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

Jeremy Corbyn in the Evening Standard

“… we must also face the uncomfortable fact that a small number of our members and supporters hold anti-Semitic views and attitudes, which need to be confronted and dealt with more rapidly and effectively.

The evidence is clear enough. Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.

So let me be clear. People holding those views have no place in the Labour Party.

… we have not done enough to get to grips with the problem, and the Jewish community and our Jewish members deserve an apology. My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused. … We must strive to understand why anti-Semitism has surfaced in our party…

… when criticism of or opposition to the Israeli government uses anti-Semitic ideas — attributing its injustices to Jewish identity, demanding that Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct, or comparing Israel to the Nazis — then a line must be drawn.  Anti-Zionism is not in itself anti-Semitic and many Jews themselves are not Zionists. But there are also a very few who are drawn to the Palestinian question precisely because it affords an opportunity to express hostility to Jewish people in a “respectable” setting. Our movement must not be a home for such individuals.

Second, there are people who have come to see capitalism and imperialism as the product of conspiracy by a small shadowy elite rather than a political, economic, legal and social system. That is only a step from hoary myths about “Jewish bankers” and “sinister global forces”.

These views do no service to the struggle for a just society.”

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