Guardian editor keeps Tom Watson and co on their toes

Written by Dods staff on 17 November 2017 in Diary
Diary

‘I defend our right at some point to back the Conservatives,’ said Kath Viner.

Many Labour MPs were left fuming when The Guardian decided to support the Liberal Democrats over Labour in the 2010 election.

“Polly, just be honest. Admit you got it wrong and the Lib Dems took the Guardian editorial team for mugs,” an angry Tom Watson implored the paper's top columnist Polly Toynbee after David Cameron beat Gordon Brown.

There was also plenty of disgruntlement among Labour types two years later, when the paper published an editorial titled: “In praise… Iain Duncan Smith.”

But it could yet get worse for Labour, the paper’s editor has warned.

Two and a half years after replacing Alan Rusbridger, Kath Viner gave a rare public speech at the Guardian’s King’s Cross HQ last night.

“We will support policies and ideas, but we will not give uncritical backing to parties or individuals. We will also engage with and publish voices from the Right. In an age of tumultuous change, nobody has a monopoly on good ideas,” she said.

“I think it’s really important that we’re not for one political party or another. I defend our right at some point to back the Conservatives in an election. You never know.”

And talking specifically about Jeremy Corbyn, she said: “It’s been journalistically fascinating to see this shift from someone who everyone thought was beyond unelectable, was a joke. And then had this amazing campaign and this inspiring manifesto that seemed to shift everything.”

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