Guido fears the sad decline of The Economist will continue under the new editor – the new Bagehot columnist is Jeremy Cliffe, currently the UK politics correspondent. Undeniably a bright boy, he is after all a former Harvard Fellow, graduating from Oxford where he studied modern languages specialising in the Marxist literature of Spain and Germany. A spell in Brussels interning for the Party of European Socialists led to him working for Chuka Umunna and briefly on the “David Miliband for Leader” campaign. Guido reported some controversy a couple of years ago when it was suggested that Andrew Rawnsley was plagiarising Cliffe’s writing – something Rawnsley angrily denied. Last week Cliffe wrote that the Conservative Party was “a party simply not grown-up enough to deserve/win a majority.” We shall see in a few weeks if this is a great insight or just the hope of Chuka’s former intern….
Jeremy Cliffe will, as is traditional, get to sign off his column as Bagehot. The real Walter Bagehot of course studied mathematics and moral philosophy, called to the Bar aged 26 he chose instead to work in banking and shipping. He then founded the National Review before becoming editor of The Economist for 17 years. During which time he famously wrote “The English Constitution” and “Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market” from which we derive the “Bagehot Dictum”. A dictum which two centuries later still guided central bankers to provide liquidity to solvent banks in the 2008 credit crisis. Bagehot’s accomplishments were enviable.
To be fair to Jeremy he tweets a lot and presents occasional BBC Radio 4 documentaries, the latest of which suggested we should take Russell Brand seriously. No further questions m’lud.