Crowd Sourcing Opinion v Commentariat Opinion

Mindtracker
Until now we have had no way of knowing what the public really think of the party leaders performance. Instead, the members of the commentariat simply form their insider consensus, unsupported by anything other than their own shared metropolitan prejudices.

For example, the current consensus among the pundits is that it’s not a good idea for Cameron to get angry with Brown. “Too much like Flashman” think the hacks. But lots of voters are angry as hell at the PM and want to see him get a great big slap in the face (hence the popularity in Dan Hannan’s viral video in which he gave the PM the full hairdryer treatment).

Are the pundits right? What do swing voters actually think? At the moment that knowledge isn’t available to anyone unless they have pots of cash to spend. In the U.S. Frank Luntz charges corporate clients a small fortune to run dial groups (as seen on Newsnight) which capture exactly how voters feel about what politicians are saying. If you have the money, the effect of every word and weird facial expression can be measured precisely.

Now that technology is about to be democratised… it is time to cut out Sir Michael White and find out what voters actually think.  Let the crowd-sourced experiment begin – click here or on the button above and you will be able to record your responses blow-by-blow to today’s PMQs clash.  We’ll have the results back later…

+++ Lord Rennard to Get the Crick Treatment on Newsnight +++

Won’t be about his personal mores, just his financial dishonesty.  That Cowley Street moral high ground looking increasingly shaky..

Hat-tip : Liberal Vision

Political Class Starting to Fear the Public's Anger

Not often that Polly Toynbee, Tim Montgomerie and Guido agree: popular anger with the political class is rising.  Something that Polly wants Labour to adjust to by moving policy to the left as well as limiting public-sector fat-cat pay. Tim Montgomerie agrees on the latter but wants the Tories to wake up to popular anger by putting on hair-shirts and getting their own snoughts out of the trough.  Guido welcomes both pundits to the anti-politics banner.

Democracy is broken, the political media elite distant from the people with the two main parties offering no choice and no change.  Osborne is promising no change and blaming the economic crisis.  Taxation will remain penal, spending will remain prolific, there will be some reforms of a failed state bureaucracy but no rollback and no radicalism.  Hannan is at least making the case for a radical shift of power from the centralised state bureaucracy to people at local level.

The Cameroons can’t seal the deal with the people with pragmatism,  “Triangulation Now!” is not the banner that will get people marching.  Voters are angry with Brown and disenchanted with politicians offering more of the same.  Bedazzled during the Blair years, Cameron, Osborne and Hilton have yet to show that they realise the times have fundamentally changed.  Taking strategic advice from the wrong Danny* has left the Tories outflanked on their USP – the LibDems are now the only party promising to reduce the tax burden on the low paid.  Hannan told Newsnight last night that people are fed up of being, “ripped off, lied to and ignored” by politicians.  Disenchantment with politicians has never been higher, most think they are overpaid and dishonest.  Hannan gets it.  This crisis is an opportunity to radically change the plan.

*Finkelstein.  Nice guy, but wrong.  Danny has been consistently one political zeitgeist behind the times all his life.

Exclusive : Paxman : The Faked Evidence of Support

Jeremy Paxman writing in the Mail on Sunday this weekend “Wear a poppy… for the lions killed in war, not the donkeys who send them there” has fine words about the wars that have cost the lives of so many heroes:

“I shall wear a poppy because an act of remembrance once a year is the very least that those of us who have not been asked to risk our lives can offer those who did not have a choice.”

Empty words. In the picture byline above the article bearing his photo he is wearing a poppy. Hypocritically it is faked.

We know what Paxman thinks of faked evidence (watch him grill Policy Exchange’s Dean Godson here). He told Godson with his trademark sneer: “Authenticity is all, as you well know.”

Paxman, who is paid by the BBC £1 million for a three day week on Newsnight, was not available to answer Guido’s questions.

Newsnight Mess Up the Market Report Yet Again

Kirsty correctly informed us that the pound had “tumbled almost one and three quarter cents” yet the graphic had it up +1.74 cents. Viewers have to guess the truth, one wonders does anyone at Newsnight actually care?

Guido watched Randall Live on Sky earlier this evening interviewing Martin Sorrell. An adult conversation about business and the markets with some interesting insights. Sorrell explained what he was up to re-domiciling WPP in Ireland. It wasn’t at all the hectoring quasi-Marxist business bashing that so often characterises the BBC’s reporting – which might be fine for Guardian readers but is pretty tiresome for people interested in business news. Randall is recommended.

Newsnight is a Shambles, Come Back Peter Barron

Guido has given up on bothering to report the number of times they get the market report wrong, suffice to say that it might as well be a random number. If you can’t rely on a simple thing like that what does it say about the more nuanced reporting? On the day last week that U.S. markets had the huge downward move, Newsnight had a graph showing that it had plunged from roughly 10,100 to, errm, 10,400. Pathetically bad.

Grossman managed to pick up one decent story at Labour Party conference which led to the 3.15 a.m. drink fuelled McBride briefing. Two-ways from the conferences were persistently plagued by technical problems. One night Paxman said on air what all the viewers were thinking “it is a bit of a shambles here tonight.” They spent the conference season playing “Place the Face”, demonstrating that Michael Crick may have a more promising career as a game show host than an investigative reporter. Just a bit of fun? The Guidoisation of politics? Maybe, however is that dumbing down really a good use of the expensive resources of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme? When Crick finished his Place the Face finale piece on Wednesday, Paxman sneered and Crick exited the stage a minute or two later walking across screen in front of the camera, a dark Crick shaped shadow obscuring the Newsnight discussion with Finkelstein and the pair of cliche merchants he spars with. It was emblemic of the state of the show. Amateurish isn’t the word for it.

They have a Trotskyite reporting from Wall Street on the travails of capitalism – comical. Iain Martin in the Telegraph has also lost patience with the only show the entire Westminster Village watches. They have yet to finalise a replacement for Peter Barron. They need someone to get a grip on it because it is becoming a joke.

Newsnight Messed Up the Market Report Yet Again

Are they just doing this to wind Guido up? The Dow closed up some 1700% yesterday according to Newsnight. Do they use a monkey or a random number generator for their market reports? Every other night they screw up this simple report. They should just give up because wrong information is worse than no information. The Dow actually closed at 10,609.66 according to Sky News – a credible, reliable news source.

Comrade Mason Replies

After the kerfuffle about the mixed up market report last night this (presumably genuine) communication from Newsnight’s business reporter and trade union leader has come in:

Guido – I should probably have said the value of its shares fell 48% in after market pricing, or some similar gobbledygook. As your other commenters point out the issue of whether there is a futures “market” is philosophically moot. Unfortunately the words “futures market” were in a piece of paper printed off into my hands literally as the 5-strong team of makeup women and masseurs was prepping me for my live appearance and seconds before we went on air. The words “futures market” entered my brain while I was puzzling whether the 48% fall really mattered in such an illiquid market. But hey, guys: if you think I sound like a hysterical Trot, you should listen to McCain!

Fair enough. Guido is in no position to criticise someone for screwing up live on Newsnight…

Incidentally, that last sentence is an interesting point, Guido will only note that the lead piece on the show tonight is scheduled to be “Does capitalism still work?” Producers with a sense of humour…

Newsnight Reports on a Market That Doesn’t Exist

Well this is a first, they have in the past reported up markets down, down markets up and once even reported dramatic moves in a market that was closed. Paul Mason has just breathlessly reported from New York that a late breaking after market story on the Bloomberg newswire has “halved AIG’s share price on the futures markets”. There is no open futures market for shares, as anybody who knew anything about financial markets would know.

There are electronic markets where stocks trade after hours. Perhaps that is what he meant? With Newsnight’s market reporting you just never know.

Trot Along to Socialist Unity’s Session with Newsnight’s Economics Editor Tonight

Newsnight’s Paul Mason managed, as some noted last night, to analyse previous economic downturns by going from Barber (Tory) to Howe (Tory) but skipping Callaghan (Labour) when Britain had to get an emergency bailout from the IMF.

It does seem odd to have a Trotskyite sympathiser as the business reporter on the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs show. It is all very well him briefing his comrades tonight on “The Recession – What does it mean for us?” (Suspect it will mean that capitalism is in terminal crisis since it has always been according to the Trots who sell newspapers).

Guido just wishes Comrade Mason would concentrate less on supporting the workers revolution and more on making sure that Newsnight manages to reliably report whether the FTSE is up or down on the day. How hard can that be?

Newsnight Economic Analysis

Guido is quite excited. Have had a few Guinnesses. Newsnight are going to do some analysis of the foreign exchange market (they read about it on Guido). These are the same people who called it upsy daisy Friday. (Analysis of Ms Fawkes aged 3, more accurate.)

UPDATE : Ooh – Crick says people really are “pissed off”.

Newsnight Cock Down Up the Market Report Yet Again

A co-conspirator reports that Newsnight reported the Dow up 171 points tonight. Reassuring in these times of financial market uncertainty. Alas Guido has to report that the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs programme (budget £3 billion) has managed to get it wrong yet again. The Dow closed down 171 points. This would never have happened in Peter Barron’s day, oh hold on…

How hard can it be to report the closing price of the world’s most watched market correctly? Can’t they get a trained monkey to do it?

+++ Newsnight’s Peter Barron Quits for Google +++

The Press Gazette is reporting that Newsnight’s editor Peter Barron is to leave the BBC at the end of the week to become UK head of public relations for Google. Wonder what it was about the multi-million pound stock options package that made him quit one of the most politically influential jobs in broadcasting?

Not Emily, Not Cathy

Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis has emailed back to say that she hasn’t dined Chez Cameron and she isn’t the source of the Nancy Cameron story. Guido now paging Daisy McAndrew, Kirsty Wark, Martha Kearney….

U.S. Markets Closed for Public Holiday Today

Just Guido being helpful. Wouldn’t want you guys to get it wrong. Again…

UPDATE 20.15 : A co-conspirator points out that BBC Radio 4’s 6 o’clock news has reported the Dow down 29 points – which was Friday’s change. Doh!

Newsnight Reports Valentine’s Day Market Massacre(That Never Happened)

Newsnight just doesn’t do business reporting very well. Guido suspects this is because they are neither interested in, or sympathetic to business. They would much rather review some new feminist state-subsidised play than the FTSE 100’s profitability. The saga of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme being repeatedly unable even to report the market closing price correctly has been pointed out by Guido before. Peter Barron told us after the last multi-day FTSE fiasco “I despair! We are having a complete revision of the way we collect and check the markets information.”

On Valentines Day Newsnight reported (above) another bad day in the markets, off 80 points or nearly one and half percent down. Time for a stiff whiskey nightcap before examining your stock portfolio in the morning?

No. It was down 0.8 points, some 0.0136%, which is what market experts call “flat”. Stephanie Flanders, Newsnight’s economics editor, said after the last time this happened that it was “unforgivable and embarrassing”. Clearly it was forgivable because it was announced yesterday that she has been promoted and will now be the BBC’s chief economics editor. Jeff Randall is on Sky…

Hat-tip : Musing Markets

Back on Newsnight

Guido will be contributing to the Newsnight discussion tonight on the demise of Peter Hain. Guido doesn’t normally do television, but this is a special occasion…

BBC Invade America, Taxpayers Only Casualties

As Speedbird pointed out in the comments earlier, the BBC has Jonathan Beale, Justin Webb, Kevin Connelly, Matt Frei, Jon Sopel and David Grossman covering the primaries.
All reporting on the same thing, all giving the same (incorrect) analysis. Actually to be fair, David Grossman for Newsnight was different, telling us how he’d accidentally put diesel in the car and even filming his own cameraman and producer. At any minute he seemed to be on the verge of saying “Hello mum, I’m in America, on the telly!”

Does the duplication of efforts produce anything of value? Well it gives us clear evidence that the BBC has no budgetary discipline, massive over-staffing and a lot of West Wing fans in News & Current Affairs.

The BBC is hardly likely to get a scoop unless it can track down Steve Morgan, Peter Hain’s fundraiser who is in hiding, hopefully doing for Hilary what he did for Hain…

UPDATE : Comment makers point out that Simon Mayo is a long way from the Radio 1 Roadshow, he is reporting the primaries for 5 Live. Radio 4’s Jim Naughtie is there as well. Kevin Connolly is padding out 5 Live’s coverage as is somebody called Rhod Sharpe. Jonathan Marcus and James Coomarasamy are covering for the World Service.

Any more Beeboids across the Atlantic?

Enjoy A Night In

Even in Wexford, courtesy of Sky and the wonders of broadband, it is possible for Guido to watch both Newsnight and Question Time simultaneously. Newsnight is going to have some devestating revelations from David Grossman and Question Time should be a laugh.

Guido is on his second bottle, one of the better Margaux – well it has been a good day. Always liked that Grossman chap…

Does Newsnight Know What Day It Is?

Last week Andrew Marr had a go at Sky News for being less accurate than BBC News and Current Affairs. So two days of misreporting from Newsnight gives us a good laugh.

On Thursday, BBC Newsnight reported that the “Dow Jones was substantially down amidst more credit crunch fears”.

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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