I make it 19 consecutive paragraphs for David Cameron near the top of the Yorkshire Post’s website this morning – without quotes from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP or dissenting backbenchers. He is thus able to make his case in an interview without interpretation or interruption in the story itself. This is what the regional and local papers tend to do – straight reporting.
That’s 19 paragraphs, then, in which he is able to make his case on HS3, the “Northern Powerhouse”, transport, and a higher personal allowance. The story is headlined “Ageing Pacer trains to be axed in Yorkshire, says PM”.
He also gets 14 consecutive paragraphs, by my count, a little higher on the site. The headline’s less helpful to him: “PM – I’m not too posh to win in the North.” But he still gets his opportunity to go on without interruption about city deals, growth funds, investment in infrastructure, and HS3 (again).
I’ve written before about Downing Street’s strategy of trying to by-pass the “feral beast”, as Tony Blair called it – that’s to say, the London-centric media. As many Thursday mornings as possible are set aside for broadcasting or interviews. Cameron clearly believes that he will get a fairer hearing in the local and regional papers, and that although their readership is declining they are trusted more than their national counterparts.