Tin Pot Tories in Glasgow
The images doing the rounds of the Prime Minister’s car leaving No10 surrounded by a squad of policemen running beside the vehicle had strong North Korean vibes. It looked like a Tin Pot dictatorship.
🚨 | NEW: Rishi Sunak’s police escort now consists of actual officers running beside his car… as well as pedal bikes pic.twitter.com/5TrNo2HXyt
— Politics UK (@PolitlcsUK) April 24, 2023
Today’s fiasco as the Conservatives gathered in a tiny hall in Glasgow and tried to select a handful of journalists from their most pliant media outlets (take note readers the six invited journalists were from The Daily Telegraph, The Scottish Daily Mail, The Scottish Sun, The Times, The Press and Journal and the Scottish Daily Express) – backfired badly.
Severin Carrell reported: “In chaotic scenes, around 24 newspaper reporters – who were all accredited to attend the Scottish Conservatives’ annual conference – pushed past Tory officials and went into the briefing room. They were then joined by reporters and camera crews from Sky News, STV and BBC Scotland, who asked to be allowed to ask Sunak a single question on his reaction to Richard Sharp’s decision to quit as BBC chair.”
But even this framing is weird. The Scottish press reporting of their own valiant efforts to stand up to the Tory party is hilarious – but so too is the supposed victory of Sharp’s resignation. We live in a country where the chair of the public broadcaster quits saying his continued presence at the BBC “may well be a distraction from the corporation’s good work”. That’s good of him.
It urns out that the investigation by the UK commissioner of public appointments concluded Sharp had broken the rules by failing to declare his link to Johnson’s loan, creating a “potential perceived conflict of interest”. I mean, sure.
The investigation found that Johnson had personally approved Sharp’s appointment as BBC chair, while the individuals running the supposedly independent recruitment process for the job had already been informed that Sharp was the only candidate whom the government would support.
And you say this isn’t a state broadcaster?
Britain is getting more authoritarian.
A statement full of its own importance from the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists’ Association read: “Journalists expect to be able to hold the Prime Minister to account when he is in Scotland as a vital part of the democratic process. Today’s actions to restrict access are unprecedented and undermine that important principle.”
The really funny thing about Sunak’s botched efforts at controlling media access is the perception that the Scottish press pack are a threat. I mean, who did they fear? (!)