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Alastair Campbell: "The Sun, Mail and Telegraph have been like comics"

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Elections

Alastair Campbell hasn't got a kind word to say about the British media's behaviour during this General Election

Ed Miliband has done better than the public – influenced by the right-wing press – expected him to. I think there’s been a reassessment of him, and of Labour, after these unrelenting attacks.

The thing I always say about 1997 was that we didn’t win because The Sun backed us – The Sun backed us because we were going to win. Papers get more desperate and aggressive the more irrelevant they become. If you look at the independence referendum in Scotland, the No camp would have won by 80/20 if people did what the media told them. Likewise here – if it was up to newspapers, Labour would struggle to get more than two per cent in the polls. Where I worry is the influence the printed press has on the broadcast media – they still take their agenda from it. The Sun, Mail and The Telegraph have been like comics this election. Where it gets ridiculous is when you have David Cameron, who’s known as a fake football fan, forgetting which team he supports. If that had been Ed Miliband, you’d never hear the end of it. But The Telegraph letter from small business people was massive on the BBC, and barely mentioned after it was exposed as a sham.

As an industry, newspapers are in a lot of trouble. Some of them have adapted well to the digital age, but who knows? Some will disappear. 

I hope Ed wins as it would prove you can do it without the press – I think that would be good for democracy.

Alastair Campbell’s Winners: And How They Succeed is out now, published by Hutchinson

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