The lowlight was the transformation of political correspondent James Macintyre from interviewer to polemicist. My advice is that he needs to return to interviewing forthwith. His essay on the apparent willingness of the media to give David Cameron a soft ride might have made the cut at Bexley Grammar School sixth form, but it was so full of holes that a more experienced editor would have spiked it or told him to start again. I'm tempted to give it a line by line fisk, but it's so poor as to hardly warrant the effort. It's odd because I have been rather impressed by Macintyre's articles in his first few months in the job. Some of his interviews have been first class.
Sarah Brown's Diary was possibly the dullest diary column in the history of the genre. "I had not seen Cherie for a while." No kidding. "But was pleased to find myself by chance on the same plane to the US last week so we could catch up." As they say on the interweb, LMAO or ROFL. They hate each other.
And I wonder if Alastair Campbell could explain his rationale for publishing an article by Alina Palimaru, a student in Washington. Apparently he/she thinks the Tories are a joke in Washington. Well, hey, thanks for the remarkable insight. This wasn't Bexley Grammar School standard. It was Bexley Year 6.
And then came the fourth page long article (hint: a bit of variety of length always works better - a tip I picked up behind the bikesheds at school) comes from Tony Blair who uses his 900 words to bore us to death about why he does God.
The fifth page long article in a row is headlined "A convention of cant". I can't help thinking there's a typo in that somewhere.
The sixth page long article in a row comes from James Macintyre's Dad, Donald, in a Letter from Jerusalem. Boy is he missed in the political lobby. It's the best written article in the whole mag.
There then follows a double page spread of one line suggestions for inclusion in a Labour manifesto submitted via Campbell's own (increasingly unmissable) blog, LabourHome and DraperList. Some of them are unintentionally hilarious. Take this one...
Put people first and business second - because that's the only way business will survive.Next up is Alastair Campbell's
The final extended feature is perhaps the most interesting and informative. It's a six page piece (including a vicious cartoon by Martin Rowson depicting Paul Dacre) on how the "truth" about state schools is twisted by journalists who send their kids to private schools. It's written by Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, who by happy coincidence is Alastair Campbell's partner. Hmmm.
I may have been a bit more critical in this blogpost than I intended when I started writing it, but actually, the issue did hang together quite well. I suspect sales will be up substantially on a normal week, and it was an innovative thing for the NS to do. When you work with Alastair Campbell, you'll never be short of a headline.
So that set me thinking, perhaps we should have a guest editor for a future issue of Total Politics. I'm sure Sarah Mackinlay would fancy a month off! Any suggestions?!
UPDATE: The student from Washington, Alina Palimaru has responded via Facebook. He clearly doesn't like it up him.
Iain,All fair points, apart from the fact that I didn't insult him. I gave my opinion on his pisspoor article. Not being down wiv da kidz, I am not sure what 'mofo' means. I responded...
A while ago, someone brought to my attention the fact that I shouldn't waste my time reading your blog, because you are a single-digit IQ amoeba. I dismissed their warning, because I don't like to make such assumptions about people, especially when it comes to underestimating them. I always welcome a good challenge, but when all I have to work with are ad hominem attacks... you don't leave me much choice, do you?
Now I understand that you are in the business of insulting people, throwing labels left and right, without much to corroborate your statements.
Besides the "grammar school" comparison that demonstrates what a half-baked brain you have, is there anything of substance that you are capable of adding to my article?
Am I automatically disqualified to advance an argument, simply because I'm a Master's student, or because my last name is not famous?
Get over yourself, mofo!
No, I am not in the business of insulting people. I am in the business of pointing out badly written, uninformative articles which should never have been published in a magazine like the New Statesman. I didn't insult you, I just wondered on what basis the article had been published. I read it twice and still couldn't work out what your point was. Perhaps it's my IQ that's the problem...