Saturday, May 13, 2006

At Westminster

The second thought experiment is this: what is all political journalists were banned by their editors from going to Westminster? This came to me while delivering a lecture to a bunch of MPs, peers and others - don't ask. It struck me that hanging around this rather small and self-important place was no way to cover politics. In fact, whatever they are covering there, it can't be politics. Politics is what happens to actual people, not the soap opera of the House of Commons. Labour has been so absurdly successful because it has blinded the media to this obvious fact. As a result, they can say what they like and nobody will check whether their words are either true or effective, only what impact they have in Westminster. For the last decade, we have been perusaded that politics is what happens among MPs. That can't be right. I do dimly remember political journalism about the real world. But, then again, I am fantastically old.

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