The majority of the right-leaning part of the press – which would be most of it – has been pretending for some time that Labour is finished, split, about to have a leadership crisis, and the whole nine yards, while Mil The Younger’s poll lead over Young Dave and his jolly good chaps remains just that. So now the Telegraph has decided to pretend that the Blessed Tone says Cameron will win.
Behold a truly fictitious lead headline
You might have thought from reading the headline – “Tony Blair: Miliband has failed to connect with voters and is doomed to election defeat ... The former Prime Minister has apparently told long-standing political allies that the under-fire Labour leader 'cannot beat' David Cameron in next year's vote” – this was what Blair said. But look once again at those quotation marks, and the deployment of “apparently”.
James Kirkup, who gets A for propaganda deployment and obeying orders, but a D minus for factual journalism, tells “David Cameron will remain in power next year because Labour has not persuaded Britain it is ready to govern, the former Labour prime minister has apparently told friends”. Woah! Another of those “apparently” moments. And, as the man said, there’s more.
“Mr Blair’s apparent prediction was made in a private conversation with long-standing political allies earlier this month. The Telegraph has been given an account of that conversation by one person who was present”. And again I give you “apparently”, together with the admission that the words were attributed to Tone, rather than actually spoken by him.
Then we get a rather lame justification for the “apparently” moments: “Mr Blair, the most electorally successful politician in Labour history, has said he supports Mr Miliband but stopped short of publicly predicting an election victory for his successor”. Yeah, right. If he predicted a victory, the Tel would say he didn’t mean it unless he went down the bookies and put a few Bags Of Sand on it.
What is the problem for the Tel? Oh, it’s the Kippers: “Some members of the shadow Cabinet are pressing for Mr Miliband to ‘take on’ Ukip’s Nigel Farage directly, recalling that Mr Blair himself confronted the Ukip leader publicly in 2005”. Hello James! Is The Andy Marr Show (tm) too early for you of a Sunday morning? Is that why you missed Miliband debating Mr Thirsty on it?
All that the Tel has for definite is a statement from Blair’s office: “Mr Blair’s office insisted the Telegraph’s account of his recent conversation about the election “is not his view. He wants and hopes to see a Labour victory and believes Labour can indeed win and under Ed's leadership”. That is the only substantive evidence in support of the headline. Except it doesn’t support it.
Expect to see more of this weapons grade bullshit in the coming months.