I’ve temporarily misplaced the TV remote for the flat where I’m staying this Conference, so can’t switch over from Sky News. And goodness me, what a load of self-promoting wank you get when one outpost of Murdoch’s empire reports ‘news’ created by another.
The theme I have seen coming up again and again at this Conference has been the changing relationship between politics, the media and the public. We all know how much more effective it is for voters to have direct and unfiltered access to their elected representatives through blogs and Twitter and Facebook. We all know how rapidly the readership of every newspaper, including the Sun, has declined in recent years. We all know that newspapers cannot influence the voters’ choice in the same way now that they could when the Sun backed Blair.
If the Sun really believed in David Cameron’s Conservatives, they would have waited until their Conference, and written about the policies Cameron will announce and the atmosphere of the Conservative Party. But they didn’t.
If the Sun’s editors and owners genuinely believed it was possible for them to influence the outcome of a general election, they would have waited until the election was called, and urged their readers to support the Conservatives then. But they didn’t.
The media editor of the FT has suggested that the Sun’s timing indicates more about their desire to damage the Prime Minister than about any desire to encourage Sun readers to vote Conservative. He’s absolutely right. It’s a desperate attempt by a declining media empire to get some attention by trying to stir up controversy, and I don’t think anyone will be convinced.