Monday, May 29, 2006

The Great British Press

Peter Mandelson was on the wireless this morning talking about The Royal Festival Hall. At least that’s what he was booked to talk about and that’s what the Today ‘listen again’ site claims he was talking about. But naughty James Naughtie couldn’t resist wasting most of the interview on the topic of the Millennium Dome.

Peter’s grandfather, Herbert Morrison, had led the project for the 1951 Festival of Britain of which the Hall is the only survivor. Like the Dome project it had had its many detractors in the press and the Conservatives destroyed all traces except the Hall when they returned to power after the 1951 general election. Many people forget that the Dome project was started by the Tories and that the flamboyant Michael Heseltine had led the project until Labour came to power in 1997.

I wonder if the media would have been so hostile if the Conservatives had still been in power in 2000? Of course many journalists were mightily hacked (ho ho) off on the night of 31st December 1999 because they were held up at Strafford Station on their way to the Dome’s opening night by trouble on t’Jubilee line. This will have added fuel to their usual downbeat assessment of any large project in Britain.

I never set foot inside the place but my family had a wonderful day in the Dome. I was due to collect them outside it in the late afternoon but I kept getting text-messages telling me to arrive later than planned. They eventually emerged about eight in the evening.

But the media was determined it was to be a flop. How they love to run down anything new especially, but not exclusively as the Wembley Stadium saga shows, if it’s a government project. Why do they do it? Probably forthe same reason that they hype alarmist stories; as Political Teenager points out in the comments box on my post about Bird Flu, “Fear sells papers...” and so, they must hope, does gloomy pessimism........


At 12:50, Blogger Political Teenager said...

I visited the Dome on a school trip and it was quite good. There was loads of stuff to do and oddly enough for a school trip we learned about things. The media definately made it out to be a lost cause before it was.

Re the last post: a headline of "everything is all alright" would never sell anything. One just needs to look at the rubbish they print over the summer whilst the MPs are on holiday to try and keep readers buying the papers.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home