The Sun abandons Labour - so what?
The Sun has never before emailed His Grace, and neither would His Grace particularly wish them to again. He wondered why he was being spammed with the lastest about some D-list celebrity or scurrilous gossip about nothing worth reading.
It appears that the paper has decided to rat on Labour. Or rather, to re-rat back to the Conservative Party. And, for some reason, this is the story all over every newspaper, political blog, and on the lips of political anoraks (of which His Grace may be one: he certainly feels like such a limp garment at the moment).
It was, of course, purposely timed to detract from the Prime Minister's big moment.
Poor man. He had worked very hard on that speech. One could tell.
Years ago, The Sun was indeed influential. But that was in the age when newspapers were read by millions and the press barons were courted like one entreats the powers of divinty. They interceded between the rulers and the ruled: they received the lively political oracles from the learned and wise, and distilled them into bite-size chunks of sound-bite vernacular for the lesser-educated proletariat.
But that age has gone. The world has changed. Newspaper circulations have plummetted just as much as mass party membership has declined.
When, back in 1992, the paper boasted "It was the Sun wot won it", there was a perception that it had. It was ludicrous, of course. It had simply sensed the lack of appetite for Neil Kinnock, and backed the likely winner of that general election. The Sun did not win it for John Major. It is a commercial enterprise and was simply giving its readers (or picture viewers) what it sensed they wanted to read (or see). It follows trends and views: it does not create history or form opinion.
Cranmer has no doubt that politicians will always be invited on to the yachts of the rich and powerful. But the rich and powerful will increasingly be subsumed to those who innovate and control the new media. Rupert Murdoch and his son James will doubtless retain some influence, but the future belongs to the likes of Stephan Shakespeare and Tim Montgomerie who, while not possessing their own yachts (as far as His Grace knows), are clearly at the helm of the new age of political campaigning.
Some traditional Labour votres will this morning be spluttering over their cornflakes, feeling betrayed by the rag that brings them their morning fix of tittle-tattle, banal comment and soft porn.
They should never have relied upon it to give them their daily bread. Its influence is overrated: its self-perception of its political omnipotence absurdly exaggerated. Mr Cameron would be wise to smile over his marmite on toast this morning. But The Sun alone will not 'win it' for him.