Dead Men Left

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Biting the media on its backside

After a couple of weeks of clampdown, it's rather satisying to see the old order rebuffed:

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has urged Labour to fight on following a shock defeat to the Lib Dems in the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election.

The Libs Dems took the seat by 1,800 votes, overturning an 11,500 Labour majority at the last election.

Mr Prescott said the government had to "get on" with delivering its programme.

Lib Dems, somewhat predictably, are ignoring the obvious reading of this result - that Blair is an albatross around Labour's neck - to crow about Gordon Brown's "embarrassment". For a group so recently skewered by a witch-hunt against deviant minority parties, they're ludicrously keen to play the big boys' game: they're also ignoring the humiliation this result is for the supposedly rejuvenated Tories:

And while a more unlikely setting for a Tory triumph would be difficult to imagine - Willie Gallagher, Britain's last Communist MP, represented this part of the world - Mr Cameron arrived in Fife yesterday determined to give Mr Brown a bloody nose in his own backyard.

The upshot was more excitement than Dunfermline's High Street has seen since 1968 when the local football team, nicknamed the Pars (short for Paralytics), last won the Scottish Cup. Mr Cameron was mobbed in a way Tory leaders aren't used to in Scotland...

Surely not...?

...The Cameronian message, although not universally accepted, managed to get through the huge media scrum to a few somewhat bewildered voters.

What a nicely revealing moment: the "mobbing" and the excitement the media report is entirely the result of the media itself. The actual voters barely matter - except when they deliver an amusingly significant swing against the Tories.