Will Woke Pundits Get ‘Joke’?

Amazing isn’t it, that pictures that have been lying around on newspaper picture desks for a week are suddenly on the front pages today. Most of the coverage is under newsdesk bylines rather than sports writers. The English Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison said last night: ‘We have spoken with both Clare and Ben – as well as others in attendance – who have all clarified the innocent context behind the still photographs taken at last week’s PCA Awards. Whilst it is not the case here, we recognise that for the millions who are impacted by domestic violence, this is a very real and serious issue.’ So the collective line from the sports world is “it was a joke” and that is where sports hacks are going to leave it. Let’s see what the likes of Marina Hyde, Camilla Long, Sarah Vine, Gaby Hinsliff, Camilla Cavendish, Caitlin Moran, Jane Moore and, err Charlotte Edwardes have to say about the pictures in their newspaper columns…

mdi-timer 9th October 2019 @ 12:41 pm 9th Oct 2019 @ 12:41 pm mdi-comment Comments
Tough Day for the Boris-Hating Punditocracy

Today is a tough day for journalists and columnists who will never be as successful as Boris, particularly the ones that wrote him off.

And what happened to Gove?


Of course it’s not just the pundits who wrote Boris off:

As Brexiteers celebrate tonight, spare a thought for the principled haters and even the mere detesters of Boris, Rafael Behr, Matthew d’Ancona, Philip Collins‏, Polly Toynbee, Owen Jones and not forgetting, of course, Mathew Parris. It can’t be easy for them…

mdi-timer 23rd July 2019 @ 12:15 pm 23rd Jul 2019 @ 12:15 pm mdi-comment Comments
Australian Labor Won 54 Polls in a Row, Including Exit Poll, Lost Actual Election

As a shocked Australian Labour Party licks its wounds at the unexpected loss of the election, the governing Liberal Party will be giving thanks to Lynton Crosby’s campaign management and polling. Three months ago every “expert” pundit down under expected and predicted Labor to win the general election. Some exit polls today even showed a clear Labour majority. Even as the counts came in Labor refused to concede. CNN eventually reported that “Labor May Have Lost Unlosable Election”.

The messaging was classic Crosby, repeated continually, Australians were posed a simple choice, “Do you want more jobs or more taxes?” Crosby confounded the pollsters when he delivered a majority Conservative government for Cameron in 2015. He’s done it again against the odds for Morrison in Australia. Tory MPs will be wondering as they mull over their future leadership contenders, whether the combo that delivered London for them in 2008 and 2012 can deliver victory for them again in 2022…

mdi-timer 18th May 2019 @ 4:34 pm 18th May 2019 @ 4:34 pm mdi-comment Comments
Matthew’s Myth Making


Most left-of-centre broadsheets like to have a tame, ‘nice’ Tory, who understands the party and can translate the Tory tribes for readers who have never kissed a Tory and think they all go to their country estates for fox hunting on the weekends. Mark Wallace does an excellent job of explaining, not campaigning, in his columns. Guido usually checks out Matthew d’Ancona’s Guardian column to see how he explains the exotic Conservative carnivores to the quinoa-eating classes. The former editor of the Spectator is a better read than most Guardianista keyboard culture warriors…

His column this morning concludes:

“Brexit was designed by its most passionate supporters to fail: its purpose was to be betrayed, to enable a new movement to rise up, animated by fury and fear. Such a movement has now been born. It is already tearing the Conservative party to pieces. That, sad to say, is only the beginning of its plan.”

That is a failure of analysis amounting to myth making of his own. After the referendum, Vote Leave wound up, Dominic Cummings went to ground, Nigel Farage was happily cashing in on a media career, Matthew Elliott was off to the corporate world. No one was planning a new movement. They were demob happy and disengaging from frontline politics.

Kidding Guardian readers that Brexiteers would fight for decades as a means to build a movement when the promised Brexitland failed to be delivered just does not make any sense. If he had argued that the failure to deliver would spark a backlash movement, that would be unarguable, to claim that Brexit was designed as a means to build a movement is tosh. It is because this Parliament of Remainers has screwed up that only now a movement is rising. If Parliament even at this late hour somehow voted for a meaningful Brexit, the backlash movement would be stillborn…

mdi-timer 29th April 2019 @ 11:07 am 29th Apr 2019 @ 11:07 am mdi-comment Comments
EU Negotiating Intransigence Always Precedes a Flip-Flop

The British commentariat has for the past three years delighted in reporting EU negotiating position as if it is an immovable object, the revealed gospel itself. That’s not what their track record in major negotiations suggests…

In 2010 it was almost universally received wisdom in the media and markets that there would be no Greek bailout. All the top figures vigorously denied it was even a possibility, as the Maastricht Treaty specifically precluded such a rescue package. As the EU kept reminding us…

  • The European Central Bank’s chief economist Jurgen Stark said that Greece does not meet the terms for a bailout, and that “The Treaties set out a ‘no bail-out’ clause, and the rules will be respected. This is crucial for guaranteeing the future of a monetary union.”
  • European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia insisted there was “no special EU plan for Greece”
  • Angela Merkel said “We have a Treaty under which there is no possibility of paying to bail out states.”

Of course, later in 2010, Greece received €310 billion in bailout money, despite that being illegal under treaty…

Guido would gently suggest to political pundits that negotiations are negotiations, and portraying the word of one side as if it is the word of the almighty, especially in the context of a contradictory track record, is beyond daft. The EU claims that the backstop is unlikely to come into play, so a time limit on something that is unlikely to happen is not a reason for the EU to force a disorderly Brexit. The EU consistently bends the rules when they come under pressure…

mdi-timer 30th January 2019 @ 11:33 am 30th Jan 2019 @ 11:33 am mdi-comment Comments
Profundity of the Punditry: Amber Rudd Edition

Some absolute classics from Fleet Street’s finest over the weekend. The usually sagacious John Rentoul’s Saturday column for the Indy declared Amber Rudd to be in a “surprisingly strong position”:

Dan Hodges at 5:13pm yesterday evening was almost onto something with his view that the latest Guardian story “supports Rudd”:

Top prize however goes to Paul Mason, who confidently tweeted at 9.56pm: “It’s become easier to imagine the end of the world than a Tory minister resigning for probably lying.”

News of Rudd’s departure broke just minutes later. Mason immediately fired off another 20 tweets to bury the take and cover his modesty. Peak neoliberalism? Peak punditry…

mdi-timer 30th April 2018 @ 10:56 am 30th Apr 2018 @ 10:56 am mdi-comment Comments
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