Jonathan Fryer

We Don’t Need US-style Smears in Britain

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 22nd April, 2010

When Tony Blair was Prime Minister and Alastair Campbell his media advisor, British politics became familiar with US-style ‘spin’: presenting a story in such a way that made it favourable to the government. The climate of New Labour spin led to government advisor Jo Moore’s notorious email after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington declaring that ‘this would be a good day to bury bad news’. The then Conservative Party Chairman, David Davis, rightly protested at the tastelessness of that and called for an official investigation. So it is depressing that some Conservative Party advisors have borrowed another distasteful American political tactic in order to try to win the current British general election: the use of smear against opponents. We saw how the Republican party and its tame media in the US smeared Barack Obama, questioning whether he was really US-born, likening him to both Nazis and Communists, questioning his Christian faith etc. And alas we are now witnessing parts of the Conservative Press in Britain, notably the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph (which ought to know better) adopting similar methods in their smear campaign against Nick Clegg. Be in no doubt: this was a contingency plan, not a knee-jerk reaction, and some Tory party advisors have similar ‘bombshells’ up their sleeve for use during the campaign. When David Cameron appears on the second leaders’ debate tonight, he should disassociate himself from all this. We don’t want US-style smearing in Britsh politics and the media. It isn’t British and it will deeply damage the Conservative Party if the Tories are seen to be tolerating or even encouraging it.

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2 Responses to “We Don’t Need US-style Smears in Britain”

  1. Quite – today’s attacks really are a desperate attempt to claw at Nick’s rising popularity, and you rightly label them as smears. My worry, however, is that with millions of people reading the publications in question, it doesn’t really matter how unfounded or how distasteful the smear campaign is, it can nonetheless be very effective.

    My concern is that in creating an impression of impropriety on Nick’s part, the Mail and Telegraph are seeding enough doubt in voters’ minds that Clegg and the Lib Dems represent a different way of doing politics – and so yes you and I may be able to be a little objective and see through the spin and smear, but will the readership of the Mail and Telegraph do so too…?

  2. Adrian Wainer said

    As far as I am aware, President Barack Hussein Obama II has never been seriously confronted by the mainstream US media, as to what he was doing in the Reverend Wright’s Church for some twenty years, in respect that President Obama asserts he ( that is President Obama himself ) supports liberal democratic values.

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