Jackie Ashley, the daughter of Baron Ashley who is married to Andrew Marr, writes in today’s Guardian complaining that the likes of politicalbetting.com and bookmakers are now part of the political 24-hour rolling-news process. Isn’t she really complaining that the power of the Dead-Tree-Press is being usurped by the likes of us bloggers with our instant publishing and deadline beating free commentary? She claims “there’s something bullying about ‘Punters in a Menzies Frenzy’. A horse wins, and the race is over, and the next bets can be laid. In politics, a great train of consequences may follow.” Oh dear, when the whim of an unelected media commentator like her husband sets in train the resignation of a minister or the change of a leader, that is acceptable. When citizen political bloggers and political punters influence the public discourse she claims we are “bullying”.
When her husband on the BBC or she in her column do the same, what are they doing? She actually calls on her fellow members of “the commentariat” (her words) to ignore us. The arrogance – why is her punditry superior and more worthy? Isn’t her self serving argument merely evidence that the monopoly that press pundits once enjoyed in setting the terms of debate is now being undermined dramatically by bloggers? They don’t like it up ’em.
“This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust,” he told the PM, concluding: “I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election… I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom. I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit…”