Stephen Glover: The nearest thing to a one-party press

Media Studies: If the coalition sticks together it will have to be criticised – or praised – together

Does a coalition government imply a coalition Press? That is what we have at the moment. With the exception of the viscerally pro-Labour Daily Mirror, all daily newspapers support in varying degrees what David Cameron yesterday called a "progressive alliance". The Guardian and the Daily Mail, each of which normally hates almost everything the other stands for, find themselves on the same side.

It is an amazing state of affairs. For the time being at least, we have the nearest thing to a one-party Press we have had since the Second World War. The question is whether it will last. That depends to a large extent on how much support the coalition retains. To judge by a poll in yesterday's Mail on Sunday, which suggested overwhelming approval of the Con-Lib pact, newspapers endorsing the new arrangements are not out of kilter with the public mood.

But in view of the unpopular decisions it is bound to make over debt reduction, the coalition will surely become steadily less popular. Moreover, I would suggest that there are some newspapers which have a sizeable proportion of readers who already have negative or even venomous feelings about the new Government.

Among centre-left newspapers, The Guardian is unhappiest with the coalition. On the eve of the election it enthusiastically backed the Lib Dems, thinking them more radical than Labour. After the results, the paper rooted for a progressive Lib-Lab alliance, and its editor, Alan Rusbridger, is said to have telephoned Nick Clegg to plead with him not to link up with the hated Tories. Polly Toynbee is already chewing the carpet, though there are one or two Guardian columnists, such as Martin Kettle, who are pro-coalition. The tone of the leader column is that of a disappointed parent who cannot bear the partner a once-treasured child has brought home. It won't be long before the paper is attacking the Government despite its Lib Dem contingent.

The Independent is in a not dissimilar position, though it need not extricate itself from a Lib Dem embrace, having avoided explicitly supporting the party. On the whole it dislikes the Tories less than The Guardian does, though I noted a new acerbity towards them during the latter part of the campaign, possibly following Simon Kelner's return to the editorial chair. The paper is traditionally somewhat "drier" than The Guardian over economics, and so may be less exercised by the severity of impending cuts. All in all, though, I would expect a rising tide of criticism for the coalition.

Reservations are also rife among centre-right newspapers, though here the picture is a little more complex. Already it is possible to discern irritation in the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph. Mr Cameron's announcement of a "progressive alliance" will not have helped. On Saturday the Mail splashed with a story suggesting that middle-class families face an extra annual tax bill of £1,200, while on Friday the Telegraph's front page got worked up (reasonably in my view) because the coalition will be pushing through changes in capital gains tax far more draconian than anything envisaged by Labour. The two papers will support the broad aims of a deficit reduction package, though not necessarily the means, but they will berate the Government should it appear too green, lax on immigration or wobbly on Europe.

The Murdoch-owned Times and Sun are in a slightly different boat – the former because it is less naturally Tory and therefore less offended by what is going on; the latter because it is almost irreversibly embroiled with Mr Cameron. The Tory leader rewarded The Sun for its passionate support by giving it his first newspaper interview last Friday, and it responded by declaring that "the youthful Cameron-Clegg duo has defied the critics with their rip-roaring start". This from a paper which only a week previously had pelted the Lib Dem leader in the stocks. Its patience will not be inexhaustible, but of all the centre-right newspapers The Sun is, oddly enough, likely to be friendliest towards the coalition.

However apocalyptic our economic predicament may be, it does not amount to wartime and newspapers will not cling to a coalition Government as they (mostly) did between 1940 and 1945. Some may try to pick and choose, and single out for attack the party in coalition which they hate. But if the coalition sticks together it will have to be criticised – or praised – together. On the whole I would think that this Cam-Clegg, Con-Lib stitch-up may eventually come in for rather more criticism than praise, because it has weakened the bonds that normally connect newspapers to the parties they support. At the end of it all, we may well end up in a situation not unlike the one we are in – with The Guardian and the Daily Mail fighting on the same side, or at any rate against a common enemy.



The Times trims its sails none too soon



The Times and The Sunday Times will soon introduce "paywalls" for online readers. Last week's announcement of substantial cuts of 10 per cent to their editorial budgets is therefore unfortunate timing. If you are charging people for a service that has hitherto been free, it doesn't make a lot of sense to risk reducing its quality.

But what alternative is there? In the year to June 2009, the two papers together lost £87.7m, The Times accounting for by far the lion's share. I make that £240,000 a day, which dwarfs even The Guardian's losses. Over the past year the advertising situation has improved a little, and there have been some economies, but this catastrophic haemorrhaging has barely been stemmed. Bad timing or not, something had to be done. The only wonder is that it was not done before. Most newspapers have already undergone the painful process now facing The Times and Sunday Times, and the delay does not reflect terribly well on senior management at News International. I salute Rupert Murdoch, so vilified by the chattering classes, for spending so much money over so long a period to keep The Times afloat.

s.glover@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'