Former Economist Editor Lambasts Bagehot Columnist


Guido has been chronicling the decline of The Economist and in particular the once revered Bagehot column for some time. This week’s copy has a letter to the editor from a former editor-in-chief of The Economist, Andrew Knight and Charles Moore, the biographer of Margaret Thatcher. It is a a corker on the subject of a recent Bagehot column on “Thatcher Undecomposed”. They are not impressed…

The full letter is worth reading, it tears apart the contradictions, oversights and mistakes in the column. The conclusion alone is pretty damning:

What one looks for in Bagehot’s newspaper is analysis, rather than generalising replete with attitude. Leaving aside his protracted expression of dismay over Brexit and Euroscepticism (the “flames” of which Thatcher wickedly “fanned” with her Bruges speech), Bagehot’s overall conclusion is an odd (in your pages) mercantilist sally. His Little-Britain lunge is that Thatcher’s free-marketry has left Britain “the Wimbledon of global capitalism, more successful at hosting world-class players than producing them”.

Thatcherites should celebrate that metaphor. Wimbledon: a great global tournament in the heart of British suburbia creating lots of jobs; lots of national prestige; lots of exciting visitors to the grass courts; lots of competition. Lots, in short, of the levelling out, the subsidy-less prosperity, the excitement, enjoyment and fun of the very sort she (and the original Walter Bagehot) would have relished.

That today’s Bagehot can be accused of mercantilism shows how far The Economist has strayed from and is betraying the free trade cause it was founded to further.

Somehow this letter to the editor only appears online and not in the print edition. Fancy that…

The full letter is reproduced below:

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Charles Moore Takes Question Time to Task on Balance

Guido was reminded of this research while watching Question Time last night – the research found that 86% of the time the panel was dominated by Remainers. Charles Moore pointed out that he was the only Leave voter on the panel, showing twice as many Remain voters appear on the programme than Leave voters. This won’t come as a surprise to many regular viewers…

The IEA’s analysis referenced by Moore also shows a two to one bias in favour Remain supporting panelists. Guido understands that it must be hard to balance the panel given that the media class and Parliament as a whole is so out of touch with the country on the question of Brexit, but surely it isn’t an impossible task…

Charles Moore Slams Question Time’s 4:1 Remain Panel

Charles Moore received a substantial round of applause on Question Time last night for pointing out that he was the only member of the panel last night to have voted Leave in 2016.

“Everybody on this panel except for me comes from a remain point of view in the referendum… and therefore they don’t understand why people care about this and they don’t see what the real issue at stake is.”

He’s right…

Charles Moore on David Furnish

Charles Moore in the Speccie:

“For some reason, possibly homophobic, the media just now is refusing to give any coverage to David Furnish, the spouse of Sir Elton John. I think they are trying to suppress an important argument that Mr Furnish made recently.”

George Osborne and Charles Moore in Conversation at Policy Exchange Event

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Leading think tank, Policy Exchange, is delighted to welcome The Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to an event on the evening of Thursday 15th October. To mark the official launch of his latest book, Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Volume Two: Everything She Wants, official Thatcher biographer, Charles Moore, will be in conversation with the Chancellor.

This event is expected to be extremely popular. To apply for a ticket email events@policyexchange.org.uk.

The event will also be live streamed.

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