back to article Facebook echo chamber: Or, the British media and the election

Given that the election results are nearly all in it's going to be some few femtoseconds before Guardian writer Polly Toynbee starts claiming that it's the right wing media that woefully misinformed the British public and that's why the forces of all that's good and proper didn't win. Given that that's not actually how the …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So this article is basically saying the traditional print media in this country is crap?

      As long as it's run by Slimeball Murdoch's Propaganda Indoctrination Corp News Corp, that will always be the case.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: So this article is basically saying the traditional print media in this country is crap?

        That doesn't really explain the graun though. Or the independent. Or the... well you get the idea. Most media in this country isn't run by Murdoch and still somehow manages to be a complete shower.

        1. Vimes

          Re: So this article is basically saying the traditional print media in this country is crap?

          Isn't the independent owned by a Russian oligarch? Cameron isn't relying on non-doms for support surely?

        2. Cari

          Re: So this article is basically saying the traditional print media in this country is crap?

          "That doesn't explain..."

          That's because they all have audiences to pander to, audiences of people seeking to have their views and beliefs validated.

          You're not going to get decent reporting when publication of choice gets most of its income from outrage porn, poorly researched articles that confirm the biases of its readership, and frequently slings mud at the other team. Even less so when the people in the publication's employ also try to use their position as a platform for their ideologies and step away from writing in the public interest.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: So this article is basically saying the traditional print media in this country is crap?

        So that explains Fox News then? Ok... all's well... err....

    2. Vimes

      ...or the parties themselves are crap.

      One side likes to spend too much and doesn't know when to stop (but tries to pretend it does whilst ignoring the bills pouring through the letterbox) whilst the other prefers to hack away at the public finances with all the appearance of glee and a maniacal laugh (until voters realise what a mistake they made and that side have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the bloody corpse of what used to be the public sector).

      Oh, and of course there's a 3rd side too, but they don't really count as they'll just end up supporting one of the two others.

      And they all want to sacrifice our freedoms (even the lib dems - just look at how they voted on DRIPA).

      They're all as bad as each other - just in different ways.

      1. Francis Fish

        Spend too much - you must be a Tory press reader.

        "Spend too much" - no they didn't. That's part of the problem. The Tories created a narrative that blames Labour for the crisis and paints them as the saviours of the economy - when it was an international phenomenon and their stupid austerity policies killed the recovery. When they took over things weren't that bad - then we had dingbat austerity killing the recovery based on the now disproved theories of one (yeah, one) academic who cooked his figures.

        Labour thought we were all too thick to understand the counter argument so didn't even try. Her majesty's opposition sat there like the bunch of steaming puddings they are. All because they thought we couldn't grasp the very simple argument that a country's finances aren't managed the same way you would manage a household budget.

        By the way - I hate Labour and am not defending them from partisanship, just from the facts.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/opinion/paul-krugman-triumph-of-the-unthinking.html?smid=tw-share

    3. Van

      No, it's saying the Daily Mail is worse than The Sun. A fashionable statement.

      The media is mostly Narcissists who try to run the country. We should never pick and chose between them.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    >What in buggery do we do with a country that naturally produces Daily Mail readers? Nuke it from orbit?

    Well, if you are going to take that option, then you have nothing to lose by trying some slightly less drastic ideas first. Um.... widespread dispersion of LSD and MDMA? If this experiemht fails, then drop the bomb and sterilise the Petri dish.

    But serioulsy, compare the attitude of the Red Tops in the 1980s to today.... they no longer pick on homosexuals, trade unionists, commies, blacks or whoever in the way they did then. Its true that anti-immigrant rhetoric is on the rise - in pubs, just as it is mirrored in the papers - but that appears linked to people not feeling well off.

    Basically, if people feel happy and hopeful they are nicer to each other. If people feel naffed off and oppressed, they want someone to blame.

    1. PrivateCitizen

      "widespread dispersion of LSD and MDMA?"

      The will either cause cancer or cure it depending on the random Daily Mail headline generator.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The will either cause cancer or cure it depending on the random Daily Mail headline generator."

        I thought it was the Daily Mail headlines that did that themselves?

        Oh, this is an article about cause and effect, isn't it ....

        Shame Al Murray didn't win the seat though, he could've had fun with newspaper headlines :)

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "widespread dispersion of LSD and MDMA?"

        I have flashbacks to "Barefoot in the Head"

  3. Vimes

    Tell that to the Telegraph. They were sending out emails beforehand to subscribers begging them to vote conservative. And as for the Murdoch owned papers... nothing needs to be said really.

    The email in question:

    Subject: The Daily Telegraph urges its readers to vote Conservative

    Body:

    From the Editor of The Daily Telegraph

    111 Buckingham Palace Road,

    London SW1W 0DT

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    Dear Reader

    As the country goes to the polls, I am taking the unprecedented step of sending you The Telegraph's leading article.

    That's because we view this general election as the most important since 1979.

    It marks a watershed moment: do we continue under the Conservatives with the open, enterprise-led economic approach that has underpinned our prosperity for nearly 40 years?

    Or do we revert to an old-style, “government-knows-best” culture championed by the most Left-wing Labour leader for a generation?

    All the frenzied talk about a hung parliament and the surge of the SNP is a distraction because in the end, the choice is straightforward: do we want Mr Cameron to continue in Number 10 or to see Ed Miliband installed as prime minister?

    The Daily Telegraph urges its readers to vote Conservative.

    Yours

    Chris Evans

    Editor

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Did you read the article in the Grauniad about it? The comments were hilarious. They couldn't see the irony of complaining about a newspaper asking people to vote one way, while on the front page there was a "Please vote Labour" leader.

      1. Vimes

        I know that to expect this not to happen is naive, but nevertheless I can't shake the impression that any journalist that does more than report the news is getting ideas above their station - regardless of who it is they're trying to support.

        1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          The traditional view was that people got their information from TV/radio and their opinions from newspapers. Opinion pieces and editorials are an essential part of a free press.

          Now I suppose its information from Google and opinion from Facebook (other services are available). Where did it all go so wrong?

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          How do you "just report the news"?

          You could just print corporate press releases, or governmet statements without comments - but that is hardy news.

          You could state facts, "the rainfall in southern sudan was x mm" without any analysis if that will mean a famine or prosperity.

        3. hplasm Silver badge
          Happy

          @vimes

          This. 100%

          El Reg has permission to scrape the barrel, of course...

          (but not to thump it)

      2. mike2R

        My favourite Guardian bit is from here:

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/08/david-cameron-tweeted-snog-labour-liberal-snp

        Their description of Cameron embracing his wife is:

        "Looking genuinely relieved and ecstatic, David Cameron squashes his face against Sam Cam’s cheek, as she grins at the prospect of five years of proper, evil Tory power. "

        Don't get me wrong, I *like* having newspapers that have an open agenda rather than pretending to be neutral. I just wish they'd stop hypocritically having a go at other outlets that do the same

        1. Vimes

          @mike2R

          My favourite Guardian bit is from here:

          http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/08/david-cameron-tweeted-snog-labour-liberal-snp

          To be fair that was in the opinion section, which is rather different to the front page of any newspaper.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only goes to show how thick the population is.

      Only goes to show how thick the first past the post system is.

      FTFY.

      1. Bleu

        Re: Only goes to show how thick the population is.

        Agree. It is bizarre. Odd position for the SNP, they like proportional rep., but only almost wiped out anybody else there under first-past.

        Observer from afar, but the drama has been worth watching.

    2. fruitoftheloon
      WTF?

      @AC (the fucking idiot)

      Dear Ac (you are a wuss for hiding your handle btw),

      Speak for yourself - re how thick you are...

      "Pockets picked by the rich", which planet are you on buddy? HMG has been spending on the UK credit card for ages....

      At some point, IT HAS TO BE PAID BACK, it really is that simple, would you have preferred (in an alternate universe) for the deputy PM (Nicola Sturgeon) to rack up MORE DEBTS for your kids/grand kids to payoff?

      Democracy is great eh? And I did not vote for Cameron, even though I think he is a very good Prime Minister.

      Cheers,

      J.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AC (the fucking idiot)

        You might want to check on the lies you've been told by the CON man.

        Ahh, of course you won't and don't fucking care as your all right Jack.

        Check the promises the CON man gave in 2010 (difficult to find as they tried to vanish them off the CON site).

        Check how many times the CON men have been told by Civil servants to stop fucking lying!.

        1. fruitoftheloon
          FAIL

          Re: @AC (the fucking idiot)

          Dear AC,

          I am quite capable of reading (and researching) thank you very much, I used to do that for a living, and I am VERY GOOD AT IT.

          As to your ill-informed statement that 'I am alright Jack', err no I ain't mate - feel free to read up my previous posts if you would like to profer a non-prejudiced opinion.

          Headlines thereof are: -98% of family nett worth due to illness over five years, sold house (at worst time possible) = still owe the bank £27k, but shit happens and worse things happen to better people...

          As to this 'CON men' malarkey, it is a smidgeon childish dontcha think??

          And it is you're not your, FTFY.

          Chin up matey, the world will continue turning!!

          BTW why are you still posting as AC, just wondered...?

          J

        2. h3

          Re: @AC (the fucking idiot)

          Problem is the British public and their general lack of numeracy.

          For all the extra jobs supposedly created GDP stayed the same that people don't see that as a problem immediately is just .......

          (Along with the national debt in absolute terms increasing by about 50%).

      2. Vimes

        Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon

        At some point, IT HAS TO BE PAID BACK

        I'm surprised no mention of Labour's bright idea of using PFI hasn't been made yet. We'll be paying off the millions of debt created by that for generations to come, even within the NHS (I wonder how many are now experiencing issues because of it?)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon @Vimes

          "I'm surprised no mention of Labour's bright idea of using PFI hasn't been made yet. We'll be paying off the millions of debt created by that for generations to come, even within the NHS (I wonder how many are now experiencing issues because of it?)"

          Well, the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign has been doing a very good job of pretending that hospital closures (down to failed PFI under last Labour government) are the fault of the evil Tories, and at times claiming to be politically neutral whilst wearing Socialist Worker badges ..

        2. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon

          I'm surprised no mention of Labour's bright idea of using PFI hasn't been made yet.

          Probably because it was a Tory 'bright idea', which the despicable New Labour ran with because they didn't have the balls to put up taxes to pay for essentials like hospital and school buildings which didn't leak after a decade of being run down by the despicable Tories.

          1. Vimes

            Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon @Rich 11

            I never claimed Labour came up with the idea - it was however their idea to abuse it to the extent that they did.

            1. xslogic

              Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon @Rich 11

              To be fair, the Tories complained about it - made some vague statement about stopping PFI - and then continued on doing it. Sometimes it does feel like an outgoing government deliberately leaves a mess for the next lot.

              One lot wanted us to pay for the privilege of having ID cards, the other lot wants to push through laws to make what the security services currently do legal. (Even though it's questionable whether they are or not, privacy wise. This is not the first time a UK government has put through an illegal law, though - and probably won't be the last)

              Also, the thoughts of leaving the EU and getting rid of human rights (Most of them appear to be postfixed with "national security trumps this", the last I saw) is more than a little worrying. (The first of these is mainly, it has to be said, because of the second one and troublesome things like the data protection act)

        3. phoenix

          Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon

          PFI was thought up and brought in by the previous government under John Major. The one which left us with a 30 % budget deficit which was reduced to 15 % in two years under Labour. The massive debt we owe is almost directly as a result of bailing out the banks due to an under-regulated banking system that was shifting very complex debt products around the world.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon

            "The one which left us with a 30 % budget deficit which was reduced to 15 % in two years under Labour."

            By sticking to Conservative spending plans.

            1. Tim Worstal

              Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon

              And, err, was there actually a deficit in 1997? I seem to recall that if there was it was pretty small. Or was it even a surplus? Certainly it was nothing like 30%.

        4. phoenix

          Re: @AC (the fucking idiot) @fruitoftheloon

          The debt we will all paying off will be ever increasing mortgages by virtue of this daft idea that housing should be seen as an investment product rather than a necessity.

    3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Anybody who has left college and still votes Labour is a moron.

      Money doesn't grow on trees, that's why we voted Conservative.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Loud Speaker

        Money Tree policy

        Money doesn't grow on trees, that's why we voted Conservative.<p>

        You obviously dont understand the concept behind the Thatcherite "Money Tree" policy: If you have got your own money tree, you have nothiing to fear.

      3. Spanners Silver badge
        Facepalm

        @Disgusted

        When I left school, I would have been a conservative, it was that sort of school.

        When I left college, I was probably still a conservative. Bearded shouty people don't work on me.

        A few decades later, I am very much NOT a conservative.

        The change has been living in the "real" world. I have worked in private small scale industry uop to large scale public. The last thing anyof them need is what we are now getting - another 5 more years of taking from where it is needed to give the undeserving and unproductive more money to not spend in the economy.

        Give someone on £10k a raise and it will all be spent.

        Give someone on £30k a raise and they might save a few quid more but they will spend most of it.

        Give someone on £1M a raise and they will invest it.

        Tax raises to the rich are poor economics.

        They are all most conservatives are interested in

      4. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Yes Minister

        Is there a difference between mainstream politicians any more? Except maybe that the Tories [1] are more popular in the south of England and that Labour is more popular in the North of England?

        [1] Originally Irish highwaymen [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tory]. Hmmm.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC

      Anyone voting Labour is an idiot wanting everything handed to them on a plate...

      I don't earn over £100k a year, but I also don't rely on government hand outs, I save as much as I can for when I need the money..

      I know some people need help because they can't look after themselves, but the majority on benefits can work, they can do things themselves, and handing money out without asking for anything in return is wrong and just encourages 'lost generations'.

      I would suggest to start that any person claiming Job Seekers Allowance must work between 1+ days a week in some form on government service, be it sweeping streets, picking litter, painting, weeding, cutting grass, data entry etc.... get businesses involved to provide places for these part time workers, and you will help them into work faster...

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: @AC

        I would suggest to start that any person claiming Job Seekers Allowance must work between 1+ days a week in some form on government service, be it sweeping streets, picking litter, painting, weeding, cutting grass, data entry etc....

        You mean paying people less for jobs which, if they need doing, should actually be created and funded properly? Yeah, that's a well thought out way of getting people back into work...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Rich 11

          No, for JSA these are Job Seekers, they should be looking for work, so this would be providing a days work rather than money to do nothing, and some on the job training in the process, giving them skills and making them more likely to find a full time job..

          1 day a week, say 7 hours work, JSA is £73.10, so a bit more than £10 an hour, not an unreasonable wage.

          The idea is to use existing resources rather than having to find other funds...

      2. Whiskers

        Re: @AC

        >>I would suggest to start that any person claiming Job Seekers Allowance must work between 1+ days a week in some form on government service, be it sweeping streets, picking litter, painting, weeding, cutting grass, data entry etc.... <<

        Thereby taking paid work from the hands of those already doing it, providing slave labour for employers unwilling to pay the going rate for the job.

        >>get businesses involved to provide places for these part time workers, and you will help them into work faster...<<

        What prevents businesses from offering paid employment to people who are by definition looking for it (ie getting 'Job Seekers Allowance')? Wouldn't being able to get the job done more or less free by conscripts forced to do it under threat of starvation be a pretty strong incentive to continue not employing those workers fairly?

      3. SJG

        Re: @AC

        Such a bright idea. So that will be all the people currently sweeping streets, picking litter, painting, weeding, cutting grass, data entry etc... now to be sacked and to go on benefits - but now back as 1 day per week workers.

        Of course, that also means we will have 5 times as many people doing the job of one, so we'll need managers and supervisors, plus people to manage the backoffice processes of these people who will of course have not only 5x the staff turnover, but far higher because those people will (hopefully) be getting back to full time work as soon as possible.

        Come to think of it, how can we expect someone with no experience to be as productive as someone who knows the job and has been doing it for the last 20 years. So forget that 5x, it's probably 7x or 10x.

        Of course those people will also need clothing, not just 7x the amount, but replaced at every staff turnover ....

        Ooops, such a simple idea is a bit more complex in practice.

        Unless of course you're suggesting that these workers are ADDITIONAL to the current people. In that case, all the above all still applies, but with no reduction in existing council costs.

        So I guess you must also be in favour of increased taxes to fund your bright ideas ?

      4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: @AC

        >I would suggest to start that any person claiming Job Seekers Allowance must work between 1+ days a week

        Only an economics professor or the chancellor of the exchequer could possibly understand so little about the labour market.

      5. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Chris Miller

    Many Labour spokespeople are (unconsciously?) echoing the words of Bertolt Brecht's The Solution:

    After the uprising of the 17th June

    The Secretary of the Writers Union

    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee

    Stating that the people

    Had forfeited the confidence of the government

    And could win it back only

    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier

    In that case for the government

    To dissolve the people

    And elect another?

    1. keithpeter
      Windows

      Brecht quote

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/09/labour-left-miliband-hating-english

      (Nick sort of balances Polly)

      An interesting question: how did we get to be socially conservative with a small c &&c. History? Echoes of empire?

      Disclosure: I have lived in various parts of the UK but they have tended to be the parts that are still red on the BBC's map. Not deliberate, just the way it happened.

  6. Graham Marsden
    Boffin

    TW is right, but for the wrong reasons...

    We have a Tory Government which has a "majority" when only ONE THIRD of the people actually voted for it.

    That's right, TWO THIRDS of the people voted for other parties, yet, because of our fundamentally broken electoral system, we don't get the government we want!

    Of course we did have a referendum on this five years ago, but, TW, remind us, *which* media outlets were peddling scare stories and outright lies about what AV would mean? Which Party's rich supporters were paying for posters saying "Vote No to AV or the Baby Dies"?

    Still, it's all the fault of the people, isn't it?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: TW is right, but for the wrong reasons...

      >our fundamentally broken electoral system,

      The purpose of the system is not to arrive at the best solutions, or even to choose the right decision makers. The purpose of the system is to be considered a bit unfair by everybody equally, on the reasonable grounds that grumbling is preferable to civil war, gulags, cultural revolutions and the like.

      In this respect, it is fairly successful. Other countries have PR or AV or other versions of democracy... but are any of them utopias? Nah, they might be better on some respect or other for some people, but none are many miles ahead of us.

      There is plenty of room for improvement, but don't think that bringing in a new voting system is any form of panacea.

      1. Graham Marsden

        @Dave128 - Re: TW is right, but for the wrong reasons...

        The purpose of our electoral system is *supposed* to be for us to elect people who represent *our* views in the running of the country.

        We do not have that and we will not have that whilst FPTP is in place.

        No, changing the electoral system is not a panacea, but it will at least *start* to treat the problem.

        1. Youngdog

          Re: @Dave128 - TW is right, but for the wrong reasons...

          Yes the Tories only got a third but they were still 2 million votes ahead of Labour so Miliband coming out as PM would have made even less sense. What we should really be concerned about is that Nicola Sturgeon's SNP now have over 50 seats in the Commons with <5% of the popular vote!

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: @Youngdog

            The FPTP system is basically broken if you have more than 2 candidates per seat, and even then a tad doubtful with only 2. Some sort of AV/PR system is going to give you a more balanced seating.

            However, the biggest problem is not how we vote for the devious, thieving two-faced bastards, but that so many of them are useless at their jobs and do little more than knee-jerk to get voted in again. Until we deal with who stands for election, and what skills they ought to have (you know, like having had a REAL job for some time and not been a carer politician) then nothing will really get better.

            As for Scotland, 50% voted SNP but they got 95% of the seats which is not exactly representative. Still, the only glimmer of justice is UKIP got more votes than the SNP but only 1 seat...

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: @Youngdog

              "The FPTP system is basically broken if you have more than 2 candidates per seat"

              The FPTP system comes from an era where political parties didn't exist and it tries to pretend they still don't.

            2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

              Re: @Youngdog

              "We vote for people that we wouldn't trust to baby sit our children!" - Tom Clancy (a bit of a paraphrase)

      2. glen waverley
        Pint

        Utopias?

        Dave says "Other countries have PR or AV or other versions of democracy... but are any of them utopias? Nah, they might be better on some respect or other for some people, but none are many miles ahead of us."

        Oz has both AV (mostly for lower houses aka assemblies) and PR (mostly for upper houses and a couple of assemblies).

        And i know most right-thinking people would agree with me that Oz is much better than the old country.

        1. SundogUK

          Re: Utopias?

          Totally agree, I wish Tony Abbott was our PM...

          1. billse10

            Re: Utopias? @sundog uk

            "Totally agree, I wish Tony Abbott was our PM..."

            thank god Diane Abbott isn't ours ...

            1. Tom -1

              Re: Utopias? @sundog uk

              Actually I thing we could have a good system with a PM and two deputies (one being chancellor, the other being home secretary). Diane Abbot would be one of my ideal three in the system - the other two would be Michael Portillo and Richard Ingrams. I think RI would be the best PM, but it wouldn't really matter which of them had which job, it would be infinitely better than anything any of the parties offers now,

        2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: Utopias?

          @glen waverley - "Oz is much better than the old country" But isn't that because of the climate, beaches and cute animals?

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Utopias?

          I thought that was due to the policy of putting all the political leaders in prison as soon as they were elected?

        4. hplasm Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Utopias?

          "And i know most right-thinking people would agree with me that Oz is much better than the old country."

          Wait. Just a little while...

    2. Paul Westerman
      FAIL

      TWO THIRDS of the people voted for other parties

      Actually half of those people didn't bother voting at all. Whose fault is that?

    3. Cari

      Re: TW is right, but for the wrong reasons...

      It's a touch worse than that. One third of the electorate didn't vote (unknown is how many did so in protest, and how many just didn't care either way). One third of the votes went to the Conservatives, but that actually translates to around one quarter of the electorate. Using the numbers the Beeb have for results, something like at least 13-14 million voted for some kind of liberal/ left party. Again, ~one third of the electorate. Then there was everyone else who voted for someone other than conservative, and the small number of ballot spoilers.

      We have a system where 75% of the electorate didn't vote for the party that got into power, and blaming the 25% that did vote for them, when it's the system that is bollocks.

      1. keithpeter
        Windows

        Re: TW is right, but for the wrong reasons...

        One third of the electorate didn't vote (unknown is how many did so in protest, and how many just didn't care either way).

        One factor: Safe seats.

        In the constituency in which I reside the incumbent was returned with seven times the number of votes of the candidate who recieved the second largest number of votes. Around 21 000 of us could have stayed in bed/gone out/done overtime - those votes do not count for anything. Not surprisingly, the turnout was 12% lower than the average turnout for the election as a whole.

        UKIP did not have any safe seats. UKIP voters would have turned out in a gale/tornado/torrential rain/floods. The 'safe seat' effect tends to increase the proportion of the vote recorded for underdog parties, although I fully accept that the FPTP system acts as a barrier to such parties winning seats.

        In the system used to elect the Scottish Assembly (roughly 3/4 constituency and 1/4 proportional representation based on regional lists) all the votes counted would have fed through to register a preference for regional MSPs, so a reason for turning out. Plus the underdog parties (UKIP/LIBDEM) would have been allocated some of the regional seats, so house slightly more representative. And an even smaller majority for David I think, I'm still puggling the R scripts.

        Data presentation task: map constituencies to the nine government regions in England (each with roughly the population of Scotland) and then apply the same regional list system as in the Scottish Parliament. Not enough to change composition of Commons radically, but slightly more representation for underdog parties, and an even smaller majority for Conservatives.

        Meeja note: Huge celebration and triumphal hurrahs for Consevatives on securing a majority in the Commons that is smaller than the one John Major had in 1992? Good heavens above.

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: TW is right, but for the wrong reasons...

      AV is one of the more broken forms of Proportional Representation.

      The choices should be

      FPP or PR ?

      If PR, which type?

      By offering two unpalatable options the govt gets to keep the status quo.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TW is right, but for the wrong reasons...

      yes your right 2/3 of people didn't vote Tory....

      and more then 2/3s didn't vote for any of the others

      easy answer dissolve government until Graham can get more than 50% of the country to select which from the dozen or so political parties they want

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lot of it about

    seen some stuff on twitter where "biased media" (referring to BBC) is blamed for the disaster of people voting as they wanted to. That it came from left-ish tending types (who also referred to said voters as idiots) seems stereotypical.

    [one-nation small-c conservative somewhere-between-Euro-sceptic-and-pro-European Anon]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: lot of it about

      and yet for years the "right" have been complaing the BBC is to left wing.

      The words people are looking for are "bad losers"

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: lot of it about

        I remember ages ago, one head BBC honcho saying "you can tell when we have the political balance right, when BOTH sides accuse us of bias"

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    Nudge

    A powerful technique, once touted by Cameron & co as a way of edging people into "good behaviour" but equally capable of presenting a reader with stuff-you-generally-agree-with then pushing little by little towards a more extreme set of beliefs. "Gentle the slope, easy the way" sort of thing.

    An analysis of how the adjectives associated with "immigrant" and "benefits" have changed over the past few years might be instructive.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Nudge

      Do you not remember Blair at all?

      1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

        Re: Nudge

        Fair comment.

    2. Joefish
      Big Brother

      Re: Nudge

      Exactly - any newspaper with an agenda is first off reassuring the reader that they're not alone, and that their views are perfectly normal and acceptable, followed by the slow drip-drip-drip feed of more extreme views from its selected contributors to gradually shift the centre whenever required. You can persuade yourself that anything is 'normal' if you just hang out with the right crowd. And of course there's money to be made in running the whole show...

  9. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

    I read somewhere...

    If all YOU have is 3 GCSEs then the immigrant with the degree is not stealing YOUR job.

    Personally I'm glad the Conservatives won, I don't earn over £100k but SWMBO and myself (and junior for that matter) are better off now than we were in 2010 and I expect things to continue to improve.

    This will get me the downvotes if nothing else will:

    How about if you can only vote if you are either working/full time education or have sufficient NI contributions over your working life to entitle you to a full pension. If you're the ward of the state (i.e. on benefits) you don't get a say?

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: I read somewhere...

      And rage the age of voting to 25. If you're 18, you don't have enough life experience.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: I read somewhere...

      Ask yourself if you'd be living in a better country if the Cons weren't forced by coalition to abandon some of their most extreme policies? I've spent 30+ years watching lab&con take turns screwing up the country, it was nice seeing them slowed down for 5 years.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I read somewhere...

        " I've spent 30+ years watching lab&con take turns screwing up the country, it was nice seeing them slowed down for 5 years."

        This is one of the greatest arguments for coalitions and PR.

        Govts with an absolute majority can ram anything they want through the lawmaking system. If they don't have that then they have to negotiate and that means the more extreme stuff gets watered down.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I read somewhere...

          >If they don't have that then they have to negotiate and that means the more extreme stuff gets watered down.

          Or the extreme stuff gets through. We had tory governments kept in power by the Ulster Unionists - that didn't lead to a watering down of the political situation over there.

          Imagine a tory minority government needing UKIP (or BNP) support to get a bill through, or Labour needing to keep SNP sweet on every deal.

    3. fruitoftheloon
      Stop

      @Omwhateverthatis: Re: I read somewhere...

      [your handle]

      would you approve of a mum who stops work for aeons to raise a brood or someone on benefits who looks after sick relatives for ages voting then??

      I am on ESA benefit now, a quick tot-up says that I have paid >£240k tax to HMG in my last ten years of work, do you think I should or should not be able to vote?

      Just wondered...

      J

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

        Re: @Omwhateverthatis: I read somewhere...

        Funnily enough she didn't, she had to work albeit part time, but enough to pay NIC for 30 years. So she has contributed.

        Has yours?

        1. fruitoftheloon

          Re: @Omwhateverthatis: I read somewhere...

          Om.....

          'has yours' what? Please be a little more specific.

          J

      2. Bleu

        Re: @Omwhateverthatis: I read somewhere...

        Does 'ESA benefit' mean European Space Agency benefit?

        Were you secretly a euro-astronaut?

        Enquiring minds want to know.

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

          Re: @Omwhateverthatis: I read somewhere...

          THinking again about this...

          I'd extend it to exclude those who are politicians and those who work as civil servants.

          Or we could go full Heinlein - only those who have done "National Service" get to have the vote -AFTER they have completed their term of service.

        2. fruitoftheloon
          Go

          @Bleu: Re: @Omwhateverthatis: I read somewhere...

          Bleu,

          It is (in the UK) Employment and Support Allowance, which is the 'yup you really aren't healthy enough to work at the moment' benefit, which involves filling out enormous forms, interviews with doctors, evidence from supporting professionals, then a further phone interview...

          Thanks for asking.

          Cheers,

          J.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I read somewhere...

      Why not just revert to votes only for property owning males, or just be done with it and let king Chuck the first rule by Royal Decree?

      But of course 'benefits' only go to feckless scroungers, and none goes to rich pensioners, hard working families on minimum wage, the disabled, the injured, or the people who might have worked hard at a company for years, but been careless enough not to stash a million a year in an off shore bank account before the firm moves production to China, and find themselves in between jobs. But sod them, cos I'm all right Jack. Meanwhile lets privatise something else! Look at the shiny cash! Ignore the fact that money that went in wages to workers in this country is now going to Tristram's daddy's shell company in Bermuda, while we pick up the unemployment bill. The cash is shiny! have some shiny money and buy your house off the housing association? Oh house prices went up by more than the shiny money I gave you? - looks like you must be feckless - Bloke I know down the golf club started with nothing, I mean his mother was a duchess, and pa worked for Rothschilds, but he had no real money, and now he owns 200 properties. He was saying he mostly rents to Poles because they pay on time and leave the place clean. He doesn't do housing benefit people any more. Basically the feckless Brits don't want to work. My sister wanted to hire a nanny to look after the kids while she's at the gym, and she just couldn't find anyone prepared to do a few hours, cash in hand even - and they live in a really nice village, but people would rather stay at home on benefits rather than just get on a bus - I mean how much is a bus from the estate, 20 p, 30 p. You know I can't remember when I last got a bus - must have been Freddies' stag do in Prague , after we got that bonus for selling that factory to the guys from Korea.

      And remember - we are the richest, most successful, country in Western Europe, but we can't afford it! Any of it. Because we are broke totally broke, Oh, is it my round? I didn't bring my wallet, sorry. Anyway bit skint, splashed out on this chalet when we were in Verbier, a real steal, but you know how the Swiss Franc's gone. It's in a little place along the mountain - totally unspoiled, and not full of parvenu expats like so much of Switzerland these days,

      anyway Cheers - 5 more years.!!!

      1. MrXavia

        Re: let king Chuck the first rule by Royal Decree?

        Maybe not king Chuck... but King William? why not!

        he'd probably do a better job than the idiots in power now....

        Why? because he is born to it, expected to do the right thing ALL the time...

        politicians are not born to power, they choose power, and as everyone knows, anyone who chooses power shouldn't have power..

        That is why I like the idea of a non-elected house of lords, those who are selected should not be there because they want to be, but because its their duty... maybe have it like jury duty, every parliament people are selected from the populace at random and granted a Lordship for those 5 years....

        Have a decent wage(£200k/year) plus expenses to ensure there is less of a reason to try and wiggle out of it like there is with Jury Duty..

    5. Dan Paul

      Re: I read somewhere...

      I agree with your statement that one should only be able to vote if you are employed full time as here in the US, the Criminal in Chief and his minions are buying the votes of all the "wards of the state" by trying to redistribute the middle class taxpayers meager income every chance they have, making promises they can't keep, printing money we'll never be able to get back and in general giving the farm away to foreign governments.

      All while the truly rich still pay almost no taxes. See, it doesn't matter if you are Conservative or Liberal, our collective governments still "bone" you regardless of affiliation.

      Maybe if you take away the temptation, politicians might behave better, but I doubt it.

      Something keeps nagging me that this "great experiment" is going to come crashing down and we will ALL end up in the poorhouse.

    6. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: I read somewhere...

      An eon ago it was required that in order to vote, one had to own property (a workman's tools counted) in the U. S.

    7. This post has been deleted by its author

    8. keithpeter
      Windows

      Re: I read somewhere...

      How about if you can only vote if you are either working/full time education or have sufficient NI contributions over your working life to entitle you to a full pension. If you're the ward of the state (i.e. on benefits) you don't get a say?

      The qualified franchise worked *really* well in Ulster in the late 50s early 60s didn't it? (Not).

      Sit down quietly and think through the consequences. Especially think about the next time there is a global economic downturn...

      Random fact: most of the people claiming housing benefit are in jobs.

  10. a cynic writes...

    How about...

    ...everyone just accept it's possible for other people to disagree with you without them being stupid or evil or both.

    I realise that could be difficult...if you think your decision making is perfect because you're (a) so clever (b) so worthy or (c) like Ms Toynbee the epitome of Lady Bountiful. Tough. We've enough arrogant bastards in the world we don't need any more.

    1. fruitoftheloon
      Pint

      @a cynic... Re: How about...

      A cynic,

      I am with you on that one...

      I would v much like to know what is behind the downvotes for my posts above too.

      Have one on me!

      Cheers,

      J.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @a cynic... How about...@fruitloon

        probably due to you to being on ESA.

        i.e one of the people cameron calls a work shy scrounger that is to blame for all our problems...

        1. fruitoftheloon
          WTF?

          @ac: Re: @a cynic... How about...@fruitloon

          Dear Ac (wuss),

          Me a workshy scrounger?

          Fuck right off you prick.

          Seven years ago I was earning £85k a year, after a breakdown triggered by depression, and a belated diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome (sorry for the long words, please use a dictionary if needs be) I am for the moment now getting £110~ a week, which is helpful. Feel free to rummage through my posts to gain some BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE.

          I hope within six months or so to back on my feet.

          Would you care to comment or amend your post as appropriate?

          Also what is with the AC posting?

          Do you read any UK newspapers on a regular basis, if so may I ask which one?

          Cheers,

          J.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ac: @a cynic... How about...@fruitloon

            Not sure why you took offense, I wasn't calling you "a work shy scrounger", cameron does...

            and as he won the election, a lot of voters must think so too..

            Personally I think it's revolting to blame the vulnerable for needing help..

            (judging from your posts I would be careful what you mention in them......)

            1. fruitoftheloon

              Re: @ac: @a cynic... How about...@fruitloon

              AC,

              that was not my view of your post.

              If I have misinterpreted it, then I owe you an apology...

              Regards,

              J

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @ac: @a cynic... How about...@fruitloon

                @fruitoftheloon I am in a similar position to you, (although mine happened a few years earlier) and hope to get back on my feet soon too - Only this year I was able to move into an independent flat - first time in 10 years.

                However I get closer to £250 a week (ESA including Severe Disability Premium) and PIP - SDP is one they don't tell you about, so if you haven't heard of it, look it up! I got it a few months ago, and it was backdated to when I left hospital.

                1. fruitoftheloon
                  Thumb Up

                  @ac: re: @ac: @a cynic... How about...@fruitloon

                  AC,

                  I wish you the very best fortune in your recovery.

                  Regards,

                  J

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @ac: re: @ac: @a cynic... How about...@fruitloon

                    Thanks, but I was posting to suggest maybe you could get more? Ironically, "claimant advocacy" based at your local council work wonders. I get £100 a week more due to their intervention.

                    Good luck too!

      2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

        Re: @fruitoftheloon

        "I would v much like to know what is behind the downvotes for my posts above "

        Not me- I prefer to just argue.

        Occasionally I'll even upvote a post I argue with just because it gave me something to argue with.

    2. 's water music Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: How about... ...context

      I'm thinking of upvoting your post. Can you confirm your mobile phone OS preference so I can finalise the decision?

      Mine's the one with the OS/360 phone in the pocket

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      I'm quite happy to disagree with people without seeing them as stupid or evil or both. It's when they do things like drive sick people to kill themselves because a disability assessment is made insanely harsh, or deny jobseekers money for food for being five minutes late to an interview because the bus broke down that I start to think they are evil.

  11. Bleu

    The interesting tech. biz angle

    would have been the presence of faescesbook and twatter people in the ITV live commentary group.

    Being of another country, I didn't watch it, but did read about it.

    An unpleasant surprise.

  12. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Hmm

    First, http://xkcd.com/1521/ .

    Second, back in late 2008, the NY Times asked various pundits to weigh in with advice for Barack Obama. It was slightly disturbing to find that the best advice came from Gore Vidal, but it did: Don't read the New York Times, read The Financial Times.

    1. Tom -1

      Re: Hmm

      You can tell she's am American, he had to cosult wikipedia before putting the English sword back in the stone. We British (Scots, Welsh, and Cornish) know ll about England without having to look it up.

  13. stewwy

    all I can say is that turkeys DO vote for christmas.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quote: "it's driven by the pre-extant biases of the readership, not by whatever nefarious plans the owners of the media have to shape said thoughts or emotions"

    it's Friday afternoon, where is the BOFH?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't just _conform_ to the prejudices of the readers, it also _confirms_ them. So while it is tempting to view Miliband as hopeless dolt the idea will fade out unless and until a similar opinion is held and expressed (appropriate verb) by enough people or in enough pieces of media that reach the reader.

    FAGVO 'reader', 'prejudice', 'dolt' and 'opinion'

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      Boffin

      You don't get an amplifier without a feedback path.

  16. Number6

    As usual, I turn out to be the exception. The content of my FB feed does not generally reflect my views but I clearly associate with people who do hold views so reflected.

  17. Jonathan Richards 1
    FAIL

    @Worstall

    > media outlets chase the prejudices of the audience, they don't shape them

    Yeah, right. That's why billionaire newspaper owners buy these "media outlets", is it? Because they enjoy chasing audience prejudices? Of course newspapers shape their readership's opinions: that's the very reason for the editorial column in every freaking newspaper on the planet! Your initial premise was so outlandish that I didn't bother to read past it, sorry.

  18. ADJB

    It's still true.....

    Hacker: Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; The Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; And The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

    Sir Humphrey: Oh and Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

    Bernard: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It's still true.....

      A free press is one which can print all prejudices of the proprietor that don't upset the advertisers

      1. Number6

        Re: It's still true.....

        That just proves the corollary to free speech - you can say what you like but it has consequences. With freedom comes responsibility.

  19. meadowlark

    The original article that we're all commenting on is the influence of the press on people's opinions of political parties, especially at election time. Do they reflect opinion or do they form it ?

    What most of us forget is that it's the Conservative party that creates wealth, but even more important is that it's the Labour party that tries to share out that wealth a bit, to the millions who helped to create it. They also concentrate on social justice, an example of which was when they abolished the workhouse in the late twenties during their first ever period in power. That has continued ever since

    In my humble opinion, the Tory supporting press, especially The Mail (middle class ) and Murdoch's titles (working class) do an excellent job in persuading the undecided, and it's that relatively small number that decide the outcome of elections elections. But let's face it, those who own, run, and work for these titles have no interest in social justice, nor in my opinion does the party they support.

    Without Labour, the workhouse would have continued, the NHS would not have existed (anyone fancy the USA version ?), no right to buy your leasehold; landladies would still be putting up notices saying 'no coloureds, no Irish, no dogs'; no equal pay; the list goes on and on and includes things we now just take for granted. These includes protection from criminal landlords; unfair dismissal; protection from working in death trap factories and building sites - hundreds were killed every year; a decent safety net for those unemployed, sick or disabled ( again, if anyone fancies the US version, go and take a look at motor city Detroit ); maternity leave with pay; minimum wage etc, etc.

    As a working class retired bloke who belonged to a union throughout my working years, I agreed with the Tory union secret ballot law etc because the big union beasts led their members out on strike when often, the members wanted to keep working. I also know of people who abuse the welfare system, and although two wrongs do not make a right, this doesn't come close to what the tax evaders owe.

    To end a long ramble, at least Murdoch's papers don't go in for much racism although gays and single parents got a bashing in the old days. But they do resort to low abuse and insults of those politicians that they're against. However, the Mail's racism can only be described as vile. Apart from Amanda Platell ( did she change her name from Amana Patel, I wonder, to fit in a bit more perhaps ? ) I'd like to know how many black and Asian people work for the Mail ? Of course they've got a long record of this when they attacked Jewish people in the very early day of their publication. They then switched to the Irish, then people from the Caribbean, then Asians from the sub continent and Uganda etc, then illegal immigrants, then asylum seekers, and now it's east Europeans and those fleeing the war zones in the Middle East and Africa.

    What is really annoying is that these 'viewspapers' print opinions as if they were fact, and If the right wing press so wished, they could even demonise Mother Theresa.

    1. Tom -1
      Unhappy

      The NS was a Liberal proposal, originally opposed by the Labour party simply because they opposed anything proposed by anyone else; in 1944 the Labour party finally decided to support the idea, when they were part of the wartime coalition government, and implemeted the policy agreed between the Cons, Libs, and themselves about 3 years after getting into power. (It's a pity that the Liberal party no longer exists, it's ideals having been abandoned in teh merger that formed the Lib Dems.)

      It's pretty common for Lab to claim other people's ideas were theirs. The 1944 education acti is another nice example - another coalition product often claimed by Labour, but this one passed into law during the coalition years (under a government run by a Conservative prime minister). It's like the Lab's claims about NHS funding, which has increased in real terms under the Cons far more than under Lab - to hell with the truth, we'll claim we do better than they do; but that "to hell with the truth attitude" is not just Lab policy, it's the policy of Con, LD, SNP, PlaidC, UUP, TUV, PNI, DUP, SF,UKIP, and assorted Greens as well.

  20. Mehh

    "The Truth"

    “Be careful. People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things…well, new things aren't what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds…Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.”

  21. Dick Pountain

    If we nuke it from orbit it's very likely we'll miss and hit Belgium. Better a selective campaign from 1000 feet that carefully avoids Camden Town...

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      Coat

      British built guidance system?

      Mine's the hazmat suit.

  22. Tom 13

    Both pieces of research are fundamentally and fatally flawed.

    So much so that they are useless for real world predictions, no matter what their academic award pedigrees. The methodology of both studies is flawed in that they assume the published content establishes the universe of content. The problem is that the universe of content is so much larger than the published content.

  23. cortland

    Cutting remark

    The fault, dear Brutus...

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