Guido holds Nick Robinson in high regard, that is not sarcasm, he is accessible, non-pompous, hard working and gets stories.* He is not a regime-friendly lazy journalist. Guido just does not like the unattributed spin that sometimes gets re-packaged as analysis. It must be hard to avoid that if you crave access to survive in a 24-hour broadcast news cycle.
In the Indy this morning he says that there is an obligation on the Lobby and in particular its senior members “inside the loop” to correctly interpret the “culture in British politics of off-the-record journalism”.
He then goes on to seemingly accept the Guido critique:
He feels references to “Blairites say” and “Brownites claim” leave viewers feeling “short-changed” and says he must do more to get politicians on camera. He says the audience was also irritated by references to Charles Kennedy’s alcohol problem being widely known before it was made public. “The problem was with the chatterariat or commentariat who, in an easy cliché, said it was ‘Westminster’s best-kept secret’. Instantly what was being said to the audience was ‘We knew, you didn’t, we’re in some sort of conspiracy of silence.'”
It is so true that you never see a government minister on camera when the news is not good. That is a key New Labour tactic, kill the story by not having anyone available to comment. If the government is not prepared to defend itself, broadcasters should give the opposition free reign, get a Lib-Dem or a Tory on. That will soon hurt and they will start sending Blears at the very least.
The most important revelation in the interview was that his glasses are Gucci.
*People who say Nick Robinson is soft on Downing Street forget who it was who shouted at Blair over tax fibs during the election and often asks the most awkward questions at the PM’s briefings. In comparison to some Lobby deadbeats he is ultra-aggressive.
“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…”