Thursday, 30 April 2009

Who's responsible? We are of course!

There's a quite extraordinary leader in today's Sun (url will change). Extraordinary in that it is utterly shameless in claiming credit for two campaigns, one that it did indeed lead, and which has had negative consequences which will almost certainly affect social services for years to come, and another which it only jumped on on Monday. The paper of course doesn't personally claim credit; it instead claims that its readers are responsible, as it has in the past. This might be the case in the Baby P campaign, but is certainly not in the case of the Gurkhas. In any case:

WHO said people power was dead?

In one amazing day, TWO Sun campaigns result in triumphs for our readers.

GURKHAS win a crucial Commons victory against Government plans to deport them.

And BABY P social workers finally pay the price for their incompetence and arrogance.

Incredibly, the Sun can't even get the campaign concerning the Gurkhas right. The government has no plans to deport them; retired Gurkhas instead want the right to settle here. One would have thought that if the Sun had been covering the Gurkhas campaign since the beginning, it might have been able to get the key facts straight.

First, the Gurkhas...

Labour’s humiliation at Westminster over its shabby treatment of these brave men is a triumph for decency and democracy.

The Sun is proud to have led the crusade to let the Gurkhas settle here.

Gordon Brown has only himself to blame for his bloody nose.


Led the crusade? Prior to last Saturday, only Jon Gaunt had so much as mentioned the Gurkhas' campaign in the paper this year. Last year the paper made 38 mentions of Gurkhas: just once did it make the Sun's leader column, and then it was regarded as the least important issue of the day, below some completely inaccurate nonsense about the European Union and yet more woe from Helen Newlove. To be fair to the paper, Gaunt has at least repeatedly wrote about the Gurkhas, but one columnist does not make a paper leading the "crusade". Notable by their absence from this leader are the far more important individuals who genuinely did lead the campaign, namely Joanna Lumley and Nick Clegg, who obviously come second to the paper's noble leadership and the readers who did much to put down the motion which led to the government being defeated.

And why did it take Haringey Council so long to appreciate anger over their failure to sack those who betrayed Baby P?

I don't know; maybe they were following proper procedure rather than just deciding to instantly sack people based on what was written in Sun leader columns?

Four went yesterday without compensation, including social worker Maria Ward, her superior Gillie Christou and two bosses.

That would be the same Maria Ward who was driven to the edge of suicide by the Sun's targeting of her. Before the Sun shut down comments on its Baby P reports, readers had commented on the Sun's article daring her to do it. The paper had also demanded that another social worker, Sylvia Henry, be sacked. The council found that she had no case to answer. Doubtless she too suffered similar treatment to that which Sharon Shoesmith and Ward were subjected; if she was hoping for an apology, she'll be waiting a long time.

It’s good to see that public opinion can still count in national life.

As long as that public opinion corresponds with the Sun's views, naturally.

1 comment:

europearchive said...

Talking of the Sun taking the credit - I noticed that during the last episode of Newswipe it was claimed that a government plan to pass legislation included a Sun campaign, seemingly against them, but if this is true dictating a direction they wanted to go in.

If this is true this is actually a pretty serious allegation - while presumably not illegal it has some shocking implications for democracy in this country.

It would be interesting to see more research on if this actually happened or not