Time to End Anonymous Times Leader Columns

Times Masthead

When Guido started back in 2004 he tried to be an anonymous blogger until he was outed by the Guardian duing the 2005 elections (a Labour party employee had traced back the fax number).  A major part of the reason for that was to save my wife embarrassment.

nightjackNowadays the third person anonymity on this blog is just a stylistic device, for Richard Horton it was for essential career reasons, blogging policemen are breaking regulations. The Times claims public interest is behind the reason for outing the Orwell prize winning Nightjack blogger. Mr Justice Eady, who fancies himself to be a legislator as much as a judge, ruled that the mere fact that the blogger wanted to remain anonymous did not mean that he had a “reasonable expectation” of doing so or that The Times was under an enforceable obligation to him to maintain that anonymity.  He is clearly correct in law.

The Times journalist says he wanted to discover the true identity of the author of blog,  for with that knowledge he would be able to judge the standing and authority of the author.   The Times has daily leader columns, these famously thunder out the considered view of the newspaper on the issues of the day and seek to influence the direction of the country. It would enable Guido and the rest of us to better judge the standing and authority of those leaders if they were signed rather than anonymous.   Was the recent leader on Investment v Cuts,  which was so favourable to the Shadow Chancellor’s arguments, written by a former work colleague and friend of George Osborne?  It would be nice to know.

Which employee of BSkyB supremo James Murdoch argued for a smaller BBC and against giving licence fee money to Channel 4?  Who wrote the last leader calling for interest rate cuts?  Was it Rupert Murdoch himself?  All News Corp’s newspapers worldwide argue without exception for interest rate cuts.  Hardly surprising when you know  News Corp struggles to service interest payments on $14 billion of debts…




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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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