I'm not biased - the Conservative Party really has been useless lately - Jonathan Walker

I’m not biased – the Conservative Party really has been useless lately – Jonathan Walker

Academics at the London School of Economics claimed last year that the media was biased against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn .

Their report was evidence that even the brainiest of us can sometimes get it wrong.

Researchers found there was a “high level of negativity” in news reporting about Mr Corbyn, to quote LSE academic Bart Cammaerts, and said that in most newspapers “Labour voices that are anti-Corbyn outweigh those that are pro-Corbyn”.

That was no doubt true, but it wasn’t evidence of media bias against Jeremy Corbyn.

For one thing, the media periodically declares open season on politicians who are seen to be failing. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt , former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, former Education Secretary Michael Gove and former Chancellor George Osborne, all Tories, have been victims at various points in their career.

They all experienced long periods when you’d be hard-pressed to find any media coverage that wasn’t negative or hostile. Whether that’s particularly healthy is debatable, but Mr Corbyn’s experience is not unique.

Secondly, reporting of Mr Corbyn’s leadership reflected what was actually going on at the time.

His own MPs thought he was useless and were openly attempting to get rid of him.

Mr Corbyn was a poor performer in the House of Commons. Rather than challenging the Prime Minister, he simply invited the PM – David Cameron at the time – to explain what the Government was doing to help people. It was an offer Mr Cameron eagerly took up.

And he was bad on TV, where he had a habit of making statements (such as claiming “Article 50 has to be invoked now” on the day after the Brexit referendum) which then had to be contradicted or explained away by his supporters.

It meant the news was going to be bad because the reality was bad. It’s not the job of the media to balance things out by desperately seeking something positive to say.



Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at an election rally at the ICC in Birmingham.

Mr Corbyn’s leadership really was a disaster.

This leads me on to the purpose of this column. Because it’s come to my attention that one or two Conservative MPs feel coverage of politics in the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail, and my writing in particular, has been a little unfair towards the Conservative Party and the Government.

As far as I can tell, there are two elements to this.

The first is that during this year’s general election , we wrote in positive terms about the Labour campaign. For example, we said that Labour had published a detailed manifesto with interesting policies. I have no idea whether the policies are actually right for the country, but it was clear where Labour stood.

We also said Mr Corbyn had attended a series of rallies which attracted large and enthusiastic crowds.

The second issue is that we reported things were going badly for Conservative leader Theresa May . She disowned a key policy in the Conservative election manifesto days after it was published, other policies were abandoned shortly after polling day and attempts to secure a Brexit deal, the most important issue facing this country at the moment, have floundered.

The Government has also overseen the disastrous introduction of Universal Credit, which may be well-intentioned but has in practice led to huge problems for some people on low incomes as well as agencies, such as council housing departments, that deal with them.

And police services which coped valiantly with years of spending cuts (possibly suggesting there was indeed some fat to be trimmed) are reaching the end of their tether – though there are signs the Government recognises this and is prepared to give them some extra money (while also ordering them to dip into their reserves).

Anyway, much of what I wrote about Labour during the general election campaign was pretty upbeat. Mr Corbyn was a lousy party leader, but he’s a great campaigner and had a great election – though he lost at the end, of course.



Pictured Prime Minister Theresa May about to speaking to Conservative Party activists on the last day of the General Election campaign at the National Conference Centre in Hampton In Arden, Solihull.

He’s also, incidentally, getting better at leading his party between polls.

And much of what I’ve written about the Conservatives, from about half-way through the general election campaign onwards, has been fairly negative, though that hasn’t stopped us celebrating good news like funding for the Midland Metro , announced in the run-up to last month’s Budget.

I make no apologies. Because, my Conservative friends, the truth is that your party has been pretty useless recently.

It may not be Mrs May’s fault. She may be in an impossible position.

But it’s still true. It’s not bias.

0

Latest Tweets

  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Inflation-busting Council Tax rise adds £70 to average family's bill Birmingham’s Counc https://t.co/FxZYnvkNEz @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 3 hours ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Bass Invaders, 15 Dec 2017 15 Dec 2017 - Club at Suki 10c https://t.co/DMUKglnSwY @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 3 hours ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    MP reveals shocking stories of domestic abuse as she urges Government to protect fundin https://t.co/e6ZGwuau53 @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 9 hours ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Notebenders, 15 Dec 2017 15 Dec 2017 - Jazz at Symphony HallFREE Jazzlines Free Gigs ar https://t.co/R7VDtiOQ1B @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 9 hours ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Moves to ban anti-abortion protesters in Birmingham backed by council Anti-abortion cam https://t.co/3yl6fWeu49 @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 15 hours ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    The Heartbeats, 15 Dec 2017 15 Dec 2017 - Rock & Pop at The Austin Sports and Social Cl https://t.co/QiohHJk7w1 @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 15 hours ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    School suspends Labour candidate after she claimed there was ‘no proof’ ISIS existed A https://t.co/MooeoEQkXD @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 21 hours ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Pick 'N' Mix, 14 Dec 2017 14 Dec 2017 - Club at Fever & Cirque https://t.co/oCPLdlRgJP @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 21 hours ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    £56 billion HS2 high speed rail project is at risk of 'fraud and financial errors' The https://t.co/05ZKiOJOU2 @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about a day ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Board Game Smackdown, 14 Dec 2017 14 Dec 2017 - Comedy at Hare & Hounds https://t.co/FkvIFxvwjE @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about a day ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Bus operator accused of putting profit before passengers after closing 59 stops Bus man https://t.co/SEy56lfAtR @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about a day ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Live Music Thursdays, 14 Dec 2017 14 Dec 2017 - Rock & Pop at Missoula, Birmingham https://t.co/R59Rt6ovA9 @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about a day ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    New funding to repair 90,000 West Midlands potholes More than 90,000 potholes across th https://t.co/C1xuibnbGm @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about a day ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Christmas Carol Singing, 14 Dec 2017 14 Dec 2017 - Community at The Dodford Inn https://t.co/Bbmykfm04g @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about a day ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Surgeon admits marking his initials on patients' livers A surgeon has admitted assaulti https://t.co/9fWrrg1Wcz @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about a day ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Tap Takeover: Odyssey, Burning Soul & Glass House, 13 Dec 2017 13 Dec 2017 - Rock & Pop https://t.co/pD9NqoU3BJ @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about a day ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Historic Moseley Road Baths SAVED after generous donations from Brummies The historic M https://t.co/LU3MZR6iEM @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 2 days ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Howl, 13 Dec 2017 13 Dec 2017 - Spoken Word at Dark Horse https://t.co/AvXLryCY0l @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 2 days ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Why Birmingham would like cricket to be in 2022 Commonwealth Games Birmingham’s Common https://t.co/UoA9rRjYqm @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 2 days ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Midnight Screening Party, 13 Dec 2017 13 Dec 2017 - Film at M https://t.co/ZN6S4r0w3z @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 2 days ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    These budget cuts are result of Labour council's "financial failures" Opposition Conser https://t.co/PJg6lLHbpP @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 3 days ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Messy Crafts at the Coffee Hub, 13 Dec 2017 13 Dec 2017 - Workshop at Creative Coffee H https://t.co/wt29VwMC2I @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 3 days ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    £286m business case agreed for major transport hub Plans for a major transport hub next https://t.co/YIFzSwJFgh @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 3 days ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Robert Plant, 12 Dec 2017 12 Dec 2017 - Rock & Pop at Symphony Hall (suitable for under https://t.co/BRftqqLTyo @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 3 days ago
  • GenesisRadioBhm
    Rail passengers facing major Christmas delays Travellers planning to use the region's r https://t.co/69N0UhbRHn @jamtubetv @thenaturalmonk about 3 days ago