With Labour heading for its worst local election drubbing in almost 40 years this week, as voters protest at the failings of Charles Clarke and the lurid sex allegations involving John Prescott it’s almost sad that we won’t be having any ballot-box action here in Thanet. That said, I’m off to see our own council leader, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel this afternoon to record the first of what I hope will be a regular series of audio interviews and he has the questions you added to the news-piece last week; so we’ll aim to tackle as many as we can in the short interview of about five minutes. You might describe this as Thanet’s first party political ‘Podcast’ although that’s not what I’m looking for.
I’ll try and have the results up as quickly as I can, depending on how busy I am and how long it takes me to clean-up the audio quality and upload it to the web.
If they hadn’t changed their mind at the last minute, today, I might have been floating a “Vote Labour” banner over London. The party there could lose up to ten of the fifteen councils it controls as local government pundits predict a “meltdown” in support for the government on Thursday. Instead, Tony Blair will be joined by Gordon Brown and Ken Livingstone, on the campaign trail over the next two days to shore up support in London. No air support then unless they plan to spend £15,000 on a helicopter to get into the really tricky parts of the city that are off-limits to light aircraft.
Commenting on the media frenzy of the last week, David Aaronvitch comments in The Times:
"It is important to realise that stories are not the same thing as the truth. Modern media stories, with all their dramatic requirements, exclude far more that is important than they include, and are of limited use in making big decisions about how countries should be governed."
He concludes: "Now, you can argue that Labour may deserve to suffer in this way because of the party’s various media sins, not least in exploiting the anti-Major firestorm of 1996-97. But that doesn’t mean that we citizens deserve to suffer too. A mature democracy badly needs more than media frenzy. "