A cosy network of party and media colludes to lament a slight dip in London house prices
Above: Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere
Dark clouds are forming over London, say the Tory press, casting Ed Miliband as rain-maker for the capital’s house prices. But between the motion and the act – or in this case, between the journalism and the media company – falls the shadow.
The Telegraph plastered the news on its front page today of Labour’s proposed Mansion Tax having a ‘paralysing’ affect on property prices, citing the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and property website Zoopla.
Never mind for now that RICS doesn’t actually mention fears of a Mansion Tax (read: Labour government) as the cause of falling house prices. (The piece instead quotes estate agents who are members of RICS.) This sort of interpretive reporting has been going on for a while. What’s more interesting is the citation of Zoopla.
As the Daily Mail reports:
“Property website Zoopla said that Labour’s mansion tax proposals would have a ‘significant’ impact on the housing market, with the knock-on impact of pricing out first time buyers as people fail to sell cheaper homes and move to more expensive ones.”
What the Mail story and the others fail to disclose is that Zoopla is part-owned by…the Daily Mail. As Labour List reported yesterday:
“Zoopla’s largest shareholder is the Daily Mail and General Trust – you’ll remember them from such publications as the Daily Mail.”
Interestingly, the Conservative Party press office was Tweeting Zoopla’s warning about the Mansion Tax yesterday. So with the Daily Mail, we have a lovely two-way street between a Tory-supporting media company, owned by a non-dom Viscount who has three homes, a property website partly owned by the same company, and the press office of the party it supports. How cosy. (Much the same point would of course hold with the Telegraph.)
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people in London are on waiting lists for social housing, while Shelter recently reported that average London house prices are 15 times the average wage. Perhaps you too will join the Tory press in weeping over a slight dip in the sale of private homes.
Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.