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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Executive - OTE £37,000

£16000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The ideal candidate will want t...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada