Of course the Prime Minister’s new TV spokesperson despises the poor... it was in the job description

Don’t send me messages about this being “unfair”. I do not care.

Do you ever feel like the writers’ room for this season of The Human Disaster aren’t trying very hard? One of the latest subplots in the British storyline is so on-the-nose that it feels like they took a long lunch when they came up with it:

Former Guardian/BBC/ITV News hack turned Chief Spinner for Rishi Sunak and continuing wife of The Spectator’s political editor, Allegra Stratton, has been appointed as the new on-screen spokesperson for the government’s forthcoming ‘presidential-style’ TV briefings. She will be an employee of the Conservative Party and take an explicitly political line. Which is fine because she’s been delivering Tory talking points for her entire career.

“But Mic! That’s unfair!!!”

Alright, let’s look at just two (2) of the countless examples of Stratton taking a running kick at the working classes, while scrupulously avoiding any kind of substantive structural analysis 👇🏻

That was not an interview. That was a interrogation, a shaming, a disdainful sneer that felt a few moments away from Stratton pulling out a ducking stool. This is not simply my assessment of the piece; it was the assessment of hundreds of viewers and Newsnight, which ran the package when Stratton was its political editor, had to apologise for it. And trust me, extracting apologies from BBC News is not easy.

When she made the jump to ITV News, becoming Robert Peston’s side kick, Stratton continued to traffic Tory opinions while she was nominally just “giving you the facts, Jack”. Watch this clip from the Brexit referendum campaign about immigration, where she blows so many dog whistles it’s like she’s running a kennel for racist beagles 👇🏻

In that clip, Stratton appears to be hearing from both sides but the framing is that something “must” be done about immigration. The benefits — manifest and many — are tossed aside. And while she talks about the Remain case, her choice of language and the construction of the clip weighs heavily towards the Leave side. This becomes less surprising when you know that she is married to James Forsyth who works at The Spectator with Mary Wakefield who is married to Dominic Cummings who ran the Leave campaign. How cosy must the interviews for the spokesperson job have been? Who am I kidding? There will have been some chats but all talk of interviews for the post is a smokescreen.

Still, at least Stratton is now in a job where she is going to honestly reflect her views and those of the diabolical dinner party milieu she operates within. Her time at Newsnight and ITV News were characterised by a fairly unsubtle laundering of Tory talking points while ostensibly a commentator from the sidelines. Now she’s on the field of play properly and we know who she’s trying to win the game for openly. And I know what team I’m on — it includes the young woman from that Newsnight interview who Stratton smeared.

Leave a comment