Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website

Nicholas JonesA journalist of fifty years standing offers a personal and independent assessment of the often troubled relationship between public figures and the British news media.

My aim is to try to monitor events and issues affecting the ethics of journalism and the latest developments in the rapidly-changing world of press, television, radio and the Internet.

Expect too an insight into the black arts of media manipulation. So spin-doctors, Beware!

A journalist of fifty years standing offers a personal and independent assessment of the often troubled relationship between public figures and the British news media.

12 Sep 2019
Imminent review into Scottish policing of miners’ strike

Margaret Thatcher’s interventions to strengthen police tactics during the 1984-85 miners’ strike have been well documented, but her official papers reveal she put pressure on police forces in Scotland as well as in England and Wales.

Revisiting her cabinet papers is timely given the imminent publication of John Scott’s review into the impact of policing on community relations in the Scottish coalfield.

Scott’s review was established by the Scottish government in June 2018 to re-assess the “unprecedented strain” placed on policing and community relationships and the “extremely challenging situations” faced by individual officers.

My own re-examination of the Thatcher cabinet records underlined yet again how the government’s public stance – that “no instructions” were [ ... ]

Trade Union ReportingRead more...
30 Aug 2019
Boris Johnson: Backstop for the pro-Brexit press

Throughout the political chaos of Theresa May’s repeated failure to gain approval for her agreement to leave the European Union, Brexit-supporting newspapers never wavered in their underlying support for Boris Johnson’s hard-line approach.

He was the ever-present cheerleader, a backstop for the pro-Brexit press, waiting in the side-lines, ready to step into the breach to lead the final assault [ ... ]

Political SpinRead more...
02 Jul 2019
Len McCluskey tells 10,000 redundant car workers: “Don’t panic”

“Don’t panic” is the advice to car workers from Len McCluskey, the Unite union general secretary, as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt step up their Brexit No Deal preparations, amid further evidence of the precarious nature of the British automotive industry.

In response to questioning on the Andrew Marr Show (30.6.2019) about warnings that jobs and investment in the car industry could take a 20 [ ... ]

Trade Union ReportingRead more...
19 Jun 2019
Where is the car workers’ voice in the Brexit debate?

While post-Brexit job losses continue to mount in the wake of the accelerating downsizing of the British car industry, the workforce lacks the support of a coherent or cohesive voice speaking up on their behalf.

Motor manufacturing is just one of many industrial sectors where employees are being let down by the failure of the labour and trade union movement to mount a vigorous campaign to safeguard [ ... ]

Trade Union ReportingRead more...
20 Feb 2019
The Independent Group might well thrive despite two-party squeeze

Unlike the breakaway SDP of the early 1980s, the Independent Group of former Labour and Conservative MPs has an unparalleled chance to campaign in a way that might well prevent them being squeezed to extinction by the UK’s all-powerful two-party electoral system.

Traditional party loyalties have been well and truly shattered by the European Referendum. The trauma of Brexit has left the support of [ ... ]

Political SpinRead more...
03 Feb 2019
Talk of “Bribes” for pro-Brexit Labour MPs harks back to demise of coal industry

The sight of Labour MPs from former mining constituencies expressing a readiness to accept cash for their localities in return for a vote in favour of Brexit is a haunting reminder of how easily the Conservatives bought off miners in the past.

Offers of ever-higher redundancy payments enticed many miners back to work during the 1984-85 pit strike, and finally it was these cash incentives that helped [ ... ]

Trade Union ReportingRead more...
03 Feb 2019
Promising to halve net immigration helped re-brand Conservatives as pro-Brexit

David Cameron’s 2010 pre-election pledge to cut immigration by the “tens of thousands” had the unintended, but perhaps inevitable, long-term consequence of stiffening opposition to the European Union within the Conservative Party, and of supercharging the Leave vote in the 2016 EU Referendum.

By putting a figure on his promise, Cameron created a yardstick against which he would be held to account, [ ... ]

Election CampaignsRead more...
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