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STV joins Channel 6 TV bid

11 companies bid for new Freeview channel.

STV, the Scottish licensee for ITV, has joined a bid by Channel 6 to set up a new national TV network, as proposed by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Channel 6, which is run by former Trinity Mirror senior executive Richard Horwood, has submitted an interest in running a new Freeview channel forming a base for a network of local TV services.

Two other bidders, SixTelevision and TripleSEE, submitted their interest before the 1 March deadline, meaning 11 companies will now compete for the new network.

STV partnered with Channel 6 as it looks to expand its own local media network.

Whilst STV has expressed an interest in the network, UTV, which holds the ITV licence in Northern Ireland, and ITV itself, will not be competing for the new network.

SixTelevision's bid is led by UKRD, operator of 16 regional radio stations, and has the backing of three other local commercial radio companies; Town & Country, Media South Holdings and Dee 106.5 and Silk 106.9.

TripleSEE has the backing of independent producers Maidthorn Partners, TwoFour and New Media Partners, and is led by former BBC executive Simon Walker.

The company that wins the rights to the network will gain the sixth slot on the Freeview network from 2013.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.