Yesterday, UKIP knocked the Times of London for its ‘establishment’ links, citing numerous Conservative Party cronies who keep the Tory blood coursing through the veins of the newspaper.
But it is not just the Tory establishment which has its talons tight around old Thunderer. Labour’s propagandists are making a play for Murdoch’s affections too. It’s all so very 1997.
Step forward Jenni Russell, formerly of the Guardian, the Evening Standard, BBC, ITN, the New Statesman, and so on and so on… a decent career basically, and one I’m sure she should be commended for, and apparently has been. But today, 2011’s Orwell prize winner (too easy) was the only journalist to eat up Labour’s line on the ‘cost of living crisis’ – as pushed by Rachel Reeves MP yesterday.
As unemployment falls, and wages rise against prices, Labour’s spinners are wont to digging up spurious attack lines. Yesterday’s was: “It’s deeply complacent and out of touch for the Tories to try and claim this deep-seated cost-of-living crisis has suddenly been solved”.
The problem is that no Tory has claimed that. Not in the past, not recently, definitely not yesterday. Nor had they claimed it had “suddenly” been solved either. Yes, woeful spin.
But that didn’t stop our protagonist (good old Ms. Russell… remember her?) from taking to the pages of the Times this morning and declaring: “Only deluded Tories think the crisis is over”.
Pesky deluded Tories! Let me at ’em!
Wait, what do you mean they’ve just been whittled up by Ed ‘Geppetto’ Miliband? Like Pinocchio, albeit brought to life by a red, not a blue fairy this time, while Monstro, our beloved sperm whale also known as Ms. Russell, has swallowed the lie whole. I’m not sure how a lie’s nose can grow by lying. But the analogy almost works, right?
All good fun, but I fear the truth is far more sinister. You see, Ms. Russell, in claiming that “Ed Miliband’s living-costs campaign has driven debate for the past six months” is simply doing her mate’s dirty work. Everyone (including Ed Miliband) knows (nose?) that his “campaign” has driven nothing. Well, nothing but groaning Labourites round the bend, up the wall, and into the nearest parked car.
You see Ms. Russell has a child. That child has a godfather. Not the Mario Puzo style Godfather. More of a ‘sends you a shit present at Christmas’ godfather. That shit-present-bearing godfather’s name? Ed Miliband. (I shit-present-bear you not).
Suddenly Ms. Russell is no longer Monstro, but indeed herself the red fairy of the story. Bringing Geppetto’s boy to life.
Because I’m sure, as a foreign-born, successful career-journalist who attended Cambridge, she is as ‘in touch’ with average Britons as Rachel Reeves is. You know Rachel Reeves, right? That Oxford grad who worked at the Bank of England before a sojourn in Washington, D.C. on the taxpayers’ dime? Yeah that one. In touch.
And I’d love to leave it there. Because frankly this has gone on long enough. But some of the Times commenters under Ms. Russell’s piece were much more pithy than I’ve been, and you deserve to read them. Here are some of my favourites:
Chris Poulson: “If Jenni Russell thinks that it will be possible to fix the mess that New Labour created in the term of one parliament or even two then it is she that may be delusional.”
David Barry: “The article is not worth commenting upon. I am disappointed by it. My subscriptions due in August…”
Sam Fisher: “If Ms Russell and her ilk had their way, the public sector would consume 100% of the UK’s GDP!”
James Potts: “‘Gleeful Tories’ – come off it Jenni! No Tories I have seen interviewed on the economy recently have come across as triumphalist, just grateful that we appear to be over the worst of things but also mindful that we have a long way to go.”
Foreversideways: “Befuddled socialist thinking. Jenni has conveniently forgotten that it was a socialist government that caused the problem in the first place”
Michael Jones: “These articles just get worse.”
Jack Townshend: “Yet another column not worth the subscription from a journalist still a bit green behind the gills.”
Laurence Taylor: “Whiff of desperation about this article. Who exactly in the Tory party has said the crisis is now ‘over’?”
Matt: “This is pretty thin gruel. None of the Tories that I have heard commenting about this have expressed the views that you are attributing to them.”
Thin gruel indeed…