A few days ago The Daily Telegraph sank to a new low in its coverage of UKIP. Of course it seems hardly possible that the circulation losing Telegraph could sink even lower in its coverage of UKIP. After all their hacks, no doubt under instructions from Tory HQ, have been merrily dumping on the party since early 2013 when Diane James nearly won the Eastleigh by election for UKIP and knocked a Cameron cutie into third place
Publicly dismissing Eastleigh as a blip, in private the editorial team reached out to Tory high command and offered to headline any item that appeared to show Nigel Farage and UKIP in a negative way supplied to them by Tory staff – be it true, half true or simply inadvertent. The Telegraph (and the Mail) gleefully went to work in the weeks leading up to the 2013 local elections.
UKIP won more council seats than they had ever won before.
Nevertheless during subsequent by elections, local elections and Euro elections the anti UKIP drumbeat continued – and the party continued to prosper both at the ballot box and the polls.
Finally the bright young things in the Telegraph officers mess have begun to grasp that their two year offensive has been a dismal failure and they have admitted such in a recent, rather pathetic cri de Coeur
If Labour’s performance in the long general election campaign has thus far been so risible, why do the polls remain so close? For the simple, frustrating reason that the British centre-Right is split. While Labour is stuck at around 30 per cent of the prospective vote, the Tories fail to build up a comparative advantage because so much of their support is sapped away by the Ukip revolt. Yet Ukip’s supporters ought to consider the warnings of businessmen and think carefully about the consequences of dividing the centre-Right and letting Labour back into power by default. Labour is anti-capitalist at a time when the country desperately needs innovation and enterprise. Its accidental victory could indeed be a “catastrophe” for Britain.
Yes folks, it’s the familiar Vote UKIP Get Miliband Ploy – the old ones are the best ones, after all.…
Ignoring for the moment the assumption that UKIP supporters are fans of big business, multi nationals and corporate tax avoidance let’s just ask ourselves why the Telegraph failed to answer the obvious question – why is so much Tory support “sapped away” by the UKIP revolt – and why, instead of burying their heads deep into Cameron’s posterior for two years hasn’t the Telegraph given some attention to analysing this phenomenon and made a serious and sympathetic attempt to understand it rather than encouraging the sneering, dismissive put downs peddled on an almost daily basis by their political hacks.
The answer, I fear, is that the Telegraph, like much of the metropolitan media, is targeting Richard Curtis Land, those parts of London where the bright young things supposedly chatter at dinner parties and network about servants, food, fashion and culture and where the Tesco shelf fillers, taxi drivers and hairdressers are peripheral to the action, like the sentries or country yokels in a Shakespeare play.
Trouble is that the Richard Curtis strategy isn’t working. The Telegraph is remorselessly losing circulation, alienating much of its old core readership without gaining the “bright young things” while UKIP is gaining support from those very “peripherals” who feel they have been left behind.
Sad for it was once a great paper…