Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeKathy GyngellKathy's TCW week in review

Kathy’s TCW week in review


WELL, that certainly was the week that was. What a week, in the words of TCW reader Russell Hicks, the genius behind the wonderful images of the Reform poster lorries on some of our articles this week! Yes, quite some week. In fact it’s been a blinking roller-coaster.

I can’t quite remember now what polls were published when, but the unstoppable Farage momentum was glaringly apparent from the start of the week. Despite all the silent censorship and the not-so-silent smearing, one packed-out rally after another culminated at the national rally at the NEC at Birmingham. Reform was surging in the polls and threatening to get much more of the vote than the mainstream media were comfortable with, still locked into their cosy uni-party world. Much of their ConLabLibDem coverage passed me by, thanks to having tossed my BBC TV licence into the bin years back. Who is Sir Ed Davey exactly? A male Penny Mordaunt? I guess that must have worked for some voters – or so his tally of 71 seats suggests.

Four weeks ago I wrote ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’. A week or so later into the election I made a commitment to ‘balance’ in Nigel Farage and Reform’s favour. I was right. The full story of his and Reform’s treatment at the hands of the national newspapers and the broadcasters is yet to be told. The Channel 4 ‘sting’, as the evidence suggests it was, was just the most obvious tip of the iceberg. That Ofcom has refused to investigate this election interference says it all. All those other aspects I outlined in my election reaction article on Friday.

My own week began with yet another working Sunday, watching and reporting (for Monday’s TCW) Farage’s Birmingham National Rally and Broken Britain speech. That evening an email from Reform landed asking supporters to go and help with Nigel’s final Clacton campaign. I felt torn: guilty about not stepping up to the plate, but realising that two long days and very early starts from London would put paid to TCW’s Wednesday and Thursday (election day) editions.

Paddy Benham-Crosswell, our man in Swansea West, reassured me (do read his report from the stump if you missed it). He said I was more useful behind my desk! Tramping the streets of Clacton would be far from the best use of my talents, he kindly added! And as it transpired, Farage’s Clacton super-majority proved I wasn’t needed or missed.

What Paddy himself achieved in Swansea West with blood, sweat and tears was just as remarkable. I am very proud of our TCW star. From a standing start and NO party backup he achieved a 17 per cent swing to Reform from a mainly working-class Labour vote defecting to him. Farage is fully aware of the fact that the majority of his candidates had no party backing or help at all. Like the fifth Reform UK MP to be elected, James McMurdock, who won South Basildon and East Thurrock. Farage promised at his press conference on Friday (more on that in a minute) that that would all change: a top priority would be to get a party machine up and running.

So I slogged away all week monitoring the Reform UK campaign, tweeting, responding to emails, commissioning articles, writing and editing (all my usual daily stuff) from behind my desk, feeling I was not part of a moment in history that I ought to be a part of. (I am not usually quite so egoistic but I am getting older and my time for action is getting shorter). I also began to fear disappointment. Come Election Day, and despite all the excitement of the 10pm ’13 seat’ exit poll news, I began to feel depressed. Would it go phut, I asked Margaret by email that evening. She was worried too. By the middle of the night and despite the big ‘coming second’ results in the Sunderland and Blyth and Ashington seats, I began to fear it had.

Waking up to just four seats, to be honest, was a disappointment. It took me the best part of the morning with help from Priscilla and Margaret (who are both better at numbers than me and grasped what they meant more quickly) to get a grip on the fact that Farage had triggered the earthquake needed. They geared me up. I was just putting the finishing touches to my analysis (please read as it took quite some concentration and effort!) when an email landed inviting me to Reform’s post-election press conference in Westminster. I had just an hour to brush up, get my slap on and get there!

I made it! I got there in time, to an already packed One Birdcage Walk, the place humming. I said hello to a weary Tim Stanley from the Telegraph who said he had been up all night at Rishi Sunak’s, so not to expect any pleasantries from him. Fair enough. He’s a good reporter and an old acquaintance and early ally of mine and Laura’s. He’s been one of the few to give Farage the time of day. Then we trooped in and I had to pointedly tell Reform’s press officer that I was press, from TCW, and I would be sitting with the press. The older I get the bolder I get! Oh yes, he said, a tad embarrassed. Well, I was damn well not going to be treated as anything else. Not when TCW has given Reform such good coverage!

Then the show began. I say ‘show’ because of the orchestrated heckling that disrupted the first ten minutes or so. The MSM loved it and turned their cameras round so quickly you’d be forgiven for believing they were ready and waiting for it – the clips about racism charges made by hecklers were put out by ITV etc on social media within minutes. That’s how they keep the mud sticking. A remarkably untired-looking Nigel Farage took it all in his usual affable stride. Were they actors, he asked above the hubbub. Not a question that the press are ever interested in taking up. You can view the hour-long event here. Excellent speeches from four of the Reform UK MPs (Farage, Tice, Anderson and the new boy on the block, Rupert Lowe, who has just committed his monthly MP salary to Yarmouth’s needs – the fifth result had not been declared at that point) and they presented a good strong front together. There they were, Reform’s bridgehead in Parliament, as Farage put it. Lots of Second World War metaphors there.

Then came the press pack’s ‘lazy sneering’ questions, as one tweeter put it later. First up the ITV reporter. ‘How are you going to deal with racists in your party?’ There were some on the electoral system, one on Islam. Nearly all slanted. Though the four handled them well, I had had enough. The predictable line of questioning that leads to all-too-predictable (slanted and limited) reporting. I caught Gawain Towler’s eye and got the last question in: ‘Do you think your 4.1million votes have established you as a mainstream politician, not far right, not extremist, and secondly when will the mainstream media catch up with that fact? From the questions today it looks as though they have a long way to go!’ Here it is:

And it was only question to get applause! That made my day, as did the several ‘well done’ comments afterwards, on the live feed and tweeted to me. Like this one:

As the Rebel News (a Canadian website) reporter wrote afterwards, in the UK ‘the establishment media is even more vicious than the establishment political parties when it comes to silencing contrarian voices’. Too true!

Nor is this going to get better over the five years. If you want to be thoroughly depressed and brought back down to earth, have a read of Mark Steyn’s review of the awful state of politics following Thursday’s results – what the Conservatives have wrought.

However, forgive me if for one day I refuse to get depressed again and end on my own upbeat note – my 15 seconds of fame when I managed to bring those sneering lazy MSM reporters to book, and for once they were there in person to hear me!

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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