Longer than usual blog today, most of it not written by me. You’ll have to wait a bit for the point, but with thanks to the Labour Party’s media monitoring department, I want to begin with an account of what appeared on the main news programmes this morning.

Today Programme

1. The US enquiry into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has blamed cost cutting & management failures by BP & other companies & warns that similar disaster cld happen in the future.

2. Concerns about how Britain wld respond to a major oil spill in the North Sea have been raised by a rpt by MPs

3. The chief executive of NI water Laurence McKenzie has confirmed he is standing down

4. New research has suggested that average pay rises will be below the level of inflation

5. An FOI request by Today has shown that a British businessman has been supplying a prison in Arizona with three drugs used in executions by lethal injection

6. New figures show that one in ten secondary schools in England has become an Academy

7. Shelter says there has been a sharp rise in the number of people using credit cards to pay their mortgage or rent

8. England’s cricketers are in a commanding postn on the fourth day of the final Ashes test in Sydney


1. The flu outbreak – have children been put at risk unnecessarily?

2. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a result of systemic management failures & cld happen again according to a rpt from US presidential panel

3. It’s been confirmed the chief exec of NI water has resigned after thousands of homes were left without water over Xmas

4. Beckham cld be just days away from joining Tottenham Hotspur

5. Eastenders star Samantha Womack has quit the programme

6. Number of people resorting to using a credit card to pay their mortgage or rent has soared by 50% in a yr


1. A damning rpt in to the BP oil spill – a presidential commission blames cost cutting & bad management

2. Flu fears, new figures to reveal the extent of the outbreak amid warnings some doctors are running out of vaccine

3. The chief exec of NI Water has resigned

4. It’s claimed nearly 29,000 prison inmates including 6,000 who are serving sentences for violence will be given the right to vote under govt plans

5. Thunder storms are hampering relief efforts in the flooded areas of North East Australia

6. Michael Jackson’s bodyguard has described the scene of the singer’s death to an LA court

7. EM is insisting his party is not solely to blame for the country’s current debt burden following it’s time in govt

8. A doctor who warned parents the MMR job cld cause autism has been accused of fraud

9. The tribunal for three Pakistani cricketers accused of spot fixing is due to begin today

10. New research suggests millions of people are having to use a credit card to keep up with their rent or mortgage repayments

11. Passengers onboard a Turkish Airlines flight have overpowered a wld be hijacker as the plane landed at Istanbul

12. A man who almost became a victim of car crime had a lucky escape when a real life superhero stepped in to help

You can see how much easier it is to read the news than see and/or listen to it. I was out on the bike as it happens.

But, if I may revert to one of the themes I pursued during the election … if Labour were the Tories, and the Tories Labour, I think there might have been some change to the running order.

Yesterday it emerged that the News of the World news editor had been suspended over phone-hacking allegations. This would appear to blow a significant hole in News Corp’s continued claims that the phone-hacking was all the work of a lone rogue reporter and a private detective. According to the Financial Times ‘Downing Street said Andy Coulson had nothing further to say on the matter.’

Mr Coulson is the PM’s director of comms. As the broadcast media happily goes along with this ‘nothing more to say’ approach, and decides to say next to nothing itself, I cannot resist allowing myself a little indulgence, and wondering what our frank and fearless lobby would have done had this been a Labour director of comms such as, oh I don’t know, someone.

Second observation – Ed Miliband has an interesting piece in The Times today, continuing the debate over recent economic history. It takes the Tories to task for the deceits they have been peddling about the reasons for the cuts and reforms they are making. With the economy always central to political debate, and normal politics resuming after the holiday period, it is an important part of that debate.

When he was leader of the Opposition, David Cameron had little trouble getting broadcasters interested in lines and arguments far less important or interesting than the one in the Times. Yet you will see from the running order above that for the Beeb and ITV, it was of no interest, and for Sky it came in sixth.

All Labour can do in these circumstances is keep going with the argument, and eventually it will be heard. For those who don’t get The Times, here is the media monitoring account of Ed’s article.

‘Deceit about the past endangers our future’ (Ti op-ed) – Ed Miliband says the Tories’ diagnosis of what caused the deficit is wrong – and their cure is reckless too. A bigger debate has begun over whether the govt’s approach is the right way to support jobs & get back to strong growth. Cameron & Osborne are making the wrong judgments about our economy. In their politically motivated desire to propagate a myth about the last Labour Government, they are ignoring the real lessons of the global financial crisis. Miliband says the great deceit designed to damage Labour has led to profoundly misguided & dangerous economic decns that will cause deep damage to Britain’s future. The deceit is that the deficit was caused by chronic overspending rather than a global financial crisis that resulted in recession & a calamitous collapse in tax revenues. Their deceit seeks to rewrite history, airbrushing out the fact that Britain’s debt at the outset of this crisis was the second-lowest in the G7; lower than it was under the Tories in 1997. And it forgets that neither of the two parties now in government called for lower spending at the time. It is this deceit about the past that leads Cameron & Osborne to make the wrong judgments now. The real debate is not about whether or not to cut the deficit. Where we differ is how that is best done in the world as we find it, not as we would like it to be. Labour recognise that no other developed country is taking such an extreme approach. That is why we say Osborne is going too far & too fast on the deficit. This is not a political slogan, it is our economic judgment. Osborne’s failure to have any credible growth strategy means that we will not address the real lesson of the crisis: that we were too reliant on financial services and did not have a broad enough industrial base. His approach risks prolonged unemployment, wasting the talents of future generations, while a strategy based on VAT risks stoking inflation, especially when oil prices are high. For all the political noise, these differences of judgment are at the heart of the real choice Britain faces. It is not true we oppose every cut. Labour is clear that spending is not the answer to every problem. But neither is it true that Labour is to blame for the deficit or that the deficit-reduction programme being pursued by this Government is necessary and fair. Because this Conservative-led Government is trying to deceive people about the past, it is making the wrong judgments about the future. By misleading, Cameron & Osborne are leading our country in the wrong direction.