Two political stories on Wales Online appear to me to show much of the problem with Welsh Political Journalism.
The first entitled
"Welsh campaigners call on Government to end 'misery and hardship' by Rachel Misstear caused by bedroom tax" looks at times like a Labour Party Press release. As the next line reads
" Labour will press for a vote in the Commons tomorrow on the measure, nearly seven weeks after Ed Miliband announced he would abolish it"
The rest of the article however deals with individual responses of those affected by the Bedroom Tax including father of Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Danny Alexander.
“The first of those to be implemented - the so-called Bedroom Tax - is particularly unfair in that it penalises both our tenants and ourselves for not being able to magic up a supply of smaller properties.”Government funding had been focused on providing homes with at least two bedrooms, he said, as “all parties hitherto agreed” they were best suited to the needs of the rural area.Its a worthy article but it does give the impression that its Labour who have taken the lead in opposition to the Bedroom Tax where in reality Ed Miliband has been playing catch up with those who have been fighting this. Including the SNP government in Scotland.
The second article entitled
Labour and Plaid Cymru plan to to derail 'privatisation' of probation service
11 Nov 2013 06:39 by David Williamson
And goes on to claim that
Opposition parties in Westminster fear planned changes to probation services would put public at unnecessary risk
Describing Plaid's Elfyn Llwyd as "Leading the Opposition" ( from a Plaid press release?)to this he is quoted as saying
“It is not right for us to allow the Government to undermine the integrity of the probation service, and to put profits ahead of public safety. The Government must listen to sense and rethink these disastrous plans.“The common sense answer, of course, would be to extend the remit of the award-winning probation service so that they can supervise offenders sentenced to less than 12 months in prison. The Government have chosen not to do this.“They will be made to answer for this flawed decision making.”
“The problems faced by offenders are frequently complex, and probation staff have experience and training which help them to know what services offenders should utilise to meet their own needs. Work done by the Prison Reform Trust has shown that offenders are 12 times more likely to have spent time in care and 20 times more likely to have been expelled from school than others in the general population. Furthermore, two-thirds of offenders have encountered problems with substance abuse; 72% have two or more mental illnesses.“But the Government’s proposals will fragment local partnership work in which probation trusts currently play a vital role, including: youth to adult transitions, troubled family initiatives, women offender institutes and community safety partnerships.”But Wales Online in this article managed to find a Labour Spokesman to quote on this.
As I said much of the two articles seem have originated in Party Press releases . Nothing wrong with that, However it is interesting that in the second a Labour Spokesman seems to have be contacted. While in the first the impression is that only Labour has opposed the "Bedroom tax. Which is far from the truth.
Maybe the reason is that the number of Journalist working for the Wasting Mule have been cut to such an extent, that they can't chase stories to the length that they like.
But it looks like the Mule tends towards giving Labour space on their own whilst allowing them to respond to initiatives from others.