Julia Hobsbawm’s Editorial Intelligence held a soiree at the RSA on Wednesday about the “Power of the Commentariat“. They had surveyed a hundred or so of the pundit class and invited them to the event to discuss their findings. The great and the good of the chatterati voted Polly Toynbee the most influential columnist and (outside Big Media) Guido the most influential blogger in Britain. Some of the great and the good didn’t like that one little bit.
What insight did these editorial titans take from that? Simon Jenkins, Suzanne Moore, Charles Clarke and Polly obsessed about the uncouth comments from the co-conspirators and CiFers. They are the people. The people you don’t meet at Hampstead dinner parties or in the village deli of your Italian villa. The people who are sick and tired of the metropolitan elite can now tell you so at the bottom of your own article. Polly clearly hates the indignity of being told she is wrong by the CiF mob where her colleagues can see it and laugh along. They really don’t like it up ’em do they?
Polly basically said Guido can’t be good because he doesn’t like politicians. Simon Jenkins reckoned Guido, Dale and ConservativeHome were too SW1-focused. Charles Clarke said we were self obsessed (nobody laughed). Suzanne Moore said Guido is a wanker in his bedroom. Daniel Finkelstein was the only one of the Commentariat to defend bloggers.
Lets deal with these in order:
If you can bring yourself to listen to them whine at length, the podcast is here. Of the voices heard only Hobsbawm, Finkelstein and a chap from Microsoft “got it”, he said he thought it sounded like he had entered a room full of whigs complaining about pamphleteers. Exactly.