The Spectator Documentary

BBC News claims that the programme tonight reveals that:

The Spectator’s legendary capacity for mischief-making remains undimmed.

The final irony, after an extraordinary six months, is the magazine’s circulation has never been higher…

It might be worth, as an antidote, turning to the leading article in this week’s Spectator where Douglas Hurd urges politicians to stop giving in to the media, and especially to the culture of brutality, fear and sentimentality epitomised by the Daily Mail. Article here

* Oh for a life away from media exposure says She who would rather be a squirrel up a tree at times like these … *

27 thoughts on “The Spectator Documentary”

  1. Two observations.

    1. The BBC doesn’t understand what the term “irony” means. (See Fowler p. 305.) There is a (very loose) notion of an “irony of fate”. But the term is best used properly, if it is to remain useful and not be voided of significance.

    2. If the BBC means that it is surprised that publicity – good or bad – results in sales, what planet is it living on?

  2. …of course, giving away hundreds of free copies to students, like last night, can’t harm the Speccie’s circulation, either, can it?

    It was great to finally meet “the man himself” – vive Boris, vive The Spectator!

  3. Hurd’s well-expressed article is exactly to the point. Powerful press owners promoting gutter policies designed to reach the lowest possible political levels of society, and imposing these policies on politicians (who should know better), is one of the ugliest aspects of British life.

    What Hurd does not say, is that the press also act as a powerful force against the modernization of this country, by keeping people largely in ignorance about the way the outside world is changing and developing, projecting an anti-technology, anti-foreign viewpoint, and exaggerating the achievements of this country.

  4. Well, in a way, Simon, weblogs like this one help to highlight anything lurking in the shadows. We can help erode the power of these Big Brothers by highlighting some home truths.

    Long live free expression via the blogosphere !!! and while I’m at it Boo to Tony’s Cronies and the stage they are trying to set for the G Election – keep to cool Blue. [leetspeek coming up] It’s far Kler and we must look for more sploitz.

    Yay! Bet this programme will be a laugh a minute! have my basket of sewing to do while I sit for an hour and just hope I don’t prick my finger in the process.

  5. Is politics becomming the new pop idol? Will the best looking product with the smoothest delivery always win? Will he remove our freedoms and sell us down the river with a smile? Yeah I think so.

    Is our society media judged and media led? Good comment simon. I think the reality is far more sinister most people think. If media moguls are leading the public in favour of politicians with tailored articles then that is worrying enough but not new. That the media is orchestrating British Politics is more so. But that the media is our only defence against the current administration with no hope of change is just not worth thinking about! If our only hope in life is the Spectator and Private Eye then God help us. Vote Boris!
    PS: Long live free expression? Well yeah but in the New Labour society there are so many restrictions on it it’s a wonder people say good morning! Good morning Melissa 🙂 (and up yours Tony!)

  6. Boris. Woot Woot 🙂 Just found your blog. It is too cool to mention. Brilliant. If we can just persuade you to upgrade to WordPress it will be perfect.The mark up here is shocking 🙂
    Public life is diminished without you. Good luck and Best Wishes.

  7. I am an American lawyer in NYC and find it cool that I can comment and get comments from an British member of Parliment online. When you write to Congressmen and Senators in this country you get back (if your lucky) an form letter signed by a machine–not quite as vibrant a democracy as claimed sometimes.

  8. Frankly I found the documentary boring. It was a mash of David Blunkett, scandals and that clip of Boris locking himself out that we have all seen a hundred times.

  9. I read Hurd’s article this morning and did not think it was worth the effort. (To be fair though it was Sunday morning.)

    He makes a few valid observations about the tabloid press but they do not strike me as new. He is right to lament the hysteria which the tabloids drum up over trivia. However we cannot simply blame the tabloids for this. The entire media and political cultures play their part. And what is more, given how useless the political opposition has been of late, I do not think it would be a good idea for politicians to try and turn the tables on the press even if it is on a well-chosen issue. Given this government’s track record and instincts we need more support for the media not less. Some of us feel that since 1997 if there had not been a robust press and a developing internet, opposition views would hardly have been aired at all.

    Re the Speccie I know its sales are at a high and that can only be good news. That said I am not as satisfied with it as I used to be. For example it may be my imagination but I get the feeling that the Speccie has gone more than a bit wet over the last couple of years. Also one of the great things about the Speccie in the past was reading the letters page but I get the impression reader feedback has diminished. As for commentary I find I increasingly get this from the net. I think there could be scope for the Speccie to update its online offering. My subscription is up for renewal and I have yet to decided whether to do so.

  10. I think that this from Jean Baudrillard can apply to both Red Ken and The Spectator Documentry from last night:

    ‘It is not a scandal to be denounced according to moral…rationality, but a challenge to take up according to symbolic law.’

  11. Melissa I suspect being a squirrel would be not as stress-free as you seem to think. Squirrels freak out and run away every three seconds. Thank god we don’t have quite that hair-trigger of a fight-or-flight response! Plus, squirrels can’t eat chocolate.

  12. Lori, Scaryduck and Dafyd

    – love your squirrel analyses and speculation. In gene terms scientists would say we are not too distantly related from squirrels. Apparently humans have genetic similarities to seaweed! (Read The Genome by Matt Ridley – good holiday reading)

    Your squirrel on waterskis is priceless Dafyd – bet I didn’t look that good last year whizzing round on w/skis for the first time. It was exhilarating tho’.

    Those lucky scampering squirrels in my garden – can’t help a sense of massive envy welling up at the sight of one. Unquestionably a case of squirrel-envy (woe is me!)

  13. I actually read Genome some time ago–blew my mind. Right now I’m reading “Collapse” about the potential that we’ll all disappear due to environmental changes that may or may not be out of our control. Its actually not as depressing as you would imagine for the topic.

  14. Wifey – the pic of the squirrel is achingly cute!

    Jozef – good one there with Why Blog … let’s see…

  15. Jozef – why should Boris contribute? Let’s face it – it’s Melissa (or Melsisa, according to her last comment) who blogs on this site…!

  16. Be careful what you say, Melissa….

    “In warmer climates there are two breeding seasons, in the late winter and mid-summer. In colder climates, there is only one, taking place in late winter. Females are receptive to males for one day. Many males chase the female, attempting to mate with her. After mating, the male and female seperate, leaving the female to care for the young alone.”

    I can see the Sun headline now:


  17. *slightly sapped* cheers tim…..

    perhaps stick only to the pics next time ?!

    good one m8

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