The Party is Over

Today, in case you hadn’t noticed, is polling day. After an election campaign that seems to have gone on for ever, the first TV debate was over a month ago, we can now get down to the serious business of actually voting.

It is interesting to note that over the course of the campaign the opinion polls have hardly shifted. Which does rather make me wonder if all the tweeting, photo opportunities, press conferences etc. actually make a blind bit of difference?

There were a couple of studies that caught my eye this week about the press coverage of the election. Firstly there was a fascinating article in Press Gazette which looked at how the new parliament would shape up if newspaper circulations were votes. Perhaps not surprisingly, it showed that UK national daily newspapers backed the Conservatives over Labour by a factor of five to one.

This was followed up by a Guardian report which claimed that 95 per cent of tabloid editorials during the campaign have been anti-Labour.  The Guardian goes on to claim that Ed Miliband has been vilified  by the press in a way not seen since the highly personal attacks on Neil Kinnock in the 1980s.

There is little doubt that some of the coverage in the right wing press has bordered on the hysterical. For example, Boris Johnson used his Daily Telegraph column to compare Nicola Sturgeon to King Herod. Surreal even by the standards of Boris, especially when you remember that Sturgeon isn’t even a candidate at this election.

But pride of place has to go to a front page lead in the Mail on Sunday which claimed that a minority Labour Government propped up by the SNP would provoke the greatest constitutional crisis since the abdication of Edward VIII.

As I have said in recent posts, the national press seems to be having difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that it simply does not have the influence over voters which it had 20 years ago.

For my money the most insightful and entertaining election coverage was the Channel Four’s Ballot Monkeys, a satirical look at the battle buses of the four main parties. Well worth watching on catch up if you haven’t already seen it.


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