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« Hustings Report (10): Newport | Main | It's a leadership candidate, Frodo, but not as we know it... »


Richard Carey

Sorry, Barbara, I tried to restrain myself, I really did, but just couldn't resist teasing a little on this one:

"The media will turn on your Prince just as sure as the sun rises and then it will be too late. I spent 10 years in PR and I know more about the media than I ever wish to know."

Honestly? Is this quote an example of the quality of advice you issued to clients in those ten years, and how much did you charge?

Normal serious service will be resumed very shortly...

Barbara Villiers

You're missing my point - you don't manipulate the media - they manipulate you. You don't work with them - they dictate the terms. And when they are tired of the game they dump you. I am not saying we can't play the game (as long as we know the rules) what I am saying is that in this contest, they dictated the rules and a lot of sheep followed. I don't believe in having such an all powerful media - it offends me because they are so self serving and think they can play God.

You are probably not old enough (some of you) to remember when News of the World decided they wre the arbiter of morals in the 60's and were out to get the Rolling Stones. They then had somebody 'plant' hashish in a ball of yarn in Brian Jones' house. The guy didn't knit and neither did any of his girlfriends. He was framed and it helped to contribute to his decline. This is documented fact. They tried with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and even though they were arrested they were tough as old boots. Brian Jones was not - the press knew it and hounded him to his grave.

Fast forward to now and the Kate Moss saga. I don't care is she snorted all of Colombia - who are the Mirror to start a witch hunt - she's a model, not a role model. Are all the Mirror hacks whiter than white? No. But they declared themselves the moral arbiters and if they took her down well tough on her they figured. So, please lets not underestimate the viciousness of the media or their hypocrisy. Don't give them any more power than they already have.

Barbara Villiers

I had some very famous clients who featured on a lot of magazine covers. I remember when on particular female client gained weight - and very same press who feted her then crucified her - would try to find the most unflattering photos they could find and print them. Because she knew their game the pain was minimal and she quickly learned not to put herself into silly situations by wearing the very thing that would not flatter her. We also decided we'd have our revenge and later did when she had a career revival - we made them jump thru hoops and got approval on everything - something that only huge stars get. So, I know my onions and I speak bcause I do want the party to be in power - not because I want power at any price but because it is best for the country and for me and mine. The first rule for my clients was never to trust the press and I was always proved right.

Samuel Coates

What do you propose that isn't undemocratic?

Barbara Villiers


Mark Fulford

Barbara, while it’s true that British media puts too much power in too few hands, I dispute that Cameron’s success is a media creation. I came to the conclusion that Cameron should be leader neither through being a sheep, nor as a result of what the papers say. I formed my own judgment after watching the candidates in action and listening to what they say. In this very well fought election, the balance of power lays in the hands of informed people, not the media.

Richard Carey

I hate to be caught defending Barbara, but she did say that "I am not calling everyone who supports Cameron a moron - I am sure at least the people on this blog came to their own decisions but the general public is not like that."

So you and I are exempted from that.

Then again, the "general public" are after all rightly the ultimate arbiters of our fitness to hold office, and to insult their intelligence in such a way is probably deeply unwise. At least, given my presumption that political parties aim to win elections...

Perhaps I'm not such an effective advocate for the defence, after all!

Samuel Coates

Barbara, you posted again just before me... I was referring to your dislike of the power of the press. What can we effectively do about it that doesnt involved curtailing freedom of speech?


What can we effectively do about it that doesnt involved curtailing freedom of speech?

Oh that's so simple. 1) Put VAT on newspapers and magazines as elsewhere in Europe

2)Launch tax raids on News International and open up Rupert Murdoch in the same way as Conrad Black

3) Make all media outlets publish a Financial Overview (annual Report) once each year in the newspaper/website listing salaries of Top 7 Executives

4) Make them issue audited circulation figures quarterly, and de-criminalise the BBC licence fee by repealing sections of the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act

5) Make TV stations list all sponsors and major suppliers; breakdown all political affiliations of all staff to produce a general overview; and produce breakdown by residential postcode.

Barbara Villiers


Of course we couldn't do a thing nor would we want to. I am speaking about buying into what the press says and knowing how awful they really are, especially in this country. Now of course this calls for a certain amount of sophistication that obviously a lot of people don't have and why would they? I am not being elitist - simply honest and I know that this quality is not appreciated on this blog.

I don't know the answer and only wish I did - it's fairly new development. For example, in the Kennedy days the American press knew about JFK's womanising and never divulged it. The truth is - who needed to know? Did the fact that he bonked Marilyn Monroe make him a bad president? Did it affect the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Civil Rights Act? There was a certain amount of respect and decorum. All that is gone now. And the general public (and let's not say every single one of them are geniuses)tend to be impressionable, or don't have the time or inclination to be well informed. Most of them don't have the abiding interest in politics that we on this blog do.

This campaign has been totally media led and Cameron was able to ride the crest of the wave. But it is important to remember that somewhere down the line (and it will be sooner rather than later) the media will decide he is no longer flavour of the month and the result won't be very nice. And then it will be too late because we will already have a leader who may or may not be up to the job. Notice I say may or may not before you jump all over me. The point is when we allow the media to make our minds up for us (I am speaking in the general sense)we are not in a good place.

People tend to be sheep - I didn't originate this idea. And I still maintain that the media jumped on the bandwagon at Conference and it snowballed. Because people are sheep, not one newspaper wanted to be the lone voice for Davis. And you must keep in mind that the very same media had decided before conference that Davis was the man and was going to be the nest Prime Minister. So, one mediocre speech makes him a failure and unfit to lead? I don't think so.

Maybe the truth is that your man got a series of lucky breaks and he took them. Who wouldn't? But please let's be real about them. The media engineered the whole coronation - it has been a great story. Heaven help us when they think they've been had.

hayek's grandad

BV -

"Oh but we should have a leader that reflects your prejudice?"

I didn't say that nor is it ever likely to happen, that wont stop me being polite about those that do lead the party whilst arguing my corner in a civil manner.

"I don't have to keep quiet - this is not a police state and again, I will chose whom I support and if I stay in this Party. I don't have to subscribe to your fascist credo. Silencing dissenters went out with Soviet Russia."

I didn't say this either. I said it would be good if we could avoid saying things like 'make my flesh creep' about the candidates. Talk all you like about policies or media performance or almost anything, but if you want see an end to the present government than it would better suit those aims if you refrained from talking about representatives of the conservative party in such derogatory terms. Of course if your aim is to prop up the present government it is a free country and you are entitled to continue to do so in whatever manner you see fit, including personal attacks on the leader of the opposition.

"Oh and if you think the media listens to us, think again - they dictate and idiots follow. If the hat fits..."

I guess if you can't be civil about the candidates...


Barbara, you say Cameron was 'able to ride the crest of a wave'. That's why I've voted for him, because he has the ability to do that. Politics is about timing and skill and Cam has demonstrated he can do that while Davis simply couldn't.

Imagine this was a surfing competition - Cameron would have won it by spotting the right wave at the right moment and riding it using his talent - Davis was too busy on the beach checking the 'substance' of his board.


Barbara you clearly were not at the conference. There was no sheep element David Davis was consistently terrible, not just on the conference floor but at the fringe meetings as well.

The media attention did not create his candidacy, he created the media attention. There was huge momentum towards him thanks to an excellent campaign at the conference - which is a very media insulated environment.

Barbara Villiers

Listen Grandad,

I shall speak as I see fit - would you like to bethe one brave enough to try and stop me?

As to the Michael and Wasp, believe what you like to justify your positions. You both clearly know better about the media than a media professional. Really I can't be arsed to argue.



Every thread seems to end up with repitition of same arguements - could we have these posted on side so as to save valuable typing time and reduce the reading needed to get to posts concerning the content:

Arg. 1 David Cameron is a media creation with no policies and DC supporters are sheep following a vain hope. Whereas DD is experienced and has the policies needed to win.

Arg 2. David Davis is an unelectable core-vote contender who will not attract voters outside the core. Whereas DC understands the need to re-position the Party and make our policies relevant.

Arg 3. David Cameron's supporters are trying to stifle debate and plan to kick out those true blue conservatives who support DD's campaign.

Arg. 4 David Davis supporters are blinkered & old school hang and flog em types who don't understand the Conservative Party needs to change.

We could the just have posts saying "Arg 1" and responses "Arg 4 " thus cutting down unneccessary energy consumption and helping reduce this site's carbon footprint.

Mark Fulford

Barbara, if you're a media professional, you must be a fully paid-up subscriber to "there's no such thing as bad publicity".

Barbara Villiers

No, I don't subscribe to that. Hostile publicity can kill a career stone dead and I am also a firm believer in 'quality, not quantity'. The public always react badly to media overkill.

A good PR plan is exactly that a plan - otherwise you are a hostage to fortune. My criticism of Davis' PR is that it was reactive - not pro-active.


Ted, we'd all love to stop Barbara ruining threads, but I'm not sure Big Brother is the price we should all have to pay.


in the Kennedy days the American press knew about JFK's womanising and never divulged it

Journalists are Democrat; Joe Kennedy was a significantly influential godfather to hold sway in certain circles.

The press was hardly circumspect in the way it went for Richard Nixon, nor in the way it had helped Sen Joseph McCarthy; and you might argue that until Rupert Murdoch bought the remnants of The Daily Herald from the unions and renamed it The Sun, Britain did not need to know much about sleeping partners of politicians -

Since the papers have collapsing circulation on both sides of the Atlantic we can assume they are desperate to titillate rather than inform

Barbara Villiers

Rick, I can see where you are coming from re JFK but the press then were still somewhat principled. By the time Nixon happened it was the 70's and all bets were off.

Can't remember McCarthy - believe it or not it was before my time!



Isn't just the Duchess - seems like each thread develoves into same set off arguements about the candidates. Happy to discuss/argue drugs policy, green issues etc. with others with strong opinions (James, Daniel, Rick, Malcolm, Jack or Barbara to name a few) but why does it always turn to Arg 1 thru 4?



sorry - devolves


You never do argue Barbara. You assert your own experience as incontestable fact, which it really isn't you know.


Ted - Because Barbara refuses to expand her argument, uses personal abuse and will not concede a single point - It closes down every thread where she posts. The people she insults rightly stay and fight, but on her terms, while the rest of us move on. It's awful and embarrasing as this is a public site.


By the time Nixon happened it was the 70's and all bets were off.

Nixon was 1950s - Veep to Ike

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