The politics of music

There’s a been a bit of a kerfuffle in the UK recently over PM David Cameron’s right to like certain artists. Cameron, being youngish for a political leader (he’s a few years younger than yours truly, therefore is youngish), has stated that he quite likes The Smiths, that 1980s group which featured Morrissey on lead vocals. This has greatly upset both Morrissey and Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Marr recently tweeted “David Cameron, stop saying you like the Smiths, no you don’t. I forbid you to like it.” Morrissey later came out in support of his former bandmate, writing: “To those who have expressed concern over Johnny’s words in view of the fact that David Cameron has pledged immense allegiance to […]

Political Bias and Perception

We all know (I hope) that our political biases colour how we view things. For example, someone with very conservative, right-wing views reading a newspaper such as The Toronto Star or The Guardian will not see their own views reflected in the editorials and commentaries (and probably not even in the way the news is reported), and so will tag those papers as being “liberal”, “left-wing”, etc. Ditto for someone more to the left who reads The National Post or the Daily Telegraph – they will call the paper right-wing. What is interesting to me is how media that tries to be as balanced as is humanly possible is perceived. Case in point, the Globe and Mail. If you read […]

On truth in politics

According to American journalist Michael Kinsley, a gaffe is what happens when a politician accidentally tells the truth, or inadvertently says something publicly that they privately believe is true, but would ordinarily not say publicly because they believe it is politically harmful. There are ample examples of politicians caught in such situations. During the recent election campaign in the UK, Gordon Brown was caught on tape describing a voter he had just met as a “bigoted woman” after she had voiced some concerns about immigrants. In Canada, in April 2009, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff told a Cambridge Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting that: “We will have to raise taxes,” but not at the expense of hurting the recovery from this […]

The UK media and coalitions: lessons for Canada?

How the UK media reports on the coalition government may provide insight into how a coalition government might be treated by the media in Canada. I have been monitoring various UK news sources online since the election, and have noticed a few trends. 1. Every policy the government announces may break the coalition The coalition partners put together a detailed program for government which was endorsed by each party’s caucus. To date, everything the coalition government has done was outlined in the coalition program. No matter. The media regularly features headlines warning (or celebrating?) that the coalition will be sorely tested by – take your pick – the proposed change to the no-confidence vote threshold,  the VAT increase, the referendum […]

The media and hung parliaments

This post is not in keeping with what I generally would write about in this blog. A bit of background here for anyone not familiar with Canadian politics. The past three elections in Canada, 2004, 2006 and 2008, have resulted in hung parliaments. In 2004, we ended up after the election with a minority Liberal government. The next two elections led to a Conservative minority government. The Liberals and the Conservatives are the two main parties in Canada at the federal level, consequently, neither would contemplate a coalition or formal agreement with the other. We also have two other parties represented in our House of Commons: the 3rd party is the Bloc Québécois, a party which runs candidates in only […]