Blue ‘Un: FT Likely to Endorse Cameron

blue-un

A few weeks ago Ed Miliband went into the FT to meet the senior editorial team and put his case. The FT is the most Europhile paper in Britain, with a surprisingly large number of left-of-centre journalists for a business paper. The paper prides itself on operating more like an Oxford college than a go-getting scoop-hungry newsroom, far too grand to indulge in partisan campaigning. In short Miliband had a good chance of winning the pink ‘uns endorsement by emphasising his Europhile credentials, reminding them of Cameron’s supposed Euroscepticism and by signalling that he sounds more anti-business than he would be in office. All to play for…

Ed is not famously sympathetic to business – he has never worked in the private sector – one head of a FTSE 100 company recently given facetime with Miliband was reportedly stunned into silence when Ed asked him “Why exactly do you need to pay your shareholders dividends?” It went just as badly at the FT. Miliband misjudged the room, incorrectly assuming that the FT’s donnish commentators were intrinsically hostile.  His answers to questions were embarrassingly shallow and by the end of the Q&A Lionel Barber, the FT editor not famed for suffering fools gladly, was verging on contempt. Only Phil Stevens could muster any enthusiasm for the Labour leader. The FT is a swing paper for opinion formers, backing Labour in 2005, it backed Cameron in 2010. Insiders say it is now out of the question that the FT will endorse Miliband and his anti-business agenda.

Tory fears that the paper would back Labour because of Miliband’s opposition to an EU referendum are turning to hope that the FT will endorse the coalition’s continuance. Safe in the knowledge that Clegg will thwart any chance of Brexit…


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