Was it a slow news day in Canary Wharf yesterday? Seriously, were the broadsheets short of stuff to fill their column-inches quota? The Guardian, the Telegraph, and the Times all reported in today’s papers on a report from 5 weeks ago.
That report is the one produced by the Cabinet Office on what the process is in the event of a hung parliament. I’m not certain, but I guess a version is produced before every general election. Or at least every one that doesn’t look like a runaway victory for one side or the other. This report states, if there is a hung parliament, Gordon Brown would be asked to stay as PM and form a coalition or minority government. He’s the incumbent. That’s what gives greatest stability. It’s not that complicated.
So why are these papers reporting this now? More than a month after it was presented and first reported on by the Times and Guardian? Is it really such a slow news day? Or has this process story been highlighted for other reasons?
The Telegraph today have as their front page headline
Gordon Brown could lose and still be Prime Minister
A cynic might think that Tory supporting media might raise the profile of this story deliberately. Doing so strengthens an anti-Brown vote and makes a hung parliament seem scary. It also distracts from the stories of Tony Blair’s destruction of the Conservative position and the hilarious Tory complaints of too much applause for Vince Cable at the Ask the Chancellors debates.
There’s nothing “new” about this news. Custom has always been to allow the incumbent the first chance to form a government. Not only is the report not newsworthy, but it’s already been not newsworthy on 24th February. So why drag it back out now? Makes me glad I don’t pay to read the Times – oh, wait….