Monday, May 26, 2008

There is more joy in heaven over one Brownite that repenteth

It would take a heart of stone not to enjoy Jackie Ashley's latest where-did-it-all-go-wrong:

The art of the political column seems to include always being wise after the event, a pretence that political mistakes are obvious, and that journalists saw through them long before mere politicians. Well, I confess that I am still a little baffled about what precisely has gone wrong with what we might call "best Brown" - the serious, clever, often funny and surprisingly graceful private man who has failed to translate himself into a popular public figurehead.

It does indeed seem wise after the event, when what we really want is wise before the event. Which is why I have repeatedly argued that most pundits are a waste of time and money. A really valuable contribution to the debate would not have fallen swooning before Gordon's feet and asked what exactly he was doing to warrant such gushing coverage back in the summer.

If someone like me does it for free, it's not asking too much for some of the over-paid, over-indulged columnists to do so too, is it? It's one reason why Matthew Parris is so well-paid by the Times.

The problem is newspapers often like to tell their readers what they want to hear rather than challenge their views. In the case of the Graun the daily piece of Brownite fluffing has given way to anguished hand-wringing (if there's one thing the paper's good at, it's hand-wringing).

Rather than that, it would be a much a greater service to the Guardian's readers if the likes of Jackie Ashley, Polly Toynbee, Martin Kettle, Jonathan Freedland and others were to devote their considerable talents to suggesting fresh ideas and strategies by which Labour can haul itself out of the abyss (some people at least are debating this). Without these, airly speculating about who'll next get a kicking at the ballot box in Brown's stead isn't really enough.

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Blogger Quink said...

Freedland is pretty good at giving the Tories the benefit of his wisdom - and I for one am grateful for it.

12:57 pm  

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