“UK poll results hope for Labour”

Say I just want the news. Just say. What do I get from this headline that’s been sitting on BBC world news website all night, and remains at the time of this posting?

I’m not going to regale you with the various forms that the BBC article on the local elections has taken through the night. After a long period of doing Labour’s damage limitation exercise for them (…not as bad as expected, holding up against the “Toriess” and the “Plaid”…) it’s taken a shape of more realism. But honestly, at no point was there not the situation that both Labour and the Lib Dems were losing numerically, while the Conservative Party were winning consistently. How we read the results is one thing. To turn them back to front a negation of the news.

Update 5.45 GMT

There’s a remarkable slant now to the BBC’s coverage. The main report now has as its first paragraph this:

“Tony Blair has insisted Labour has a “good springboard” to win the next general election, despite suffering big losses in Scotland, England and Wales.”

When the results show this:

“CON 839 4843 37 155

LAB -460 1736 -8 31

LD -246 1973 -5 22

OTH -129 1039 0 5

NOC – – -24 80″

Something amiss in the BBC’s intro (and headline, still)? Well, how about a wee mention for the only party listed in positive figures, whose figures are very positive? Why the focus on lame duck Blair? (clearing the decks for Gordon, perhaps, using the available scapegoat).

The first mention of the Conservatives is also unbelievably offhand and almost oblique:

“Mr Blair said the predicted “rout” had not happened, but Tory David Cameron called their results “stunning”.”

So, not even dignified by the term “leader”.

This has all the hallmarks of a mourning newsroom.

And that’s not bias, is it now?

Meanwhile, Iain Dale (and friends) reacts to the Beeb’s bias.

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90 Responses to “UK poll results hope for Labour”

  1. Oscar says:

    I woke up to hear all the weasel methods the BBC have developed to protect their favourites (Labour) and stick the boot into the Tories. Don’t report the results – but set fictitious expectations and then say the party is doing ‘well’ or ‘badly’ accordingly. So Labour hasn’t been ‘routed’ – hooray – altho’ if you read the polls in fact Labour are doing round about as badly as expected, given they more or less reached their bedrock last time around. They are doing just as badly as John Major before the 1997 election. When the headlines were – rout for Tories.

    As for the Tories – well they do the opposite. Tories didn’t gain Bury – catastrophe. And so somehow hundreds of gains gets translated into a ‘weak’ performance. The Tories ‘have to do so much better than this’. The gains in the Noth are less strong that the South. Oh per-lease. We all know that. How to lie to the country.


  2. Steve B says:

    Also have a look at this for the typical BBC view summed up in one post!



  3. Anon says:

    Has anyone got a record of how the BBC reported the terrible Conservative results of the 1990’s and early 2000’s? JH on the Today programme is giving Hazel Blears a relatively easy time and letting her claim the result is not as bad as expected. I am sure he was not as easy on Brian Mawhinney, Cecil Parkinson and Michael Ancram. Also was that a bit of sexual innuendo from Hazel Blears.


  4. Oscar says:

    Anon – I was just thinking the same thing. How did the BBC report the Tories results in the 1990s? From memory it was all doom and gloom – Tories wiped out – that sort of stuff. And Humphrys is giving Blears a much much easier ride than he gave George Osborne, who could hardly get a word out without Humphrys interrupting making out it was some kind of huge disappointment for the Tories.

    Steve B – BTW can’t get that link to work.


  5. Oscar says:

    Another trick to watch – the Today programme just brought in Andrew Neil to counterbalance Jackie Ashley – suggesting a left/right balance. But Andrew Neil is of course a BBC employee and is supposed to be impartial. In the event Neil was impeccably even handed and made some good points – like for instance the continuing failure of the LibDems. BUT it meant that Labour was represented in this debate, the Tories weren’t (nor for that matter were the LibDems) – plus a kind of underhand suggestion that Neil is partisan – of course he’s been known to support the Tories in the past. But we also all know that James Naughtie supports Labour, but would never be ‘outed’ by his colleagues in this way. As Neil was neutralised – it meant that the only party cheerleader in this debate was Jackie Ashley (the arch Brownite) for Labour.


  6. Umbongo says:

    Of course the BBC puts a favourable light on Labour not crashing in flames, that’s only to be expected. But the real news of the night is how badly the Tories did north of Birmingham. The BBC in bigging up its favourite parties missed the only outstandingly newsworthy item of the election: the possible reasons for the Conservative failure. Such an analysis could be interesting and enlightening but this is evidently beyond the capability of today’s (and “Today”‘s) BBC journalists.

    Osborne claiming a great victory and Blears claiming absence of a great defeat are as boring as they are predictable – and these interviews were conducted by the laughably named “Journalist of the Year”.

    So bias and crap journalism all in one – a new motto for the BBC.


  7. ben says:

    two from labans blog.

    don’t like the BBC coverage.

    iain dale
    “I cannot believe that the BBC is saying a 41% vote share for the Conservatives is slightly disappointing. Actually, I can.”


  8. Oscar says:

    Here’s one the Brown Broadcasting Corporation didn’t mention.
    Labour lost West Dunfermline to the LibDems – one in the eye for Gordon Brown.

    Umbongo – take note of this from Iain Dale’s blog:
    How John Reid and his ilk can sit there saying this isn’t anything but a good night for the Conservatives – projected 550 new councillors, 41% of the vote – is beyond me. Share of the vote transfered to a General Election – a Conservative majority of 96-100.


  9. The Fat Contractor says:

    Watching the results come in last night they were cheering the fact that somewhere ‘oop North’ there was a ward in which the Tory candidate polled zero votes? No evidence presented just the word of a Labour spokesman. Does anyone know if this is true, or even possible. Surely the guy had helpers in the ward to vote for him even if he didn’t vote himself?


  10. Jon says:

    Labour 27% and Conservatives 41% of the vote.And the Labour Party has less votes in Wales since 1918 – In Scotland so far they have lost 7 seats – but the BBC still spin the Labour line.


  11. Oscar says:

    Martin Kettle provides an antidote to the BBC’s exercise in damage limitation for Labour:

    Don’t kid yourself. It’s terrible for Labour
    The party is back to its bedrock vote today, and it’s hard to see them bouncing back.

    The truth, though, is that this has been a terrible election for Labour. There is no way that the support of 27% of the electorate – even if it creeps up to 28% or even a heady 29% by the time all the votes are counted – is anything other than lamentable. Labour is back at its bedrock vote today, much as it was in last year’s local elections. This is no a nice cosy midterm verdict of the sort that all governments experience. It is spectacular and, see 2006, sustained. There has been no pre-post-Blair bounce. There is no discernible spring in the Labour vote at the thought of Gordon Brown. I’m not certain there’s a bounce hiding out there anywhere for Labour. I think Labour is in very severe danger of being a political Leeds United.



  12. Bryan says:

    We all know that. How to lie to the country.
    Oscar | 04.05.07 – 7:19 am

    I’m approaching this issue from a standpoint of near-total ignorance and therefore have many questions, but here’s the main one:

    Since there seems to be no doubt that the BBC is going against its own charter and slyly backing its favourite horse, can its collective arse (the BBC’s, not that of the horse) be hauled up before a judge and charged with intentionally influencing the outcome of an election?

    And if not, why not?


  13. Jon says:

    “However, after a long and sometimes confusing night, the early indications suggested Tony Blair had been spared the political meltdown some in his party had feared – perhaps because his announcement he will be handing in his notice next week took some of the heat from the anti-Labour vote. ”

    “The Tories, meanwhile were also celebrating what they claimed was a clear sign of revival across the country”

    Labour 34.39%
    Conservative 41.93%

    Labour 43.210%
    Conservative 30.657%

    Conservatives 31.696%
    Labour 40.675%

    Conservatives 32.36%
    Labour 35.19%

    2007 Local Elections
    Labour 27%
    Conservatives 41%

    Labour are down to their core vote – but have been “spared the political meltdown”? The’ve gone from 43% of the vote in 1997 to 27%. What kind of spin is this?


  14. Oscar says:

    And if not, why not?
    Bryan | 04.05.07 – 11:59 am

    I’m sure John Reith will have a 1001 reasons why not – with his usual resourceful ability to spin for his company. But Jon’s numbers don’t lie. With figures like these how the BBC are managing (alongside known Labour supporting rags) to pretend Labour is ‘holding up’ and the Tories are deeply depressed at not achieving a ‘breakthrough’ that was actually never predicted, takes some serious bias.


  15. Umbongo says:


    I agree that 41% of the vote is very cheering for Cameron. But – as far as I can see (and I stand to be corrected on this) – this was a result of votes piling up south of Birmingham. At the general election enormous majorities in Tunbridge Wells will not compensate for failing to gain marginals in Bury. So, respectfully, I disagree with Iain Dale (who is, after all a prospective Tory candidate) that the 41% share necessarily translates into a parliamentary majority of the proportions he predicts simply because the increase in the Tory percentage of the vote is not spread in equal proportions over the UK.

    Back to the BBC: my point was that such an analysis (ie why the Tories failed to recover their strength in the North) is far more enlightening than bigging up the BBC’s client parties. The BBC line of “Thank God, it could have been worse” is – as I wrote earlier – both biased and crap journalism.


  16. Jon says:

    Shirley Bowes (Con) 0
    Amanda Marie Foster (BNP) 75
    Lucy Hovvels (Lab) 441”

    I think that Shirley Bowes should ask for a recount – to poll no votes at all means that she did not even vote for herself – also the people who had to sponser her to stand must not have voted for her either – I find this hard to beleive.

    But – It was not “doom and gloom” in the North east of England for Conservative supporters.

    “The Conservatives received positive news in the North-East last night as they made a handful of gains to hint at a mini-revival in the region.
    They took three seats in Sunderland to bolster their hopes of securing enough resources from party chiefs to fight for a general election gain in the city in future.
    And the party managed to oust Alnwick Council’s Liberal Democrat leader in her own seat.
    It will give heart to the Tories, whose impressive string of victories last year failed to mask the fact they were still struggling to make any headway in the North.”

    Don’t forget that the North East of England is staunch Labour – it has been said that you could stick a Labour rosette on a donkey and it would still win.


  17. Jon says:

    In 2003 local elections the Labour candidate for New Trimdon and Trimdon Grange was elected unaposed.

    “Lucy Hovvels LABOUR No contest Elected”



  18. Oscar says:

    Back to the BBC: my point was that such an analysis (ie why the Tories failed to recover their strength in the North) is far more enlightening than bigging up the BBC’s client parties.

    Fair point and one I totally agree with. I want to get decent analysis of what is happening – not spin. But following Jon’s comments apparently the Conservatives have (so far) won 100 seats in the North. Not as bad as BBC would have you believe – but not a ‘breakthrough’ either. Anyway I don’t want to sound like a politician (God forbid!) and am no expert anyway. The real point I was making is that this tactic – as Alan Duncan put it rather well on the Daily Politics – of setting ridiculously low expectations for Labour and impossibly high ones for the Tories and then shooting them down is as you put it “biased and crap journalism”. We all expect the pols to do it – they always do – the BBC isn’t supposed to play this game.


  19. Steve B says:

    Updated link from my post at top of thread: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/election07/wales/2007/05/a_warm_welcome.html


  20. Steve B says:

    Christ Haloscan is crap! It’s mangling the URL. Link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/election07/wales/2007/05/a_warm_welcome.html


  21. random says:


    “…how badly the Tories did north of Birmingham…”

    So taking control of councils they have [i]never[/i] held before is a bad result? Taking control of a council on which they had no representative on less than 10 years ago, another bad result? Having control of more councils in Northern England than Labour have, a bad result?

    You’ve been watching the BBC too much, I think!


  22. Umbongo says:




    Relative failure north of Birmingham then and still not enough to give them a majority in Parliament – unless it’s an English parliament.


  23. Biodegradable says:

    From Steve B’s link to the blog:

    The Welsh Assembly has its first AM from an ethnic minority. Welcome to Mohammed Asghar AM.

    … Mohammed Asghar for Plaid Cymru in South Wales East…

    What’s that all about?

    A Welsh speaking, Welsh Nationalist Muslim?

    Whatever next!


  24. Biodegradable says:

    First ethnic minority AM elected

    Mr Asghar said it would be his “great pleasure” to serve in the assembly.

    “I’m very excited and I don’t know what to say.

    “I will be serving with my heart and soul for the ethnic minorities which are an integral part of the United Kingdom and Wales.”

    What about serving the Welsh?

    His interests include athletics and badminton, and he is also a keen cricket fan. Mr Asghar also holds a pilot’s licence and enjoys flying.


    Edited By Siteowner


  25. Big Englander says:

    The overwhelming tone of BBC election coverage is to question all the party representatives from the standpoint that their party has underachieved and failed.

    This is in line with the overall BBC weltanschauung that all politicians are the lowest of the low, far behind the elevated species that is the BBC political journalist.


  26. Block 813 says:

    “far behind the elevated species that is the BBC political journalist”

    Which is of course highly ironic, as in poll after poll, “journalists” regularly come way down the list…at the very bottom I believe.

    Funny how the Beeboids think they are themselves, great…yet everyone else sees them as slime, lower even than politicians like Blair and Bush……..lol.


  27. Fran says:


    I enjoy your contributions, and am usually with you all the way, but the comment on Mohammad Asghar, especially the last bit, is below the belt.


  28. Biodegradable says:


    You’re probably right about my last comment. Perhaps instead I should have pointed to the photo of him and wondered if his interest in athletics and badminton was limited to spectating.

    However I’m puzzled by a (I asume him to be) Muslim winning a seat for the Welsh Nationalist party and then promising to serve the interests of “ethnic minorities” in Wales.


  29. BaggieJonathan says:

    I’m afraid I have to say to an extent at least I ‘understand’ the IBC’s problems.

    Their favoured parties the libdems and norespect had poor nights so they look elsewhere to support their views.

    Clearly it was a good though not great night for the nationalists, but the IBC is weary of this as they worry for their institution if Scotland and Wales broke from the union.

    It was a good night for the conservative and the IBC should recognise it, but it really was not a great night and it was not a breakthrough.
    What’s more it has been achieved to a significant degree by spin and lack of policies in a quite shocking impersonation of new labour.

    Labour had to poll way ahead of the conservatives sustained for years before their breakthrough, I still wonder about the conservative ‘surge’.

    This situation seems more like 1990 to me all the time, for Brown read Major.
    Then it took labour seven more years and more radical internal change of personnel, presentation and policy to get in.
    Lets hope it doesnt take seven years to get rid of brownstuff.
    The more I look at it the more call me dave seems like kinnock not blair.

    Finally the IBC is to an extent limited, they cant use the election to browbeat Blair because he is going any way and very shortly so they struggle to know how to handle it.

    I have to say its a lot more cock up than conspiracy in their poor reporting of the elections, but boy is it a cockup!


  30. Bryan says:


    What with the murder and mayhem and misery that Islamic terror has brought to this planet over the past decades and longer, Muslims should be big enough to accept that occasionally people need to let off steam and speculate negatively about Muslim pilots.

    I’m with Biodegradable on this one – especially the point about serving the ethnic minorities. It seems that while the PC crowd around Asghar are prepared to welcome him to their bosom, his first instinct is to draw away from them and back to his roots. And isn’t it his job to serve everyone in his constituency? We’re in danger of taking PC to a level where we become completely self-effacing, whereas I see no evidence of the same PC concerns among Muslims themselves.

    There’s a lesson to be learned here. The multiculti, diversity-celebrating crew always take the line of least resistance. People are divided? OK, let’s unite them in diversity! People are unequal? Well, let’s make them equal. I’d like to explain to Chris Myant, of the Commission for Racial Equality in Wales, that there are people who don’t want to be united and equal and there are others who are not able to be united and equal and you can’t force-feed them unity and equality.

    Actually, I’d like to explain that to the BBC as well but that would be one helluvah job.


  31. BaggieJonathan says:

    Need to be careful about the welsh speaking angle, a lot of people take a very english view without knowing some of the facts.

    Does Ashgar actually speak welsh?
    I’m not certain.
    Contrary to a lot of poular opinion it is not compulsory for nationalists to speak welsh.
    The party is called ‘Plaid Cymru’ but is often referred to by themselves at least in the english form ‘the party of Wales’.

    I think the percentage achieved by Plaid Cymru this time is actually higher than the percentage of first language welsh speakers in Wales.
    Given that plenty of welsh speakers vote for other parties you must conclude that a significant number of english speakers voted for Plaid Cymru.


  32. David Preiser says:

    As there is no current Open Thread going, I thought I’d mention this here, since it’s relevant to election spin on the BBC. It concerns what seems like an attempt to drum up some last minute support for Segolene Royal. The lead story on the international version of the site is (and is thus intended for readers who just might live in France, or be eligible ex-pat voters):


    Even though the anonymous writer is forced to admit that Sarkozy is firmly in the lead, the article still tries to prop up Royal. Sarko must be defeated, of course, because he’s not a Socialist, and has not publicly declared during the campaign that he will give the US the cold shoulder if elected, as Royal has done.

    Why else would the article mention Royal’s rather disgusting statement that serious violence would erupt if Sarko is elected, and then portray Sarko himself as simply smug about the whole thing.? No statement available from anyone in all of France who might think that was, at least, inappropriate?

    Why else would the BBC also publish Royal’s quote that,

    “There is therefore still hope for those you think that it is all still to play for.”

    rather than focusing on the standard “you can’t trust the polls” politician’s response when they’re behind in the numbers? No, they can’t leave it at that; it’s a rallying cry to get the vote out for her.

    Why else mention that Bayrou won’t vote for Sarko? Would he vote for Royal? Apparently that isn’t important.

    And, of course, the reader gets treated to one more chorus of Nanny Royal’s dream of “a protecting France, a fraternal France, a competitive France”. And a balancing quote from Sarko would be….? None, as the vicious bastard hasn’t lost his momentum in the polls.

    No need to ask if there’s a bit in the BBC’s charter that permits meddling in foreign elections. Well, at least they didn’t pull a Grauniad letter-writing stunt.


  33. David Preiser says:


    You’re right, of course. But Ashgar has pretty much stated his belief that he was elected to represent only ethnic minorities. If his constituency is made of a majority of members of the ROP, and he works for them and ignores the rest, would that be acceptable behavior for anyone else? If he works for them but refuses to be an advocate for constituents who are not ethnic minorities, that is probably grounds for removal.

    I’m sure you’d agree that if a Tory ever made a similar statement about whom he was elected to represent, heads would roll.


  34. Biodegradable says:


    I take your point about Welsh speaking, however, my, and Bryan’s point stand. This guy’s first declaration as member for the “party of Wales” was to pledge to serve “ethnic minorities”.

    “Trojan Horse” comes to mind.

    I’ve commented before how I pass through Cardiff once a year and am always stunned by the number of Muslims I see on the streets.

    I always stay in a small place far from the big cities in South Wales. Last year, as always, I got a taxi from the small railway station to the even smaller hotel. With absolutely no prompting from me the cab driver, a woman, launched into a monologue about the number of Muslims that had moved into the town, how she refuses to pick up male Muslims because they’ve attempted to rape her on more than one occasion, and her opposition for plans to build a mosque in the town.

    I can only assume that Mr. Mohammed Asghar’s election victory was due to an overwhelming “ethnic” vote in his district.


  35. rocket-dog says:

    Why was John Sopel shaking his head when
    he was talking “Tory gains…” on the one o’clock news?


  36. Socialism is Necrotizing says:

    Is it too painful to say the Tories did well?

    Last night I said that it looked like being a mediocre result for David Cameron, well it looks like it was substantially better than that. The Tories have quietly rattled up 875 gains, far more than the 600 or so that they were expected to get. So the Tories must be considered, alongside the SNP, as the big winners. But you wouldn’t know that from listening and watching the Beeb today, who have diverted their eyes from anything as distasteful as a Tory triumph.
    This isn’t the first time the BBC has downplayed Tory local election success. They did exactly the same in 2003 when Crispin Blunt resigned straight after the polls had closed. Their coverage then virtually ignored the fact the Tories had actually made 565 gains to concentrate on their pre-cooked narrative that Iain Duncan-Smith would be forced out.
    This isn’t the product of conscious bias but the institutional mindset of the BBC. There was a classic example of this on the Today programme the other morning in an item about the Guardian’s series of 15 great speeches. The presenter started off by questioning Margaret Thatcher’s inclusion in the list, a woman who–whatever you think of her–won 3 elections and transformed the country, on the grounds that she wasn’t historically significant enough. He then pivoted to asking why Neil Kinnock—two elections as leader of the opposition, two defeats—wasn’t included. It was beyond parody, but the saddest thing is that they don’t even realise that they’re doing it.



  37. Lee Moore says:

    I’m not sure I agree with BaggieJonathan about it being a poor night for the BBC’s favourite party, the LibDems. OK they lost a lot of seats, but that’s presumably because last time they did very well. If the BBC’s projection of the national vote is right, they were scoring 26%, only 1% behind Labour. And they won more council seats than Labour. In fact the BBC’s projected national vote share is pretty much identical to the 1983 general election – the year Libs/SDP just failed to beat Labour into third place and their finest hour at a general election. I think they did pretty well, considering, and I’m surprised the BBC were so negative about their performance. For any sensible person the LibDems doing well is a disturbing sign that one’s fellow countrymen are more into glue sniffing that could ideally be wished, but it should not be pretended that a 26% share of the vote for what is still, essentially, a pantomime, is a poor performance.

    Anyway, enough of this tosh. It’s a local election and it means the square root of diddley-squat as a prediction of the next general election.


  38. Jon says:

    Lead story on the Scotland Page
    “SNP pips Labour in Holyrood vote”

    Lead story on the Wales Page.
    “Labour may ask members about deal”

    NOT the lead story on the England Page
    “Conservatives hail election gains”


  39. Jon says:

    Who are the winners and losers?

    “They [Conservatives] did well in the south and, while they failed to take some northern areas such as Bury, which they had hoped to seize, they did claim to have gained 100 councillors in the north and, equally encouraging for them, more in the Midlands and Wales. ”

    “So he can feel satisfied the Conservatives appear to have been the overall winners and will be able to claim to have provided the foundations for a genuine revival.”

    “His task now will be to flesh out the party’s policies and continue improving its performance, which will become more difficult once he faces a new Labour leader, rather than one heading for the exit.”

    This is Nick Assinder analysis of the elections – but what is all these “claims to have”, “appear to have”. Can this bloke not count – or is he trying to put a doubt in peoples minds that the “claims” are debatable? There is no debate about the numbers – if Nick Assinder is “not certain” about the numbers why does he not find out from his friends in the who work in the same place.

    “In Election Night (3 May, BBC One and BBC News 24, 11.35pm to 6am), David Dimbleby leads the BBC team reporting live as the results come in with instant reaction from the winners and losers.
    Jeremy Vine conducts the virtual reality graphics, Nick Robinson and Jenny Scott will bring expert insight into what the results mean for the country and analysis of the results with heavyweight guests from all parties.”


  40. Jon says:

    “The SNP has surged to historic victory over Labour and become the Scottish Parliament’s largest party on a gloomy final election day for Tony Blair. ”

    “The polls have been hit by major problems with seven counts suspended and up to 100,000 ballot papers spoilt.”

    Contrast 2001 Florida

    “Doubts remain about Florida vote

    African Americans are convinced that, had all their votes been counted in Florida, Al Gore would have won the state and with it the presidency.

    They point to decrepit counting machines that tossed out thousands of votes uncounted. The machines are in predominantly black voting precincts.”


  41. Jon says:

    A postscript to the above:

    “In many areas, there were problems with electronic counting machinery being used for the first time.”



  42. Mark says:

    One reason for the failure of Conservatives to win a single seat in Manchester has not been highlighted.

    The city cannot be said to have any middle-class suburbs apart from Didsbury within its boundaries (unchanged since 1951), whereas Leeds and Bradford had been expanded to include more of a suburban hinterland, hence more of a Tory presence.

    Many residents of suburbs such as Heald Green, Sale, Whitefield and Gatley recently resisted plans to force them into Manchester, such was their contempt for the city’s politics.

    Most of the natural Conservative voters, fed up a one-party council with local tax and loony Left government in the 80s and 90s, upped sticks to move out to Trafford and Cheshire.

    Their place was taken by more natural metro-Lib-Lab voters. Other cities in the North have shown similar ‘Tory flight’.

    Interestingly enough, other classic Labour areas with a similar social mix to Manchester, like Wigan and Salford do now have a modest Conservative presence on the councils (10 in Salford, I believe).

    Another problem for the Tories is that voters in areas like Oldham and Rochdale now vote LibDem to keep Labour out, thus being caught in a squeeze.


  43. Cleanthes says:


    I have had to capture the screenshots as I don’t think anyone would be believe it otherwise.

    See if you can find the following rather excellent quote: “There are now very large sections of the UK that don’t have a single Labour councillor.”

    Good luck…


  44. Lee Moore says:

    Newsnight on the elections lived up to all of our expectations. First, from Scotland, we had a graphic (a bar chart) of the number of seats for each party, with the tallest bar on the right with the number of seats marked (SNP 47) and then tailing off to the left, we had smaller bars, in order. Labour 46, Liberals 16, Conservatives 17, Others 3. Eh ? And yes the Conservative bar was smaller than the LibDem one ! Then we had a session discussing the results and coalition prospects with a spokesman from each of the main parties. ie SNP, Labour and LibDems.

    And then we moved on to England. Special report from Brighton where the Tories…failed to win. And then we had another studio discussion with a representative of each of the main parties – New Labour, Tories and Lib Dems…and, by video link, Old Labour (Michael Meacher.)

    Overall time – maybe 40% on Scotland, 10% on Wales, 20% on England, and 30% on Gordon’s prospects.

    All beautifully orchestrated by the gorgeous pouting Kirsty.


  45. Biodegradable says:

    Contrary to a lot of poular opinion it is not compulsory for nationalists to speak welsh.
    The party is called ‘Plaid Cymru’ but is often referred to by themselves at least in the english form ‘the party of Wales’.

    BaggieJonathan | 04.05.07 – 8:02 pm

    What we want
    A Bilingual Wales
    The Welsh Language

    The Welsh language belongs to everyone in Wales, it is a crucial part of our identity as a nation and it is also a national treasure which needs to be safeguarded and promoted. We need to make it easier for the majority who cannot speak Welsh to use and learn the language. Languages do not live or die of their own accord, but due to a complex comibination of social, educational, economic and political factors. The most crucial factor of these which enables the language to prosper is the political factor. We therefore need a new Welsh Language Act which will give the Welsh language full offical status so that it is completely equal to the English language in Wales, and incorporates the linguistic rights of Welsh speakers.


    What we want
    Plaid Cymru’s aims are:

    *To promote the constitutional advancement of Wales with a view to attaining Full National Status for Wales within the European Union.

    *To ensure economic prosperity, social justice and the health of the natural environment, based on decentralist socialism.

    *To build a national community based on equal citizenship, respect for different traditions and cultures and the equal worth of all individuals, whatever their race, nationality, gender, colour, creed, sexuality, age, ability or social background.

    *To create a bilingual society by promoting the revival of the Welsh language.

    *To promote Wales’s contribution to the global community and to attain membership of the United Nations.


  46. Anon says:

    Cleanthes, thanks for finding those historical pages. I am a long time Radio 4 listener with great loyalty, albeit sorely tested, to The Today Programme amongst others, the last few mornings may have been the final straw: ridiculously biased coverage of the elections as covered here so well, the coverage of Olmert’s problems in Israel as the lead item in some bulletins apparently just so the BBC can justify their anti-Israel stance and finally all the coverage of the BBC reconciliation programme with the self confessed IRA murderer on Sunday morning. The BBC have moved beyond parody and I have turned my radio off. I have started and stopped a blog before but am determined to put my anger into words and to start publishing – and so the BBC push someone else away, not that I’ll be missed as I am white, male, middle-class, hard working, married, have a hard working wife, have no children, live in a London suburb, am Jewish (by birth), take long hall flights when going on holiday…..


  47. Oscar says:

    The BBC have moved beyond parody and I have turned my radio off. I have started and stopped a blog before but am determined to put my anger into words and to start publishing – and so the BBC push someone else away

    Welcome to the club Anon.


  48. Oscar says:

    It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Today programme gave us wall to wall coverage of Scotland this morning. Absolutely nothing on the Conservatives and England.


  49. BaggieJonathan says:


    “To create a bilingual society by promoting the revival of the Welsh language.”

    Exactly my point, bilingual does not mean it is only a welsh language party.

    For the record I do not support plaid cymru, I live in England and I am from mixed welsh and english blood.
    I speak some welsh but only to the level that most english people speak french.

    I have no axe to gring for them, I was just pointing out common misconceptions.

    We do not have this type of misconception re scottish or even irish nationalists.