New Guardian deputy political editor – starting as she means to go on?

Journalist Pippa Crerar has been announced as the new deputy political editor of the notionally left-wing Guardian. She is moving from the Evening Standard, the paper that helped Boris Johnson to two mayoral wins and is currently edited by former Tory Chancellor George Osborne, from next month.

crerar johnson.png
Pippa Crerar and Boris Johnson

Over the last few days, Ms Crerar has been active on social media on a number of contentious issues. She engaged as if factual with a Daily Telegraph story about Nicola Sturgeon that the SNP leader had dismissed as fake news [edit 26/1 – the Daily Mail, who also ran the story, has now admitted that it was false]:

crerar sturg

More directly, however, she has commented controversially on the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) – the plan by Haringey Council to transfer a large number of council homes to the ownership of a ‘vehicle’ set up jointly with a private company.

crerar hdv

A large number of councillors, residents, activists and local unions object strongly to the plan. Of those who support it, so strong is local feeling against it that several current councillors have either been deselected as candidates for May’s local elections because of their support for the HDV, or have decided not even to try to be reselected.

The NEC’s decision to ask Haringey councillors to halt the HDV is perfectly understandable, as local people and unions are concerned that ‘centrist’ councillors will try to accelerate the unpopular plan and so that it’s too far advanced to be reversed when they no longer have a majority.

It’s also entirely within Labour’s rules, which state:

loc gov lab.png

The NEC vote to ‘urge’ Haringey Labour councillors to abandon the plan was unanimous, including the significant number of ‘moderates’ still on the committee, so it was not a contentious decision.

Ms Crerar went further, quoting a tweet by a hardline, pro-HDV ‘centrist’ in Haringey:

crerar mulready

However, as even the hardliner made clear, the email contains no suggestion by the ‘Labour NEC’, but is a comment sent by an individual NEC member expressing her individual opinion that pro-HDV councillors are voting against party policy.

Neither does the email state that ‘any councillor who votes for HDV.. will effectively be kicked out [sic] party’. While such a result is possible under Labour’s rules, it is not automatic.

Not ‘the NEC’ and not ‘kicked out’, so the claim of extreme ‘control freakery’ is misplaced.

This is not the only problematic aspect of the comment, though. Ms Mulready, whom Ms Crerar quoted, has a history of anti-Islamic comments on Twitter and faces a hearing next week on charges of online bullying of an officer of a local CLP (constituency Labour party). She also has a clear axe to grind against the left/’Momentum’, as any quick perusal of her Twitter feed will reveal:

mulready mom.png

The apparently uncritical use of such a source by the deputy political editor of a national newspaper – especially a notionally ‘left’ one – is troubling.

We contacted Ms Crerar for comment:

We’re running a story shortly looking at your contributions on Twitter since the Guardian job was announced, in particular:

  • your comments on the NEC/HDV and your use of Nora Mulready tweets, as she’s a problematic source
  • your tweet about ‘the NEC’ when in fact it was an email sent by one member, not a statement or communication by the NEC

She responded by pointing out that she had recently covered,

men-only charity fundraisers, Boris Johnson’s NHS cash bid, Tessa Jowell’s cancer battle and David Cameron on Brexit.

and added,

My record as a reporter shows that I have covered all issues on my patch impartially and fairly.”

However, she did not respond regarding the imbalance of her HDV comments or her transformation of an individual’s email into an NEC policy.

The Guardian has recently switched to a ‘tabloid’ format in an effort to capture readers. It is to be hoped that the paper is not at the same time moving further away from its reader base and that Ms Crerar’s comments and articles as its deputy political error will reflect a more rounded approach to Labour matters.

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  1. I noted many years ago how journalists and editors move from right-wing papers to left-wing papers (and vice-versa)……Piers Morgan, for example. What does THAT say about them and their integrity and principles, or lack of.

  2. This is just further confirmation of the gaurdian’s demise – does anybody other than ECB fans hoping to hear of an ashes victory ever read it anymore? The no comment section now takes up most of the paper except for 9th grade celeb crap!

  3. Does anybody, apart from other media and those that critique, read the graun anymore?
    I only know what they get up to these days via offGuardian, I could no longer stomach it.

  4. The Guardian has been moving right for a number of years and I wonder if they’ve ever thought of discussing this with their readership. I wonder if they’ve adopted a policy of trying to poach readers of the Daily Torygraph….. If so I can assure them they will regret it. All they will do is destroy their natural support which is left of centre without winning any Torygraph readers who would’t be seen dead buying The Guardian even if they called for perpetual austerity. and included a personal message from Margaret Thatcher… from the other side in every édition.

    If they continue moving right i predict that The Guardian is doomed… very sad

  5. We all thought the Guardian was bad enough under Alan Rusbridger, but it has seriously crashed since then.

    It is no accident that the Guardian is losing readership, changing the size of the Newspaper just about sums up modern management, forget the content lets change the image, as though that will bring back paying readers.

    In the words of Bernie Sanders paraphrased, “this is war between the 1% and its people”, what the Neo-Liberal owners of the Guardian want, is a compliant non thinking editor that understands their agenda.

    1. Yes, I noticed lol. Same old same old – the drive-by smear and then refuse to provide evidence when asked

  6. It’ll be interesting to see who wins the clash between Crerar and Aditya Chakrabortty, whose pet cause this (the Haringey HDV) has been since he broke the story last year. last year

    I wrote to the Guardian letters page recently. expressing alarm at the #MeToo campaign’s apparent lack of concern for due process under the law, something being shared and actively stoked by the media (Graun included). We are back to the Salem witch-trials; guilty because accused. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t get printed!

    The Guardian is now firmly in the grip of the neo-liberal Establishment, so that means #MeToo, Russia-gate and Trump Outrage, with a side-order of Brexit will be the new orthodoxy for a while yet. This slide into oblivion started shortly after the Snowden revelations and when Alan Rusbridger (previous editor) was safely out the door, Katharine Viner – a Hillary disciple if ever there was one- was installed to manage the paper’s decline into safe irrelevance.

    Fearless, independent journalism, my arse!

    Peter Preston must have died broken hearted…

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