Monday, May 05, 2008

Journalistic Sour Grapes: No 94 - Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson writes a column today headlined BORIS JOHNSON IS A LIBERTARIAN, BUT HE IS NOT A TORY - AND HE'S UNLIKELY TO LAST THE COURSE. He says of Boris: "He is a man without core belief: without a political or intellectual compass". Methinks Bruce doth protest just that little tad too much. What Bruce fails to mention in the article is that he himself was sacked as political editor of The Spectator by Boris. Might he not have declared this interest in his bile fuelled article? Bruce's thesis seems to be this: Boris sacked me, therefore he must have a second class brain. Revenge must be sweet for Bruce. But perhaps not quite so sweet now.

29 comments:

Andy in Newcastle said...

What is it with all these whingers? Boris only took office just over 12 hours ago for God's sake. Doubtless time will tell how effective and how "Tory" people like Boris and Dave Cameron actually are, but from where I'm sitting they've achieved a lot more success for the party than all these moaning columnists and so-called experts have in recent memory!

Mostly Ordinary said...

Iain, I think you just made his story the most popular on the Indie site.

simonh said...

Oh, go on with you. By the same token, Andrew Gilligan should have constantly re-iterated his gratitude to Boris for giving him work when he was journalistically discredited but he rarely, if ever did.

Anonymous said...

What an idiot. How can he claim Boris is a libertarian (he isn't) while saying "He is a man without core belief: without a political or intellectual compass"? If he were a libertarian that would be his core belief!

Howard said...

Sour grapes indeed. Most odd as i thought he was close to Cameron. Now read Rentoul in the Sunday Indy. One of the most pathetic articles I have ever read.

John M Ward said...

I read this earlier today, following the link from Guido's "Seen Elsewhere" box (I always check out whatever is in there) and it seemed to be yet another of those twisted articles that no doubt many of us have seen from sources such as the BBC, Mirror, Grauniad, and indeed the so-called Independent.

It has been a source of concern to me over a number of years that the mainstream media pursue their own personal and corporate agenda rather than doing the job they purport to do. Slanted media belong in the old USSR, with Pravda and Izvestia as they were then (I don't know what they're like now) and not here in Britain.

Free speech is great, even if it is rather selective nowadays (as I have found out personally in recent times!) but official organisations have a specific role, especially the media, and their DUTY is to be impartial and fair. I have seen very, very little sign of that in Britain during this millennium...

tapestry said...

Heffer, Anderson. Any more of these pettifogging dinosaurs fearing a new political age that will travel beyond the scope of their limited intellects?

Craig Ranapia said...

Oh, go on with you. By the same token, Andrew Gilligan should have constantly re-iterated his gratitude to Boris for giving him work when he was journalistically discredited but he rarely, if ever did.

Not quite, simonh. A better analogy should have been 'If Andrew Gilligan wants to write an opinion piece assailing the BBC as a pack of spineless toadies of Number 10, he's perfectly entitled to -- but some disclosure of a potential conflict of interest is in order."

dearieme said...

Could Anderson lay off the sauce for three months?

asquith said...

I love Bruce. I just love the way he's so transparent. One thinks of his relentless attacks on David Davis, which again turned out to be based on personal grievance.

But is it not the case that he's implicitly criticised David Cameron? That would be a first for him, I think...

PS-
What is he like in real life?

verity said...

John Ward - Certainly slanted news from government sources is Sovietesque, but the independent media are free, like any other private enterprise, to puruse their own agenda within the law.

Your claim that the media has a duty to be neutral - and, indeed, your claim that they have a duty to somehow selfless serve the public - is ridiculous. They don't. They can, without your permission, opine about the world as they see it; not as you see it. As can The Times, The Telegraph and all the provincial newspapers in the country. If people don't feel that what they write provides value and interest, they stop handing over their money.

The exception is the BBC because it is not funded in the free market. It has a duty to be neutral and instead pursues a toxic, anti-British agenda funded by a mandatory TV tax that people are required to pay under threat of imprisonment. This is truly grotesque.

Once, perhaps during WWII, it was probably a good idea to have a state broadcaster. Now it is utterly ridiculous. I used to think the BBC should be sold off in segments to entrpreneurs or companies, but now I think it should be destroyed down to the last paperclip.

Ross said...

Bruce Anderson isn't a Simon Heffer type demanding ideological purity, he is a pragmatist. When he criticises Johnson he is worth listening to.

Also Anderson was not sacked by Johnson, he resigned in protest when Boris Johnson gave over the diary column to the totalitarian treasonous scumbag, George Galloway.

Anonymous said...

It's all so simple in your world, isn't it verity? The market is perfect, it isn't in any way rigged in favour of the already wealthy and powerful, just let it rip and dismantle the state and nothing will ever go wrong.

It don't work that way.

verity said...

One Night in Bangkok (you poor soul. Even a single night in Bangkok is hell.)

Are you American? If not, why are you using an Americanism? It don't work that way. I'll bet you're the type who says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." and "Ain't gonna happen." Am I right?

Actually, free enterprise works and state control does not work - except for employees of the state. Yes. It's that simple. The free market works.

Chris Paul said...

The fact he had a run in with Boris, even that he has a chip on his shoulder, does not disqualify the man from having a view or indeed disqualify that view from being correct. It may give him an edge over other commentators.

In fact it was a kind of "familiarity breeds contempt" argument that Andrew Gilligan used on Friday night to justify his spleen against Ken. And of course Boris rescued him when he was sacked for overstepping the mark.

Boris is a Bozo and he will surely come a cropper even if it is not through following your silly personnel advice Iain.

Iain Dale said...

I didn't say he shouldn't have a view All I am saying is that maybe it might have been relevant to have declared his past history with Boris. Surely even you can see the logic of that.

Ted said...

Ross
The Brute was indeed sacked as Political Editor of the Spectator by Boris - he resigned as editor-at-large a year later complaining about Galloway being given a diary piece and (perhaps more importantly) about not getting enough articles in the magazine.
Sour grapes.

Little Black Sambo said...

Ah! And did Boris sack Heffer as well?
Very well chosen picture of Anderson, by the way, showing the contemptuous curling lip.

Ross said...

Ted, thanks for the correction.

John M Ward said...

Verity - Although I very much appreciate your distinction between the BBC (as a publicly-funded media source) and the others, and thank you for reminding us all of that, I still believe that thew media in general need to be truer to their purported purpose.

If they are not prepared to do that, and are using their position of "information control" to manipulate society to their own ends, then there is far too much scope for corruption. Just as in the Bond story "Tomorrow Never Dies", society is being interfered with by uncontrolled vested interests. That is dangerous, and one-dimensional thinking on this whole subject will allow that to flourish.

I do not have an easy answer to this, but the Blogosphere is helping to turn the tide, albeit slowly, so is one factor in damage limitation to our society through media tampering.

verity said...

John M Ward writes: I still believe that thew media in general need to be truer to their purported purpose.

Their "purported purpose" is to make money for the owners.

Also, what do you mean by "the new media"? Newspapers have been around for centuries. If it's TV you're referring to, their "purported purpose" (save the British-hating Broadcasting Corporation, is as above: to make money for the owners. What's wrong with that? If you don't like their views, don't buy their papers or watch their stations.

I do agree with you about the blogosphere, which is why the EUSSR is trying to encage it is some new rules and regulations.

nick said...

I do find it slightly amusing when the BBC news refers to "Chinese (or Burmese, North Korean etc.) State Television" reporting something, with the suggestion that they are churning out Government propaganda and might not be entirely truthful. Pot, kettle...

Henry Rogers said...

Iain,

I'm sure in the world of journalism Heffer, Anderson, Polly T and Yasmin A-B command a certain amount of respect and status. After all, their articles are paid for by someone or other.

Outside their own environment that counts for little. Most of the people who read their articles are perfectly capable of forming their own opinions and do just that. The people who don't read their articles probably say something like "Who was that nut on TV last night?" and are still able to form their own opinions. Why else the results last Thursday? Paper tigers, all four of them!

Adrian Yalland said...

Er....a slightly dysfunctional article. If Boris is a 'libertarian' then that is his core belief surely!

He makes no sense in that respect.

What is a Tory anyway? There is no such thing as Conservative ideology - just a coming together of various sentiments.

Bruce Anderson needs to go back to school!

david such said...

Iain,

Why have you illustrated this article about a chap called Bruce Anderson with a picture of a bulldog chewing a wasp?

richard nabavi said...

Iain, I think you've lost some of your usual balance here. It's not a 'bile-fuelled' article, nor particularly anti-Boris - Bruce Anderson always writes in that style. He certainly doesn't say Boris has a 'second-class brain' - in fact quite the opposite. You've selected one quotation, but what about the following which also appear in the article?

"Mayor Boris has two assets: the ambition – he will not want to fail – and a brain. Narrowly missing a First in Greats, he did not fall short because of stress arising from overwork... From now on, he will have to do better.."

"On crime, however, where he has much less executive authority, Boris's qualities might prove useful. London's crime crisis could only be brought under control by a myriad of local initiatives... Boris could be the Mayor to encourage all those active citizens."

"If Boris's mayoralty did slide giggling beneath the waves, the embarrassment could damage the Tories' prospects. Conservatives must hope, therefore, that the less Wodehousian aspect of his character become apparent, which they may. In contrast to Gordon Brown, it is not certain that Boris will fail."

I would say this falls squarely into the category of fair comment - you may agree with it or disagree with it, but he makes some interesting points which don't come over to me as 'sour grapes'.

Shouldn't we be concentrating our fire on the bias at the BBC?

tapestry said...

Boris is showing his libertarian credentials - and is way ahead of these two commentators (Anderson and Heffer) from the earlier era of big state politics.

See this extract from Direct Democracy -

Congratulations to Boris Johnson for securing the Mayor of London vote in the teeth of some, at times, vituperative negative campaigning. We outlined the localist case for supporting him on the Our Kingdom blog last week and according to the Sunday Telegraph, he looks set to further his democratic credentials by putting Ken Livingstone's proposed congestion charge western extension to the public vote. If this willingness to devolve decision-making in London is the sign of things to come then we are very optimistic about the reign of Mayor Johnson.

dave B said...

@Verity
"I think it should be destroyed down to the last paperclip."

Very much like your BBC policy. Solve, don't tinker. :-)

Anonymous said...

Bruce Anderson is a bore.