A couple of weeks ago I got myself a PVR. This is one of those gadgets you never thought you needed but then wonder how you did without. For the uninitiated, a PVR lets you look at the TV schedule a week in advance, pick out the programmes you might want to watch, and then it dutifully stores them all on a hard disk to watch/skim through at leisure. This means (at the moment) that I get home from work and have hours of the Party Conference which I can skim through and watch the highlights. I also accepted the task of updating the local party website so my laptop has several pages of html that I’m fiddling around with in spare moments. All of this has led me to neglect you my faithful readers, for which I humbly apologise!
Today, however, I have snapped out of it! Had a text message from my wife: “have you seen the terrible things The Mirror is saying about the LibDems?”. No I hadn’t. Under a screaming headline “Orange Tories” and a deeply disturbing image of an Orange Margaret Thatcher there is a piece by Ros Wynne-Jones. Now I never thought of Ros as a political journalist. A couple of campaigning peices on drugs or the Sudanese famine are the high points of a career that also involves such luminaries as Geri Haliwell telling all about her yoga in hard hitting interviews.
But this is in a different league! Never before have I read such a self-assured critique of a political party that contains absolutely no original thought whatsoever. Myths and half truths are shamelessly recycled in a swingeing attack on a party which according to less hysterical commentators are forming “mature policies”. The fact that the Liberal Democrats are both a broad church and a democratic party allows differences of opinion and healthy debate. But the reality is so far from the picture Ros paints. How can local income tax be a burden on the poor? 7 out of 10 would pay less under a scheme which is clearly so much fairer than what we have?
A recent piece in The Independent showed how six of the ten bullet points from the new Pre-Manifesto are, if anything, more “left” than Labour. Three are neutral and only one could be considered “right”.
Comparisons with Thatcherism implied by the layout and imagary could not be further from the truth. I am all for structured criticism. But this piece of scaremongering has no basis in fact.
On this showing. I think Ros should stick to the showbusiness interviews.