Everything comes to those who … show up the prime minister on the front page of the local newspaper.
That could be a lesson to take from Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to do a sit-down chat with the Huddersfield Examiner, a fortnight after his gate-keepers refused to let the PM do anything in depth with the Examiner and other West Yorkshire journalists.
In the interview, published on the Examiner website earlier this week, the PM dealt with a bunch of local issues, and even got round to talking about lycra.
He blamed the previous lack of interview opportunities on an ‘administrative error.’ Here’s hoping…
Sadly, what the Primer Minister giveth, it appears the chancellor takes away.
Despite being a local MP – just – to the Manchester Evening News, and campaigning in a very marginal seat the other day, the chancellor was only prepared to take one, pre-submitted, question from journalists there.
Like the Examiner, the Manchester Evening News decided the right thing to do was to report on Mr Osborne’s behaviour.
There were five journalists at today’s election walkabout, four of them local and one of them from Newsnight.
There were no members of the public, apart from the engineers who presumably would have been there smelting things anyway.
And there were six press officers. At least.
Not for the first time I clicked my pen in frustration as one of them told me bluntly and repeatedly that no, I couldn’t speak on my own with the Chancellor. Not even my one allocated question, which I had given them in advance. Just in case I go all Gillian Duffy on them.
So I shuffled obediently in my orange tabard while Newsnight had their proper interview with him elsewhere on the factory floor, before watching at a distance while he had an inaudible conversation with an engineer we had not been introduced to.
An therein lies the problem. Press officers out-numbering the Press and next to no voters around. Show-boating appearances like this aren’t about pressing the flesh anymore, they’re about using the United Kingdom as a backdrop to sell a message which might make it on to the telly in the evening.
And politicians wonder why so few people believe they have any grasp of the real world.
If it’s any consolation, some of the national journalists aren’t getting a much better deal either.
Channel 4’s Dai Baker asked the Tories to be let off the blue battle bus after finishing his interview with the PM.
He was a little surprised they didn’t try and find a lay-by. By the looks of things, just a bit of pavement would have been better than this:
We’ve not had enough animal stories in this year’s election. So here’s one from the Leicester Mercury which made me smile:
No jokes about snouts, please
Well done to the Express and Star in Wolverhampton for this piggy gem:
Never again will you read the line: “The UPIG party are doing very well, and it’s neck and neck between Laboar and the Conservapigs.”
Just your average, run of the mill, stately-home living UKIP candidate
I wonder if this would-be MP regrets talking so freely about some of his life’s strifes?
It’s a hard life being normal.