How Truss and Rayner are treated so differently in the national media…

IF YOU want to see politics and sections of the national media hand in slippery hand, look no further than the treatment meted out to Liz Truss and Angela Rayner.

The first, as you may recall, is the work experience prime minister who crashed and burned after 49 days, trashing the economy in the process. The second is the often abused deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Incidentally, there is another link here, as shall be explained.

Right now, Truss is being courted and reported for her opinions on everything, mostly how she is right and everyone else is wrong.

Rayner, meanwhile, is the subject of a vicious smear campaign by the Daily Mail. This has led to a police investigation concerning a possible lapse over a small amount of capital gains tax on a house sale years ago, alongside possible confusion over the electoral register.

Truss is given endless exposure for her frankly ridiculous sounding book, 10 Years To Save The West: Lessons From The Only Conservative In The Room. Full but hardly surprising disclosure, I’ve not read that book and have no intention of doing so.

From the excerpts I have read, and from the interview clips on TV, Truss remains fully detached from reality or empathy. Endlessly reciting her own innocence with that weird air of blank-eyed self-absorption she has made her own.

Perhaps it goes with being a right-wing loon.

Like Boris Johnson before her, like the former US President Donald Trump (and let’s keep that ‘former’, please), Liz Truss blames everyone else for her failings.

I don’t wish to recite her wing-nut theories, but basically it’s because there are lefties everywhere, under the carpet, behind the fridge, down the back of the sofa – and even in the Conservative Party (OK, only the last of those is ‘true’).

I’d like to know how to sign up to this mysterious left-wing establishment Truss says is out to get her, but dare not ask her, for she does go on so.

As for the Mail-inspired campaign against Rayner, I don’t fully understand her alleged sins, and also fail to understand why the police are investigating on the insistence of one Tory MP. Is that how things work nowadays?

In a sense such a hit job shouldn’t matter, except that the BBC endlessly reports these claims – which is exactly what the Mail hoped for.

There are, of course, endless Tory scandals to catch up on.

Here are a few:

The Government’s operation of a fast-track VIP lane for awarding lucrative PPE contracts to its political pals during the pandemic.

Former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi being embarrassed into settling a tax bill worth billions.

Former Conservative MP William Wragg saying he was “manipulated” into giving the personal phone numbers of colleagues to a man he’d met on a gay dating app.

None of these, naturally enough, are of interest. Instead, the Mail and its friends turn journalism into political thuggery, endlessly flinging mud in the knowledge some will stuck.

Maybe journalism has always been like that. Some of my non-journalist friends certainly think so. Part of me still always wants to stick up for the good facets of journalism, even if these can be hard to find some days.

Interestingly, this hit job on Rayner might not even be working. Plenty of commentators, away from those slipped the Mail or Telegraph shilling, are pointing out that the attacks seem misogynistic, class based and also, if you ask me, obsessive and boring.

Matthew Parris in the Times has written a column that is unusually supportive, beneath the headline “Angela Rayner’s only ‘crime’ is being an uppity lass.”

His piece begins, “The hounding of Angela Rayner is outrageous: brutal, snobbish and completely out of proportion to any mistake she may (or may not) have made…”

“Brutal, snobbish and completely out of proportion…” Yup, I’ll second that. A column well worth reading, and I don’t always think that about Parris.

One link between the way Truss and Rayner have been reported lies in a prominent Tory donor and right-wing campaigner. Lord Ashcroft wrote and published the biography of Rayner in which the allegations aired by the Mail and others were first made.

And his publishing company, Biteback, is responsible for Truss’s daft book. As the writer and speaker Steve Parks suggested on X/Twitter, “It’s a vanity right-wing propaganda outlet, not a proper publisher.”

Two big stories of the moment – and both can be traced to Lord Ashcroft. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Ashcroft is reported to have used an offshore trust to shelter wealth while he was a Tory peer. How typical.

Would a less partial publisher have touched Truss’s bonkers book? Whatever the case, I have a better title, as borrowed from Bart Simpson – I Didn’t Do It, Nobody Saw Me Do It, There’s No Way You Can Prove Anything!

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