I shouldn’t have been surprised by the dominance of the TV Leaders debate in the election coverage yesterday, but from what little I saw it certainly framed the discussion for another 24 hours.
As I have said before, whilst the 7.9m people who watched the programme live are part of the audience the political parties are trying to reach, the rest of us who didn’t see the ‘game live’ are influenced by the highlights and media coverage we see. Hence the importance of the ‘Spin Room’ at the event and the amount of work that goes in to make sure the coverage says their candidate won!
Again it was no surprise to see that the heavy Tory supporting papers like the Sun and Telegraph had already probably written their headlines before the debates had even started. So far out from the eventual truth that Ed was considered to have done another good job and in all the polling he was perceived to have won or neck and neck (apart from the Sturgeon 28% Poll, but more of that later), meant their headlines of ‘Losing the election or flopping’ frankly looked really stupid. You know I have little time for journalists at the best of times, but I hope those who wrote these articles and headlines are actually pretty ashamed at what disgrace they bring onto their ‘profession’.
The Sturgeon effect gained momentum yesterday enough for much of the TV coverage to focus on this and of course we saw overnight the so-called Telegrapgh exclusive claiming that she had told our French embassy staff that she would prefer a Cameron government. This story will unfold today and there are so many angles to this I am going to wait to see a) if it is true b) how the various parties react c) take on board the implications of so much effort from the London media attacking the SNP, who only 50+ seats will be voting for. I am sure our attacks only strengthens them.
But today will be an attempt by the other parties to try a new message/theme. I will be trying to work out how quickly this becomes obvious and assessing if they manage to get above the noise of the SNP/ Scotland issues that are starting to dominate this election.