I wonder if our newspapers have a use any more.
The redtop tabloids are full of semi clad women, pages and pages of celebrity culture and garish headlines. To be fair the occasional good journo's story bares little resemblance to the headline.
At election time they ALL become rabidly partisan and instead of reporting the news they bias it totally to the point it is misleading.
To be fair some of the "quality" papers have some good journalism but you have to work hard to find it! When I was a lad there was quality investigative reporting in papers like the Mirror.
Let us take an example. Gordon Brown was unelected. Even supposedly educated people like Ian Hislop fall for this refrain so I can perhaps forgive the man/woman in the street for getting this wrong.
Firstly. We do not vote for a Prime Minister, no sorry we don't. What we do is vote for an MP, that's it. The MP may stand as a member of a party but that is also to a degree irrelevant. If on the Friday after the election the Conservatives had a majority it did not have to be David Cameron who was prive ministers if someone had mounted a challenge to be Conservative Leader and won then they would be legitimately prime minister. The Sun et al may not like that but that is how our system works.
Indeed party membership is to a degree irrelevant. If 326 members defect to form a new party they can do so.
I'm not saying this is right merely that it is how our system works.
We have often decried a Presedential system in this country and yet that is what the televised debates herald.
The sad thing is that in both 2010 and 1997 good MPs were lost (yes there are some whatever you read) not because the public thought they were doing a bad job but becuase they fancied the leader of the other party. Nowadays there are less maverick MP's becuase we vote purely for the leader and ignore the record of the MP. There are many MP's who keep their jobs becuase of this. In parts of the south east chinless wonders keep getting elected because their rosette is blue, and up North neaderthals get elected becuase their rosette is red. That's bonkers.
As it is we now have a coalition government who the press constantly say is unelected. GET THIS INTO YOUR HEADS WE VOTED FOR A SET OF MPS WHO HAVE NOW GOT TOGETHER AND FORMED A GOVERNMENT. THIS IS PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE.
Personally I have to applaud Cameron and Clegg for doing this. The world economy is a mess and we need stable government. They seem to have a semi sensible agenda going forward. This does not mean I necessarily agree with it just that I think they have done the right thing.
As John Redwood and Menzies Campbell both said last night parties are coalitions anyway. I suspect Ken Clarke (Tory) is more in tune with Lib-Dem policy on Europe than he is with his own parties.
I'm sure Cameron and Clegg have agendas and motives. Cameron's days would have been numbered if it didn't get the Tories in power and Clegg knew this was his one chance of getting a reform of the voting system.
Conservatives may hate the idea of this but the intelligent ones like John Redwood have twigged that you can't campaign for a rederendum over Europe and object to trusting the British people over electoral reform. Redwood knows that his friends in the press will campaign against it and so it is a risk worth taking.
Indeed I think all parties realise that some degree of reform is necessary. How can the 100,000 people on the isle of wight elect 1 MP and the 20,000 people on the western isles have 1 MP?
If we want elected to Prime Ministers that's fine by me but that isn't our system at present. We vote for MP's who represent us. GET OVER IT!