Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Raging against the dying of the light

With those kind souls at the Guardian Media Group spending £100,000 a day so that I can read the fruits of their hacks' labours for free, I rarely buy their products anymore. But I was happy to make an exception for the newly launched Observer on Sunday to read extracts of Andrew Rawnsley's book on Gordon Brown.

One might detect a delightful hint of subversion in Nick Cohen's Twittering (yes, I know) on the subject:

Daring media business model:You must got to a shop and buy an Observer WITH MONEY to read @andrewrawnsley's revelations abt mad Gordie Brown

Admittedly the rest of the (relaunched) Observer seemed rather thin - a shadow of its former self - due to the paper being gutted to fund the Guardian's grandiose online ambitions. Still one cannot but applaud the dying of the light style in making people pay to read a proper, old-school scoop.

As for Rawnsley's story, you've probably noticed the story is
still making waves. Labour's attempts to quash any suggestion of bullying by crushing anyone who attacks the leader is helping to give it legs. The habit of denying specific things - often not things Brown has been accused of - are probably helping this along. One gets the sense that large sections of the print and broadcast media believe they can detect a whiff of dissimulation emanating from Number 10 and will continue to push at this.

For all that, I'm not sure it will make that much difference. A fairly large number of people have already made up their minds about the man from Kirkcaldy. That said if the debate is now being framed in terms of whether the Prime Minister is a bully, or simply boorish and rude to his staff because he cannot cope with the pressure, then it's not the best way to enhance his standing among those voters who haven't made their minds up about him one way or another.

True, there are some who admire, or affect to admire a bit of bullying. It's no secret that the shouting and throwing things at people school of man management is pretty popular in some parts of Fleet Street (look at Andy Coulson's track record); but when you see - to a take a not wholly random example - Paul Dacre's Daily Mail defending this sort of behaviour, it is probably worth remembering this context. And the fact that writers of newspaper opinion pieces of not really representative of most hacks, let alone most ordinary people.

Right, that's enough about the bullies. The Rawnsley stuff won't have surprised that many people who take a keen interest in Westminster village gossip. I was far more interested (and amused) by this snippet:

At one point, the French President said: "You know, Gordon, I should not like you. You are Scottish, we have nothing in common and you are an economist. But somehow, Gordon, I love you." Just in case Brown got the wrong idea, the Frenchman quickly added: 'But not in a sexual way.'

What does Sarko have against the Scots?

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Blogger Sir Compton said...

No blow against tyrannical Gordy McDebt is wasted, dear boy.

11:43 am  

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