electorate if they can maintain their intent to align themselves with the LibDems, and even more fair play to them if they can exercise enough analysis of the local situation to use tactical voting effectively.
The media approach is not only grotesquely imbalanced politically, and constitutionally blind to the real questions, but also neurotic.
By neurotic, I mean that they think in absolute categories like right-wrong, right-left and good-bad. Nick Clegg is either Saint Nicholas, coming down the political chimney to give all good children a present, or Old Nick, a demonic figure who will cause the British economy to collapse and require the attentions of the IMF.
So far the main substance of the attack has been on some payments into a private account, which were declared, and the fact that he is a career politician. Big Deal. The LibDem figures on the economy are said not to add up, which is a bit rich coming from journalists whose favoured party has not published any meaningful figures about the economic plans, but who are majoring instead on apple-pie chunterings about a Big Society plan which is doomed by their ideological commitment to ever-increasing economic divergence.
(Picture: grateful thanks to the
Waiting round the corner are accusations that by blocking our Trident WMD (see left) he will let the
Reality is not found in the simple binary analysis of Conservative media machine. Reality is a complex system of gradations between effective and ineffective activities.
I am not starry-eyed about Nick Clegg and the LibDems. I have criticised them on this blog here and here and here and here.
They tend to fight dirty in elections, the result no doubt of 100 years of being held back by the dysfunctional FPTP system.
In spite of all their failings (and no political party is without flaws, including my own Green party), the point about the LibDems is that they do stand for electoral reform. Yes, the STV form that they advocate is designed to benefit the LibDems and not the Greens, being a weak form of Proportional Representation, which is a drawback, but at least it is a weak form of Proportional Representation, which is an advantage. And in fact, the framework being set leans towards AV+ (building on Labour's pusillanimous suggestion of AV), and AV+ would be acceptable.
So PR is the main reason to seek a hung Parliament. That and Vince. Here again, Vince is not infallible, but his grasp on economics is clearly and definitely better than that of Labour or the Tories.
So the message to the electorate is - Hold your line, Defy the Murdoch/Tory press, and use your vote to bring about real political change. And the message to the Tory Media is - Grow Up.