UK Liberty

Flash in the pan

Posted in politicians on liberty by ukliberty on June 18, 2008

The Guardian:

The Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie is now not expected to stand against David Davis in next month’s byelection over the issue of 42-day terror suspect detention, with News International executives understood to be wary of such a move.

MacKenzie’s revelation late on Thursday night that he had discussed standing in the byelection with Rupert Murdoch prompted a flurry of media coverage at the end of last week about a possible contest between the Conservative candidate Davis and the former Sun editor in the forthcoming Haltemprice and Howden byelection.

However, executives at the Sun, which MacKenzie originally said might back his candidacy, and its owner, News International, are understood to have cooled on the idea and sources said it is unlikely to proceed.

Maybe not only because they don’t want to annoy the Tories but also because the media has not gauged the public mood on Davis’s stand and are now backtracking:

I’ll give them their due: the entire British media may have utterly misjudged the significance and impact of David Davis’s shock resignation last Thursday, but they’re revising and reversing today for all they’re worth. Which, given the astonishing lack of insight displayed by apparent political insiders over this past few days, might not be much.

The Indy now realises that DD has captured the public’s imagination, the Times’s William Rees Mogg admits his own failure to grasp the strength of public feeling and here at the Guardian, Jackie Ashley figures out what Cif’s punters knew within moments of Davis’s announcement – that Davis’s main goal may well be to entrench Conservative support for civil liberties, directly confronting the kind of focus-group friendly policies favoured by the other Dave. …

OK, I’ve had my fun, I’ve blown my own trumpet (14 minutes? Well yeah, but I only heard the news at 10 past…), but does this matter? You bet. If the fourth estate can’t mediate between the political class and the public, then what’s the damn point of it? If the press cannot siphon off rage or see an unmet requirement, if it can’t act as the go-between, then the disconnect between people and politicians that we all recognise can only spiral further out of control.


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