It turns out that there’s going to be an election soon.
But if you’ve been reading the Daily Mail exclusively over the last couple of weeks you might not know that. They seem to be very disinclined to mentioning it.
This, let us not forget, is quite a big one; we’re definitely going to get a new government of some form. Search the Mail’s online presence as much as you like; there’s barely a hint. Why is this? Maybe they’re holding back for a big push for Cameron nearer the time? Maybe they're torn between UKIP and the Tories?
The Guardian seems to be gloomily and wearily following Nigel Farage about the place, watching him be optimistic and unpleasant.
They're also engaging in loose speculation about Labour's relationship with the SNP, an account of Ed Balls forcing George Osborne into a promise of a live debate, though no-one is quite sure if he’s really going to do it, and a report of Nick Clegg telling his party that they won’t do as badly as they think they’re about to.
Another article focuses on the great non-story that the election is “too close to call”.
So there’s a definite air of vagueness and uncertainty everywhere, as though neither journalists nor politicians are really sure what’s going on at the moment. To a degree, the vagueness mirrors that of the politicians themselves. Commitment to definite policies comes with the territory of coalition politics.
There’s not much more to add over at the Express, except that it was not-quite-ruling-out a Labour/SNP coalition (before Miliband was forced to do just that), uses the verb “squirm” in reference to Ed Balls and also makes the agreement to a debate sound (a) more likely to actually happen and (b) quite astonishingly macho, given the combatants. “Let’s go for it, one to one,” they quote. A terrifyingly gladiatorial image.
Martin Townsend lays into Ed Milliband on the grounds that he’s using Justine Milliband to defend him in a piece which manages to compare the Labour leader to a guilty schoolboy and (somehow) to the “jihadi brides” in a way that I’m really not sure that I understand.
He also manages to throw in a reference to the Tories as “bullying” and make it sound as though he thinks this is a good thing. Pleasant.