These f-ck me shoes were made for walking: Pugnacious pouting hackette Suzanne Moore claimed page three of The Guardian today — and nowhere else — by walking out on the New Statesman , the magazine she’s written and edited for for twenty years. The reason? The management of the Staggers , as part of yet another relaunch/goose-up, drafted in Blair spinmeister Alistair Campbell as a guest editor.
I bought the copy, but only because they didn’t make the “Guest Editor: Alistair Campbell” banner large or prominent enough. Possibly the typical blokey cover story — an interview with socc — sorry, football icon Alex Ferguson, should have been a bloody clue, even if the pages of New Labour puffery inside didn’t. Campbell had one killer story — how the private vs state school debate is being slanted by guilty journos and newspaper editors who have all sent their kids to private establishments — but it was an old tabloid-style gotcha story, nothing with real depth, which is what you want from the NS.
For Moore, though, it was an anti-war magazine opening its doors to the man who had done more than anyone to sell a pack of obvious lies to an uncertain general public, wot dun it. And she went, a brave gesture only slightly undercut by the fact thst she announced it in her column in The [Daily] Mail on Sunday, the perpetually angry petit-bourgeois tabloid whose usual enthusiasms are climate change denial, the madness of EU regulations, the perfidy of gypsies (travellers? Roma? political correctness gone mad!) and political correctness gone mad.
Moore, of course will always be known to Australian readers as the subject of La Greer’s rage against English female journalists with “fat cleavage and f-ck me shoes”. Or, more succinctly, against English female journalists.
Goody Goody Goody: If there was any chance that the late Jade Goody’s two small boys were going to come out of her long public dying unscathed, their mother’s final exit put paid to that. She died in the early hours of Sunday morning, which was, of course, Mother’s Day in the UK. Her demise was too late for the papers, but the airwaves were occupied with her life, death and its meaning throughout. It was no cold, dark, day — simply gray and indifferent.
Her mother came out to the front gate to announce it (her prostethic arm — she lost one riding pillion with Jade’s junkie father), and their publicist Max Clifford threw his bit in from, erm, Portugal. Everyone twittered on about how her life had been made meaningful by the increased numbers of women getting cervical smears, and OK ‘s commemorative issue “Jade Goody 1981-2009” — published four days before she died (nice) — sold out in hours.
Canonised by the tabloids who’d slagged her off, her decision to extract every last quid from the media to set her kids up was generally seen as understandable. And so it was — but what a price. One of her closest recent friends, her first ghost biographer, was barred from Goody’s wedding, because she represented a rival publishing group to OK! , which owned the rights. Sic transit gloria mundi. Sic sic sic.
Thick and thin: Truth is not stranger than fiction, it’s simply a flabbier, duller version, years late. Anyone who’s seen the classic recent BBC political comedy series The Thick Of It — now disappeared down the memory hole, because it starred cyber kiddie fiddler Chris Langham* — will recognise the story. Harried, perpetually backfooted minor minister tries some mildly dodgy scheme to make up a few expenses on accommodation allowance, and all hell breaks loose. In the show, Langham’s character left a flat permanently for sale, so he wouldn’t be accused of owning two homes etc.
In real life, Minister for London Tony McNulty has been claiming 15,000 quid a year for a room in his parent’s house in his constituency, a 45 minute drive from his actual home, closer in. Who knows, it may be his original room, still with the old Spurs posters, and the bed shaped like a race-car. It’s particularly embarrassing for McNulty because he’s been on huf n puff duty — going to public meetings of laid off workers, hearing their terrible stories about bureaucracy and vowing “give me your name at the end of the meeting and I will see that….” blah blah, and is on TV doing so, for people whose annual income is now half his bedroom allowance.
Now a dozen other Labour and a few Tory members have been caught doing the same thing, including Labour’s whip, whose two houses are six miles from the centre, on opposite sides of London. What to do in times when people are up in arms about bonuses etc?
In The Thick of It they announced an inquiry, at which point everyone whooped for joy — knowing they’d been saved. In real life — they announced an inquiry. End Times for New Labour…
*just to clarify — Langham didn’t actually abuse any children directly. He accessed kiddiep-rn on the internet.