Friday, February 16, 2007

Peter Hitchens Stalking The Hitch

Something about the zeitgeist this month means that every successful blogger has to acquire a stalker. The Hitch has surpassed Guido in this sense. Whilst Guido has cyber-stalkers and comment trolls galore, the latent tension between “the real” Peter Hitchens the controversialist right-wing writer and the Peter Hitchens that writes for the Mail on Sunday is reaching hysterical levels. It was funny first time, but this round is bonkers.

First Hitchens complained to Yahoo that the Hitch was using the name Peter Hitchens in his Yahoo mail address. The complaint resulted in Yahoo removing his service. So he simply re-registered as therealpeterhitchens@… Then Guido got a phone call from the Hitch – “Peter Hitchens has just cycled up my drive”.

On his blog he elaborates -

I didn’t answer the door for a few reasons.
1, He didn’t ring the bell
2, I was wearing nothing other than my underwear
3, I thought “Fucking no way is that Peter Hitchens”

Having put a pair of pants on and gone to the door he was gone, If he hadn’t I would have invited him in. I have to say I admire his balls for doing it, the man has made a career out of touring some of the scariest places on earth and confronting far nastier folk than your humble blog host.

This “Hitch” admires the other “Hitch” but thinks he is a bit up himself and should lighten up, having said that , as long as he keeps threatening me he can fuck off and I will ratchet this up as high as he likes.

At first Guido thought the Hitch had been at the sherry, but no, he claims Peter Hitchens is moaning and making vague threats via email continuously. It is hard to see what course of action is open to him in law. There is no law against parody. In fact it seems to Guido if anyone is guilty of anything, it is Peter Hitchens for having a total lack of a sense of proportion. Cycling around peering through people’s letterboxes, he should be charged with travelling without a sense of humour. That’s stalkers for you…

Blair : Gordon is a Loser

Blair has just given a speech in Glasgow which is definitely a post-lunch thing:

“In the years to come, at some point of course we are bound to be in opposition.”

What happened to “New Labour is the political arm of the British people”?

Never Was Good at Deadlines

Whoops, have just noticed the Direction under Section 8(3) of the Charities Act 1993 sitting on the desk. Blah blah blah seven days blah blah blah liable to imprisonment blah blah. Have just had a very pleasant pissy lunch with Bryan Appleyard and now have to pick up Baby Ms Fawkes.
It will therefore have to wait until Monday. So Dame Suzi Leather, if you can just hang on and pop round for it then when Guido has found the tippex and got rid of all the fax numbers etc. But please, none of that “Kumbaya socialism” sing song thing you Christian socialists do. Coffee, dossier, on your way…

Friday Caption Contest (Papal Edition)

Is the New Statesman Compromised?

The old New Statesman historically was the discussion journal of the Labour party. Issues and personalities of the left were analysed within its pages and it still has serious journalists holed up at its offices. Yet compare the vitality of the Spectator to that of the Statesman, all shades of conservative and other strands of thought appear in the Speccie. But search for anything critical of Brown in the Statesman and you will find little.

Improved as it has been under Kampfner’s editing it still lacks something because the hand of Geoffrey Robinson is suffocating it. He is prone to wandering up to writers post publication and congratulating them with the line “Gordon liked your piece”. As if any self respecting serious writer on the left would care.

The whole issue of Robinson’s ownership and his total devotion to the Brown cause depresses staff. The embarrassment of being known as the Brownite house magazine with the symbiotic “independent charitable non-partisan think-tank” – which just so happens to have moved offices three times with them in the last ten years (can you guess who?) – makes staff blush.

Guido was filming outside their offices recently when Kampfner came out, “What are you up to?” he asked of us. “We’re doing a piece on the Smith Institute, care to comment?” “Oh no”, he said and walked off. What kind of state of affairs is it when the editor of the liberal left’s house journal won’t discuss the question of the independence and integrity of his magazine? It shares offices with a controversial think-tank under investigation by the Charity Commission for dubious practises involving the future leader of the Labour party. Every newspaper in the country is covering the story and the New Statesman ignores the elephant literally in the same room as it. Not a single story about the Smith Institute has appeared in the magazine with which it shares offices. Bizarre.

Nick Cohen, a New Statesman journalist, has a bestselling book out, What’s Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way. Guido can’t help but wonder if part of the answer can’t be found in the silence and timidity of the left’s leading journal when it comes to discussing what is going on under its own roof.

UPDATE : Guardian’s Greenslade challenges Kampfner, Martin Bright tries a Sith mind trick, these are not the stories you are looking for, you can go about your business…


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