The European elections audit
How the nationals covered the European and local campaigns from May 12-26
The Times: front pages
The Times had election issues on the front six times over the two weeks, including three splashes. The Ukip "cash for seats" story was not strictly an election campaign story, but the timing and the fact that it related to the European Parliament to which the elections were being held make it seem reasonable to include it in this audit. Issues that relate exclusively to domestic politics, such as Miliband's pledge on the minimum wage, are excluded.
The Times devoted a spread to the elections almost every day in the last days of campaigning, but the space was used almost exclusively to report on the latest poll ratings or to speculate what would be the upshot if the results were this, that or the other. There was no discussion of policy, beyond immigration. The splendid-looking "Battle for your vote" graphic might have offered a precis of each party's platform, but instead it was again all about poll ratings, the existing state of the parties and the key battlegrounds.
The opinion pages
The OpEd writers all had a view and there were little asides in the "notebook" section of the comment pages. There was also a feature asking "What can we learn about politicians from their hair?" We didn't get the answer to that, but we did learn that Ed Miliband has "very nice hair", that Cameron needs a better cut and that Farage has a redneck American's barber cut - as opposed to Cameron's hairdresser style and Zac Goldsmith's £50 cut.
The piece by Matthew Parris on the Saturday after the vote was the best bit of writing throughout the campaign. If you haven't read it, please do.
The paper ran five leaders over the two weeks and on polling day urged the electorate not to abstain or register a "protest vote", a hardly ringing endorsement for Cameron, but that was what it was.
Peter Brookes opened his paintbox to the electioneers four times and Morton Morland once.
As to pictures, the paper focused almost entirely on the main players - no voter shots or campaigning scenes. There was Boris and Cameron on a train, Cameron amid a mound of papers and Farage with several pints of beer. Miliband and his bacon butty featured, but he never managed a main picture.
A "European elections" search on the paper's website, refined to May 12-26 brings up 126 results. The Greens do not feature in any of them - even after the results are in and they have beaten the LibDems. There is, however, mention of Britain First in the faith pages.
*based on headline words
The European elections audit
How the Press
covered the campaign and the aftermath
Plus the papers' detailed breakdown
The Daily Telegraph
The group trying to reform EU lobbying was hobbled by pro-lobbyist lobbying. Yet another triumph for EU democracy then. When decisions are stitched up behind closed doors by officials working hand in gove with vested interests, this vitiates the elections.
There seems only one way for Europe to send a clear, unambiguous message about wanting to leave Europe, and that's to vote Ukip. But, hang on, Ukip? Nigel Farage's party comes with so much baggage. So many Ukip MEPs have misused their expenses; they seem addicted to the EU gravy train they criticise.
- Tim Montgomerie,
Though it may be tempting to cast a protest vote, it is worth remembering that such a vote cannot remove Britain from the EU or oust Mr Cameron from power. It can, however, help to change the composition of this increasingly powerful body whose powers have grown topsy-turvy without anyone being consulted.
- Leading article
There is a paradox in Ukip's support which is that Ukip, the party that cares excessively about the European Union, does well in European elections precisely because most people don't care one bit about the EU. It's an election that is serious enough to strike a pose against the Government but not serious enough actually to do any lasting damage.
- Philip Collins,
Voting looks about as exciting as returning library books, I thought, as my son and I left the deserted polling station. You don’t get to march or chant; you don’t even get a balloon. It’s more hassle than a hashtag. But it is the only thing politicians truly notice. I hope his generation votes before it gets old.
- Janice Turner,
People who want to blame poorer people from other countries for what they dislike about modern life are prey to cruel and erroneous thinking and we should ot "focus on" their "concerns". We should tell them that this is how racism starts.
- Matthew Parris
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