Miliband says no SNP deal and the Sun says ‘La-la-la can’t hear you’

Facts go into the Sun's filter and come out very different. Here's an example.

Miliband on Andrew Marr


I’d like to draw your attention to a small but impressive story in today’s Sun, because it’s a good example of what happens to information when put through the paper’s anti-Labour filter.

First, here’s the clip of the transcript of Ed Miliband’s interview with Andrew Marr yesterday on the BBC. Marr began by pressing the Labour leader on a possible deal with the Scottish National Party after the general election:

ANDREW MARR: [the SNP] will be coming to you saying Ed Miliband that is our price for supporting you, we want that referendum.

ED MILIBAND: No, look I want to be clear about this Andrew, no coalitions, no tie-ins, you know –

ANDREW MARR: What about supply and support, a deal, one of those deals that will keep you going?

ED MILIBAND: Look I’ve said no deals, honestly I’ve been clear about that.

ANDREW MARR: Of any kind.

ED MILIBAND: Yeah I am not doing deals with the Scottish National Party, but you know I want a majority Labour government and, you know the way the House of Commons works, as you know, is that we’ll –

ANDREW MARR: (over) So absolutely clearly no support and supply deal of any kind?

ED MILIBAND: I am not interested in deals, no.

Miliband has previously ruled out a coalition with the SNP, but hasn’t before said that he would not have a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with them. Knowing he had a scoop, Marr asked the question again later in the interview to make sure he got the same answer:

ANDREW MARR: OK, just finally bang the nail into the piece of wood finally, a confidence and supply deal with the SNP is ruled out.

ED MILIBAND: (over) I’ve made it clear we’re not, no deals, no.

ANDREW MARR: Not going to happen, OK, well let’s move on to some other issues […]

This was reported by the BBC, the GuardianPolitics Home, the Independentand the Financial Times as ‘Miliband says no to confidence-and-supply with SNP’, or words to that effect – and Labour has made no attempt to protest or backtrack.

So how has this information been reported in the Sun today?



Ed MIliband has been blasted after refusing to completely rule out an informal deal with the SNP ten times. 

The Labour leader appeared to go further in distancing himself from the Scottish Nationalists, but would not say a pact definitely would not happen.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Ed Miliband can only be prime minister with the support of SNP votes.”

That’s the whole story. (Or rather, that’s all the Sun reported.)

You’ll notice from the transcript that Miliband was not asked this question ‘ten times’, nor did he refuse to rule out an informal deal. He was asked to rule out an ‘informal’ – as in, confidence and supply – deal with the SNP, and he said ‘no deals’.

One could argue that Miliband could have been more explicit, but one cannot argue that this Sun story is a fair or accurate report of what happened.

So even within the absurdly narrow confines of acceptable political discussion – why should Labour have to rule out a deal anyway? – there seems to be nothing Miliband can do to please the Sun. 

The world reflected in its pages is increasingly detached from the one we actually live in, and facts are shaped and moulded to suit the paper’s fancy.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter


Read more: Tory cynicism as press takes Salmond’s budget joke seriously

Rupert Murdoch ‘berated’ Sun staff for not bashing Miliband enough, reports Independent

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47 Responses to “Miliband says no SNP deal and the Sun says ‘La-la-la can’t hear you’”

  1. JustAnotherNumber

    Not to suggest agreement with – or support of – The Sun for a nanosecond, but one could certainly interpret the transcript of Miliband’s comments as being very much in the present tense, and subsequently potentially open to shifts in the future, should they be required.

  2. Gerschwin

    So what? He’ll make a deal if it gives him the keys to No10. He’s from the left – by definition he’s a duplicitous liar and besides he kept his answers to the present tense and not the future to give him the wiggle room he needs.

    Are his pants on fire? Oh yes they are.

  3. Jim Bennett

    Ed has no choice: he will have to make some kind of a deal with the SNP if he wants power.

  4. Guest

    So you claim to have firebombed him. I see.

    As you make up utter nonsense about him being leftist, showing your PC bigotry in the process, as you blame others for your views.

  5. Cole

    Most of us think that it’s the right that have a long history of ‘duplicitous lying’. Just look at how many elections the Tories have lied to us about VAT, to give one example. And the Tory press is full of distortion and lies, as Adam demonstrates nearly every day.

  6. tst

    Miliband really should have played a much stronger hand with the SNP from the start. A strong SNP showing in Scotland is not only bad for him in Scotland but (as events are showing) proving to be bad for him in England (because didn’t rule out any kind of deal straight away with them).

    If he goes for no 10 based on a bad deal with them he could destroy Labour for a generation. If it holds out then either: –
    – The SNP will need to either support Cameron – which will destroy the SNP and create massive austerity in Scotland but ultimately strengthen the country
    – Force a new election which (given that momentum should be travelling to Labour by that point and the Tories will be in meltdown) should give him a stronger mandate in both England and Scotland.

  7. janlog

    He ought to have said in the event we do not reach a majority, we will consider all reasonable deals. I note that Cameron et al have not been badgered into refusing a 2nd coalition with the LDems. I almost want, prefer even, a Lab-SNP coalition or C&S deal. I have no fears on that front; the SNP would have far too much to lose back home given that many of their supporters were Labour at one time. Playing silly beggars at Westminster would sink them back home.


    It makes no sense for any party to say they will form a coalition before an election. Milliband has clearly said he will not form a coalition with the Nats-zis. So let the election commence and do look out for a Tory Nats-zis coalition after the election.

  9. JustAnotherNumber

    The SNP won’t be daft enough to go anywhere the Tories. Not now they’ve seen the Labour support in Scotland utterly decimated since Labour stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Tories in the referendum. The SNP know that – if they can’t get into government themselves, and the Tories do – they would be stronger and more credible in terms of Scottish support as a noisy and disruptive opposition force.

    I think Miliband could have played a more savvy hand by being a little easier on the SNP in England, where I’m beginning to suspect a genuine, if albeit grudging, respect for them is emerging, particularly amongst left-wing strongholds. He would have needed to figure out just how to be more hospitable to them in terms of the UK as a whole, while remaining hostile to them on Scottish soil, but that balancing trick may have actually been a bit easier to pull off than the one he’s confronted with now.

  10. JustAnotherNumber

    Complete, slightly racist, and utterly ill-informed arse gravy. A waste of perfectly good pixels. Go away and think about what you’ve done.

  11. Gerschwin

    By ‘you’ you mean ‘you’ right?


    You are a German Helmet. How can you be slightly racist! Vote Labour and keep the Tories and Tartan pals out.

  13. JustAnotherNumber

    I’m not sure which is more hilarious, your “German Helmet” epithet – haven’t heard that in ages – or your contention that there’s any significant difference between the red tories and the blue ones.

  14. sarntcrip


  15. sarntcrip



    The significant difference is historical. The NHS. Protective Employment Act. Open University. Equal Pay. Maternity Leave. Industrial Tribunals. FIGHTING TO STOP BLACK LISTING and a few other things. The Nat-zis have never done anything radical. Only Labour. So have a good scratch on your Helmet with your saltire in the other hand to wipe the mess away.


    Labour did not stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tories. Labour funded its own campaign. What about the unelectable leftie idiots that supported the Nat-zis.

  18. Robert

    But if labour refuse to do a deal with the SNP and if Plaid and the liberal getting hammered which is likely then the only other deal for two parties tied and needing a coalition would be labour and the Tories, or the Tories and labour.

    Would Miliband rather go in with the Tories then the SNP, well I do not think so but Progress may.

  19. Robert

    That is the best laugh all week, you are joking are you not. Are you saying all those people in Scotland are going to vote for the Nazi’s.

    I doubt it….

  20. JustAnotherNumber

    I don’t disagree that the two parties had significant differences in the past, and that long ago there were ideological reasons for a voter to bother choosing between Labour and Conservative.

    If this was – say – 1974 the point you make would be relevant.

    Trouble is, this isn’t 1974, and those ideological differences between the two parties from eras past no longer exist.

  21. JustAnotherNumber



    Eh! It was Labour that had progressive policies and moved the working classes forward. The Nat-zis are Nat-zis and have nothing but contempt for the working class struggle. They are of the lawyer class in their bubble that benefitted from the class struggle and have turned their backs and enjoying the struggle of others. Nothing new in history. The Nat-zis have not done anything progressive and have not used their tax raising powers. At least the Tories are honest shoite.


    Hopefully the people in Scotland will vote and for Labour and keep the Tories and Nats-zis oot.


    Well do have a laugh Robert however last Saturday the SS SNP had a rally in Glasgow accompanied by an Irish Republican Flute Band and flag waving supporters with the Irish Tricolour. Seems rather eronerous to me. Suppressed by the democratic press!!


    Personally I would have left the election to go ahead and the result would have been the same without the so called intervention. You seem to be saying Scots are stupid.

  26. Cole

    Why do you make such irrelevant points? Possibly because what you said previously is such nonsense. It’s not a secret that the right have a long history of lying – especially at election time, ably assisted by the Tory press.

  27. Gerschwin

    Secret among whom? You? Like I said – by ‘you’ you mean ‘you’.

  28. Jeanne Tomlin

    Right. All the Irish are Nazis and Ireland doesn’t have any democracy. We knew that.

  29. JustAnotherNumber

    Labour may well have been in a healthier position n Scotland had they not campaigned – or in your words “intervened” – in the referendum in the manner that they did by supporting the Tories, but that’s pretty much my point.

  30. JustAnotherNumber

    Did you see the TNS poll from yesterday? You won’t like it.

  31. uglyfatbloke

    I don’t really see how Ed could have been ‘more explicit’ but that won’t change the practicalities of the situation. If the results mirror the polls – and they may not – parties are going to have to work together.

  32. JustAnotherNumber

    And besides, responding directly to your suggestion that I “seem to be saying Scots are stupid”; my point in posting that image is not about whether or not the Scottish electorate believed it or not, and it’s not about whether Scottish people have a right to feel aggrieved and betrayed by the behaviour of Westminster leaders. My point was to illustrate to you that Labour did indeed, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tories, and in doing so signed the party’s own death warrant in Scotland.

  33. JustAnotherNumber

    If you examine the language Miliband is using, everything he says is studiously in the present tense. He’s basically saying he’s not currently making plans with the SNP. Today. Right now.

    He’s very careful to avoid slipping into the future tense, so as not to rule out the possibility of making plans with them in the future.

    And the future could be as soon as next week.


    It was nothing to do with shoilder to shoulder. Over 2 million people voted NO. That is democracy. The Nat-sis have contempt for the over 2 million. I voted NO and always would do that. No one influenced me.


    Actually he does not. He Milliband can put Labour policy to the vote in the Commons and if he loses often then the country can have another General Election. The Nat-sis are more likely to do a deal with the Tories. Just wait and see. The Nat-sis will have choice and will go with the winner. All this crap they say about the Tories is just that. They are fuckin Tories.


    Do you honesty think the Nat-sis hate the Tories. Salmond was happy to take the dosh from Souter. So he hates Souter! Duh.

  37. JustAnotherNumber

    This is like nailing jelly to the wall. Jelly that’s not even paying attention to its own arguments.

    You said “Labour did not stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tories”, so I posted a photo of the infamous “Vow”, when Labour stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tories, and now you’re talking about how many people voted No. We know what the outcome of the referendum was, we also know that the swing was only 192,000 votes, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

    You did the same thing earlier when you challenged my point that there’s currently little significant difference between Labour and the Tories in terms of policy or ideology, by informing me that all of Labour’s progressive achievements were long ago in the past. I don’t disagree with that. I was talking about today, this week, this general election, and you came back with further references to their achievements from decades ago.

    If Labour were anything like the party of the past, I would still be a supporter and vote for them. Thing is: they’re not that party anymore. They’ve moved and left me behind.
    They’ve buggered off to the right, I haven’t.

  38. Jim Bennett

    James, thank you for your intelligent and nuanced contribution.
    Could you explain why the Labour Party is in formal coalition with the Tories in five local councils in Scotland? In my council, people voted Labour and got Tory. I don’t have to wait and see, I can plainly see the effects of formal Labour-Tory coalition right now, where I live.

  39. Leon Wolfeson

    FPTP sucks the big one, yes.

  40. Leon Wolfeson

    Why not? Do you want independence, or is the SNP more concerned with it’s vote share?

    You then argue that principles are bad, so evidently the latter is true. And you see harming the UK (disrupting it) for the sake of it as a good thing. Sigh.

  41. JustAnotherNumber

    Well, I’m not actually Scottish, so my enthusiasm for Scottish independence isn’t based on blue-faced freedom-crying patriotism. I’m not even voting SNP.

    My view is that the unchecked accumulation of wealth in the South East and power in Westminster does need to be disrupted, but not for the sake of it, for the sake of people living outside London and the Home Counties

  42. Leon Wolfeson

    My answer to that is federalism.
    With London in it’s own region.

    Your other answer treats rich and poor Londoners alike. You’ll drive the poor of London to the rest of the country, a trend which has already started – and only after they’re all gone will there be any “disruption” for the rich, and they themselves are mobile (sure, their business stays, but the damage done in the meantime…)

  43. Frann Leach

    In Scotland, during the whole of the referendum campaign, it was apparent that the whole of the mainstream media makes it up as it goes along, in accordance with the wishes of the owner of the organ in question. So while you may find this shocking, for anyone North of the Border it’s just par for the course.

  44. JustAnotherNumber

    Easy, Leon. We’ll end up agreeing on something if you’re not careful.

  45. Leon Wolfeson

    Well it really, well, *waves his hands* makes sense.

  46. Waldorf

    You’re being too simplistic. You don’t need any sort of arrangement to operate as a minority government. You put the full programme to the Commons and see who supports it. In other words, call Sturgeon’s bluff. Will Salmond lead his troops through the lobbies with the Tories to vote down a Labour Queen’s Speech, or a budget? No, thought not.

  47. Robert

    we will see my better is the Tories will take it with the Liberals backing

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