Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Too much applause...

From the Times today, via way of Liberal Conspiracy:

The Conservatives complained to the programme makers three times during Monday night’s television debate between the candidates for Chancellor, accusing them of skewing coverage in favour of Vince Cable.

At one point during the Channel 4 Ask the Chancellors programme senior Tories phoned the hotline to the production staff claiming that the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman was receiving too much applause.

Yesterday the Conservatives warned broadcasters not to give the Liberal Democrats an easy ride in the leaders’ TV debates.

Although many were happy with the performance of George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, senior Conservatives, including David Cameron, were irritated by the way Mr Cable was able to present himself as a referee between two opponents rather than facing pressure over his own policy positions.

This is pretty disingenuous. Most of the "serious pressure about policy positions" in that debate came from Osborne attacking Darling or vice-versa. The reason Cable didn't come under much pressure was because they were desperately trying to ignore him. This is perfectly in keeping with the Tory battle plan for dealing with the Lib Dems - pretend they don't exist and that the election comes down to a straight choice between Labour and Tory - which they were putting into full force on Monday night. Cable was clearly gunning for a show-down with Osborne, but George kept on batting the ball back to Darling. This was probably the sensible move (is there a political pundit in the country who thinks that Osborne would have come out better from that one?) but you can't really blame Channel 4 for the Tory election strategy. Or for the fact that Cable knows his shit and Osborne doesn't.


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