A regional newspaper has spiked an article penned by David Cameron and accused Downing Street PR officers of “carpet bombing” newspapers across the country with generic “love letters”.
An editorial published in the Yorkshire Post explained how the newspaper refused to give column inches to the Prime Minister after being pitched a “very personal” opinion piece.
Beginning with the words “I love Yorkshire and the Humber”, it was designed to highlight some of the region's tourist attractions and promote English Tourism Week.
Doubts arose, however, over how genuine Mr Cameron’s column was when editors discovered other regional publications had ran remarkably similar pieces. “It appeared very formulaic, lacked empathy and only made passing reference to the misery caused by the Yorkshire floods,” the newspapers comment editor wrote.
They also discovered that several other newspapers had carried similar by-lined pieces, beginning with the same “insincere” words. The Herald, Plymouth’s newspaper, published a piece from the Prime Minister which began: “I love Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.”
It added: “From their stunning beaches and coastal walks to their creative arts projects, this county is one of the many jewels in Great Britain’s crown.”
“I love Northumberland,” a piece in the Newcastle Chronicle started while “I love Lincolnshire” was carried in the Lincolnshire Echo.
The editorial in the Yorkshire Post, added: “How much “love” can one PM provide? I’m guessing similar columns were pitched to other media outlets. There was one problem – the Eastern Daily Press column extolling Mr Cameron’s “love” of “Norfolk” mistook Holkham off the East Coast for the Devon beach of Holcombe. A regular visitor would have known this.
“This is not personal – it has all the hallmarks of a carpet-bomb PR drop that the Yorkshire Post is wise to, and that Mr Cameron is almost certainly unaware of.”
Editors also expressed frustration after waiting six weeks to receive answers to questions in the wake of the floods that hit the region. “It would have been a disservice to our readers to give the Prime Minsiter such a platform when so many homes, businesses and tourist destinations, the latest being Viking Centre and the iconic Settle to Carlisle railway, are paying such a high price for the floods.”
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