The Slog presents three blinding examples from today’s papers of how objective news reporting and analysis in our media have been replaced by polemic agendas.

In the post-Christmas period, investors in U.S.-based funds poured $7.53 billion into stock mutual funds while exchange-traded funds investing in equities gained $10.78 billion in new cash. The inflow into U.S. stock mutual funds was the biggest since May 2001, and the $18.32 billion aggregate cash injection into equities funds was the biggest since mid-2008.

“We are at an inflection point where, especially in the U.S., you’ll start to see net inflows into equities,” Margaret Patel, senior portfolio manager at Wells Capital Management, which oversees $331 billion in assets, told Reuters yesterday, “the risk-taker will be rewarded this year.”

“There is a lot of money sitting around in risk-free assets that can go into equities, and I think retail investors are getting more bullish,” said Fred Tomczyk, chief executive of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.

We are saved! Relief is at hand! Everything is normal and we are going to be OK! It was all just a bad dream!

Hell hath little noisier than stockbrokers desperate for business. Even perpetually bullsh*tting estate agents can’t rival them. But two questions remain unanswered: one, where are the fundamentals to support such an idea? Two, one fiscal cliff-fall avoidance doth not a deficit cancel. Spending cuts were actually postponed by the deal.


Meanwhile, the rival NHS spin-teams are pulling hard against each other in the tug-of-war to sell each’s version of the truth to the nation.

The heavily indebted South London Healthcare NHS trust (SLHT)  should be dissolved, Matthew Kershaw, the trust’s special administrator told health secretary Jeremy Hunt last week. So it is that the Lansley hospital-starvation strategy comes to fruition, bang on schedule to give *unt his ready-made excuse to bring in the private sector.

But the knock-on effect of the SLHT ‘failure’ is that Lewisham’s A&E services will now be very badly affected: Kershaw’s hugely controversial final SLHT report last week recommended closing the Lewisham units as part of his damage limitation plan. However, his ideas would cost £195m by 2015-16, against which the  ‘payback’ would be only £19.5m per annum.

The game here is for the Hunters to position failures as Trust administrative incompetence (to be compared unfavourably with the private sector) while the Luddites say funds starvation is the only cause. The truth – as first evinced by The Slog in 2010 – is that Lansley’s bonkers cash distribution in favour of private care (just in time for Branson et al to benefit from it) was always going to mean hospital insolvency….but yes, waste in the NHS is pretty appalling.

In short, once again puerile political polemics triumph over patient care. The Observer today champions the ‘closure madness’ Left spin (‘Angry doctors have condemned plans to axe their hospital’s A&E and maternity units as “financial madness”‘) and the Sunday Telegraph the Right spin on ‘only privatisation will solve the problem’. In the latter, a senior regulator at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Amanda Pollard says poor training of inspectors there, along with irregular inspection of hospitals and a culture of bullying within the watchdog, has left the public at continued risk of another Stafford fiasco. She’s backed her fears by resigning.

The Left would like the NHS to go on leaking money forever, and the Right wants to hand it over to the profiteers. Mutualisation is the answer, but this is media manipulateed UK 2013: the war of words will continue, and only ill citizens will suffer.


Precisely the same applies to the economic outlook: again in the Torygraph, a prominent piece today depicts the squeeze on household incomes as the result of ‘inflation edging up towards 3pc’, with some clear swipes at Camerlot labouring the point that the Coalition strategy isn’t working. It isn’t, but nothing in the article points an accusing finger at bank madness as the underlying cause of our problem. The Barclay Brothers, you see, loathe the Coalition in general and Cameron in particular. They want Boris in, once he’s toned down his anti-EU rhetoric a little. (Note that he is already doing their bidding).

On the other side, the last thing the Guardian Trust (financially bleeding to death as a result of printing piffle hardly anyone reads) wants is a pro-neocon business Tory Government run by Bojo. So this morning it features a piece about Tory and Labour grandees making a joint plea to urge close EU ties and fight the growing isolationist tide….suggesting that the Tories are split on Europe and thus represent the dangerous electoral option. Along with Liberal Democrat Lord Rennard, Clarke and Mandelson will spearhead a new organisation, the Centre for British Influence through Europe (CBIE). At the same time, Mandy has his own reasons for wanting us to stay put in the EU, and both he and Nick Clegg represent the Establishment troughing axis working to ensure that this is exactly what happens.

Thus we see how a left-wing paper’s elite and a right wing paper’s owners combine insouciantly to bend the news, and foist upon the rest of us a corrupt and wasteful superstate with all the democratic instincts of Vladimir Putin.