Tag Archives: politics

Clegg, Cameron and a whole lot of knickers in a twist.

Rest finally came to the political commentators and journalists this week when David Cameron, our Prime Minister, appointed Nick Clegg as his deputy in a coalition government. So far this has been a bit of a love-in, with Cameron promising a Liberal-Conservative government and a ‘seismic shift in politics’.

Concessions have been made by both sides up to this point, and it’s all very happy families but it will be interesting to see how this continues when talks on international and defence policy begin.

What is strikingly obvious and disappointing, although not wholly surprising about our hybrid cabinet, which can be seen in full here, is that it is rather male-centric in make-up.

Labour are, if nothing else, supportive of women in politics but in general Britain has a poor track record of keeping women in cabinet and there have been angry reactions following the announcement of Cameron’s team.

Before we get those proverbials in a twist, and in fear of getting a bashing from my fellow ‘wimmin’ I think this subject should be approached with a reasonable head. What is interesting, and potentially disappointing are the possible reasons for this.

Of course we need to encourage more women to enter politics, in order to send the message that  door is open but I am not about to endorse a quota-filling approach to appointing female front-benchers, I want the best possible candidate for the job – male or female.

The paths into politics and the professional opportunities available to women may need to be questioned and discrimination on any level is unacceptable, but blind, bra-burning fury at a majority male cabinet is not helpful either.

Gee whizz: Sarah Palin and Fox News cosy up

Former Republican vice-presidential candidate and governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has just been taken on by Fox News. Anyone who saw her car-crash interview with Katie Couric during the election campaign would advise her to stay away from unscripted broadcast and stick to shooting wildlife.

Palin: A force to be reckoned with, or preaching to the converted?

Of course, Fox is a different ball game altogether. Having signed a “multi-year deal” with the channel she will now provide political commentary and analysis across a number of stations.

It must be said, what with reading the newspaper – ‘all of ’em’ – so avidly, Palin is well placed for such a role.

The additional news that she will host  episodes of the channel’s Real American Stories, a series exploring inspirational real-life tales of American’s overcoming adversity, is truly wretch-worthy.

Of course, Fox is the perfect home for the would-be beauty pageant winner and gun-toting all-American gal.

Here’s what she had to say:

“I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News. It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news,” she said.

The less said of that comment the better but rest assured, as Ed Pilkington noted, it is voiced with apparent lack of irony.

Most of the discussion about her appointment across the pond has surrounded what this means for her hopes for a 2012 presidency.

I tend to agree with ABC News’ Rick Klein who sees this as a move away from running, and rather as a way ‘to build upon her political brand’.

There is something terrifyingly steely about Palin, and this new development, which will see her pearly whites grinning out to America’s largest TV audience almost certainly means she’s here to stay.

Whether this means anything for expanding the reach of her political agenda I am not sure but she is no doubt intent on building her profile – and she knows who will listen.

Pushing the agenda: politicians as columnists

It was recently questioned by one of my colleagues whether politicians who are still holding office should write columns in newspapers. His argument was, with specific reference to Boris Johnson’s column in the Telegraph, that a politicians remarks are greatly influenced by his or her current political affiliations and thus the columnist cannot be said to be practicing unbiased journalism.

This colleague went further, saying that he could not ‘trust’ Mayor Johnson as a journalist, and that he ‘switched off’ as he was reading the piece when it became clear that he was pushing his own agenda.

It seems obvious to me that in general columnists are constantly pushing their own agenda, or if not this then certainly personal views, and cannot be said to be unbiased. I do not read columns as examples of neutral reporting, quite the opposite and I often glean more enjoyment from a piece pushing an agenda which I am strongly opposed to. It gives me a chance to rant and scoff and all those things which a young journalist enjoys indulging in, as well as allowing me to consider an alternative viewpoint.

Personally, I think it is a great shame more politicians don’t have columns, or perhaps, write blogs. It seems an obvious arena for well thought out agenda pushing. I presume the majority, if not all, of the people that read a politicians blog will be aware of their political alliances. These shouldn’t be read as a means of employing subversive tactics to brainwash the reader, they should be read as another, perhaps more transparent and honest approach by the politician in communicating with the interested reading public.

When all we often receive from politicians is ‘sound-bites’, it is actually enlightening to see a carefully considered and crafted piece of writing which allows us to engage with them on our own turf, as it were. If only more politicians were more open about their personal opinions in columns and blogs then there may be an environment of trust, rather than caution.