Only the fourth person says anything sensible UPDATE

Busy day today, phone calls, visit to a resident,emails, lunch appointment, and taking down Christmas decorations.

I paused in the last activity to catch Sky News, and the sports report on tonight’s football matches [Wolves at home to Chelsea … hoping for a magical win].

So the Sky newsreader Jeremy Thompson hands over to sports reporter Chris Skudder, who then talks about the evening’s footie matches. He then hands over at the Arsenal ground to a Sky sports reporter, who then asks Andy Gray – a sports commentator – his opinion on the match.

That’s three people before you get to anyone talking sense.

UPDATE: Hurrah, Wolves beat Chelsea. To bed a happy man. BBC match report.

Quote of the day: on political donations

Jeff Randall, on Sky News Randall and Boulton Unleashed, just signed of with a lovely quote about Labour raising £1.49 million in donations in the second week of the campaign, against £2.22 million for the Tories, and £120,000 for the LibDems,

“If money talks, it’s not having a conversation with Nick Clegg.”

The Boulton Factor and Press Review fizzes nicely

The Boulton Factor Sky News 11.00 to 11.30 pm, offers an excellent end of day summary on political events of the day. Even better though is Adam Boulton’s Press Preview, which follows from 11.30 to 12.00 pm. Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail, and Kevin Maguire of the Mirror, review the political stories of the day. I’ve said before, it’s wonderful knock-about stuff, and last night’s edition brought many a smile to my face.

With much po-faced political discussion on TV, the sparky exchanges between the two political journalists is a pleasure to watch.

Election coverage; who’s best

Lordy, lordy, save us from partisan political panels. I’ve just listened to Eddie Mair interview the PM programmes new election panel – Lord Steel, Baroness Prosser, and Lord Parkinson. Political insight – zero; impartiality – zippo; enjoyment – zilch.

This is but one of many such panels brought together to shed supposed light on the election. Do they provide insight? No, a thousand times, no.

So where to go for insightful, brief, and hopefully impartial political reporting of daily election events?

The Daily Press: Certainly not The Guardian – too quick to find any fault to rubbish the opposition; the Financial Times Westminster Blog – only slightly less partial than the Guardian; The Times – probably the best of the daily press.

TV Channels: I’ve looked at them all over the last few days. This is my judgement. BBC News – yes extensive coverage, but there’s just such a lot of it. Of course, Nick Robinson is a must read blog, he’s generally where the action is; ITV News – surprisingly good and balanced coverage with some good blogs, especially Tom Bradby’s excellent blog; Channel 4 – sorry, I’m no fan, but a couple of good blogs. especially the FactCheck blog; Sky News – obviously not the 15 minutes, every 15 minutes bit.  Now, Randall and Boulton Unleashed, that’s going to be my choice. Two tough hombres that see through political chicanery every night between 7 and 8 pm.   

Twittershere, Blogosphere, etc: Impartially and depth, well, you’ll have to seek that out for yourself. I couldn’t possibly comment ……

Lovely knock-about commentary from Andrew and Kevin

I watched the Daily Mail’s consultant editor, Andrew Pierce and the Daily Mirror’s political editor, Kevin Maguire reviewing the papers on Sky News late last night. Amusing and enjoyable political banter between the two of them. Pierce lightens Maguire’s seriousness, and vice versa. Tribal politics delivered with deftness. A good combination.

And lo, they’re back together this morning on Sky News reviewing this initial skirmishing of the election campaign. This is the couple to watch during the election campaign.

Gordon and bullying, story continues to run, and run

Jeff Randall has two scalps this week. Yesterday it was David Cameron being caught out not knowing what ‘Others’ were in a pie chart of government expenditure. Today Jeff teased explosive revelations from Chancellor Alistair Darling about the ‘forces of hell’ unleashed on him by Gordon Brown’s No.10 team.

No matter how hard Labour try to kill off the story about the ‘culture of fear’ at the heart of government and Gordon Brown’s temper tantrums, the story continues to run. What Alistair Darling said to Jeff Randall today, is no mere ‘tittle-tattle’, as Jon Craig reports. It is the considered words of the second most important person in the cabinet, and an avowed long time friend of Gordon Brown. So, when he describes what it’s like working with Gordon, his words really count. This is the report of the conversation in The Sun:

But asked about the furore in 2008, after he predicted that the UK was on the brink of its first recession in 60 years, he said that “the forces of hell were unleashed”.

Asked whether that had been orchestrated by No 10, he said: “The Tories as well. It was a weekend you could have done without. I do not know why the briefers did what they did. One day maybe they will explain.

Iain Dale has the transcript of the interview. The phrase, ‘unleashed the forces of hell’ is not one that you’d utter without having been through ‘hell’. Oddly, these words from the Chancellor will strengthen his budget proposals, that’s of course if the Gordon’s controlling ‘forces of hell’ aren’t unleashed again.

Ooops… hattip ToryBear for picture.

Even journalists are tired of Labour and this Parliament

Jon Craig, Sky News’ chief political correspondent, is in my list of the top 10 political journalists. Being so close to parliament, MP’s, party politics, and the government press office seems to induce both cynicism and disdain. Proof of this, if it was ever needed, is in two blog posts by Jon Craig in Sky News’s Boulton & Co blog this week.

The first instance is about Prime Ministers Questions. Here’s what Jon thinks about them following news that PMQ’s could be moved to Thursday’s under David Cameron:

“The Tory leader also wants “substantive business” in the Commons on a Thursday, rather than the dross (my word, not his) that fills the order paper on Thursdays these days. I’ve always suspected that the downgrading of Thursday business (and Gordon Brown’s moving of the weekly Cabinet meeting from Thursday to Tuesday) was a deliberate move to allow the tartan mafia in the Cabinet – and former Speaker Michael Martin – to slope off back to Scotland soon after PMQs on a Wednesday.”

“So yes, let’s have PMQs and serious Commons business on a Thursday. And while we’re about it, how about moving the Cabinet meeting back to Thursday?”

Secondly, it’s about the investigation into the Damian Green affair where the Tory MP’s office in parliament was raided by police. Jon Craig wonders, ever so subtly, about the reasons for claims by parliamentary staff about the timing of publication of news of this event. After all, Jon was first to break the news on Sky News:

“Cock-up, conspiracy or cover-up? Jack’s defiant response and his refusal to admit he may have been mistaken about the time he learned of Green’s arrest might lead some people to rule out a cock-up.”

Ooeee, Gordon’s glower

Gordon's glowerTo round off the Gordon Brown and Adam Boulton interview from the previous post, here are two short clips of what happened at the end of the interview, catch Gordon’s glower, Adam’s surprise, and in the second clip, Kay Burley’s reaction.

The first clip is of Gordon’s chilling glower and Adam’s surprise, and then the second clip is of Kay Burley’s lovely reaction. Gordon and recovery; no chance, nada, nix, zippo, not one chance in hell.

UPDATE: Midday

Seems everwhere you look in the political blogosphere there’s a post of the video of Gordon’s Sky interview; obviously to be expected in the usual places, such as Guido, but in the FT’s Westminster blog too, shows the damage Gordon has done with his angry attitude.

Bullying and boorish Gordon, you decide

Brown and Boulton

Brown and Boulton

Here’s an interview between Sky’s Adam Boulton and Gordon Brown. Gordon is bullying, boorish, rude and intolerant. He seems to assume the interview is simply a platform for him to speak, and not be asked any questions. It’s one of the worst political interviews I’ve seen. But hey, that’s my opinion. See for yourself, and decide if I’m right.

The London Evening Standardthinks Gordon Brown lost his cool with Adam Boulton. I do too.