Friday, 14 July 2017

Uherd - will this work?

Enough of meaty topics this week!

Since I started blogging, I have always had time for Tim Montgomerie - perhaps this is related to him making time for me!

His new news venture is an interesting one, having left The Times. He intends to have a long-piece magazine-style website, not focusing on short-term themes. He certainly has lined up an, err, interesting mix of writers contributing.

The first topic, of the influence of rolling news and social media is an interesting one - if a little rhetorical - of course rolling news and social media are affecting the government - we can all see Jeremy Corbyn FFS!.

Perhaps some light will be drawn as to what exactly we are supposed to do about this, but I am less convinced when you get Alistair Campbell, the arch-creator of this mess, to opine from afar.

However, does the world need another alternative to the Spectator - indeed, can something like this work? I kind of hope so, because with news commentary declining in relevance and readership I do see around me that people are becoming less informed about the facts of the world than we previously the case.

Am I right to think that or just getting old?


Electro-Kevin said...

It's the 24hr rolling news bollocks which creates the impression of perpetual crisis.

News editors set the whole agenda by focussing on what to report - like the body of a kid on a beach but not one lying dead at a concert arena.

The politicians and pollsters have misread the public because they construe 24hr Rolling Bollocks as public clamour for policy - which it is not. People don't give a toss about most of it.

PS, Why are they all at such pains to satisfy the 48% when it was the 52% than won ? Is a neutral BBC reporter really allowed to put on a sour face when talking of something she has personal distaste for ? One almost expects the BBC to play Laural and Hardy music whenever they show David Davies. Let's say, it couldn't be much worse.

Charlie said...

The pols rely on the media to give them publicity and are terrified of a bad portrayal in the media.

The media rely on the pols to feed their need for content 24/7.

The pols have not yet found the courage to ignore most of the rolling news nonsense. And, given the above, they won't.

Social media raises the stakes even further. Every pet peeve is aired and all special interest/pressure groups have a presence. Mainstream media uses social media for easy content. The pols mistakenly believe that 20,000 retweets means that they need to formulate a response, to Do Something. Of course, the whole setup is a massive win for statists. The state must respond to any Bad Thing, no matter how trivial.

Trump gets this. Mainstream UK pols are yet to get it in the same way.

Nick Drew said...

Don't you find him (Tim) an odd fish, though?

these leftie-beardie Tories are a rum bunch

hovis said...

"Leftie Beardie Tories" = Pogonophobia!

Thats said from sample size of 2 I think there is 100% correlation .

CityUnslicker said...

ND - I see your point, but life has educated me that mainly 2 things happen to political journalists.

1 - They stay left or right and get more extreme over time until they become caricatures, e.g. Melanie Phillips and Owen Jones, though young is heading that way.

2- Or they start left or right and gradually progress the other way telling their 'story/journey' over time. This becomes their thing...Tim is on this spectrum, passing Dan Hodges going the other way for example. Toynbee being broadly in this category too.

K said...


Sites like 4chan have repeatedly shown by their antics that it only takes a couple hundred people to get something trending. The old media then picks it up thinking it's something big.

What's scary is when you think about events like the Arab Spring that were considered "Twitter revolutions". Most likely it was only a few actual Arabs and then the rest was fuelled by the Western media. In this sense the BBC is as much at fault for ISIS etc as Hillary and co.

To prevent 4chan's continued trolling Twitter created a filter that lets them remove topics from trending but of course they only really apply this filter to trolls and right wing topics and any old astroturfed left wing trend is still allowed through.

Fortunately most millennials don't seem to take social media seriously and do ignore it. The problem is middle aged people like journalists taking it seriously because they've been told that the young take it seriously.

James Higham said...

Watch to see if he gets Blair.

Charlie said...


I agree the young don't take it seriously - they're grown up with it, it's their equivalent of talking in the pub. While for your average hard-left Gen X-er it's this super-powerful new technology that gives them something they didn't have before - a wide circle of people who agree with their ridiculous views and a willing audience for their drivel. Twenty years ago they were getting laughed out of the pub.

dearieme said...


K said...


I've seen those Gen Xers referred to the "smartphone generation". It's not anything to do with actual age but how you first started using the internet regularly.

- "Normal users" = view the net as a public forum they go to. Probably because they started by having to sit down at a computer, dial in, etc.

- "Smartphone users" = view the net as merely an app on their phone or like a book on their shelf. So when they see something they don't like they're twice as offended because they view it as having happened inside their personal space. Also because they access the net primarily on their phones they don't visit a large variety of sites and tend to stick to a few apps or personalised suggestions.

Due to gaming etc most kids still grow up as "normal users" but the iPhone gave us a huge influx of these "smartphone users".

Elby the Beserk said...

Any publication - online or hard copy - that has in its first issue the opinions of Alastair Campbell can forget about my patronage. I's bad enough having the blooody BBC thrust that bastard Blair down our throats, but I truly draw the line at his henchman in chief. Not to put too fine a point on it - they can fuck right off. Now.

david morris said...

wot Elby said.

In spades