I have been most interested by the reactions to what has happened to the late Screws and in watching Cameron twisting in the wind as his erstwhile allies fall apart. (Tony would have handled it much better). Hang on a minute, I thought, the Screws were a tabloid, getting the kind of stories that tabloid readers like. That was their job. And when some of them were caught doing illegal things, they got into trouble. More than one Screws journo has been arrested in recent years, and one has done time. So there is due process when they break the law. Rightly. One commenter has noted that a Screws journalist "gloated" over a story about something unfortunate which happened to him/her. I have experienced this too, not from the Screws but from elsewhere. Why do they do this? Are they really so pleased that someone's life has been damaged by their story? Surely they would just be pleased to get the story, and not pleased about the misery? That is just evil. I saw it myself in Reading, when the Reading Evening Post, known locally as His Master's Voice in Mr Salter's time, and now that Labour has retaken control of the council still in the business of copying out council press releases and little else, did a story not designed to be helpful to yours truly, from anonymous sources and without speaking to me. They put it on the front page. That evening I was doing an advice surgery in a pub, as I did one Friday evening a month, the Wynford Arms I remember it was, a gay pub then and I believe still now, when in came the author of that story, who for a while at least, maybe still, lived at the pub as the partner of the landlord. Anyway, David Millward, for it was he, did not see me at first and started bragging about how he had "done over" the MP. He shut up pretty quickly, not because he saw me but because the other drinkers did not appreciate the line he took. But what I wonder is why they are so personal? Why the gloating? They don't care in personal terms about the people they write about, so how come they enjoy their suffering? I really would like to know the answer to that. What I do know is that they don't all do it. There are a number of decent people who work as tabloid journalists, and good ones too. I would single out Nigel Nelson of the People as such, but there are others. Is there a former or present tabloid journalist out there who can explain the gloating to me? Anonymously of course if you prefer, most of my commenters prefer that, sadly.
David Millward now works as public relations spokeperson for Reading Borough Council. Hardly gamekeeper turned poacher, as his job for the Reading Evening Post was bringing council press releases to the attention of the public, and it still is. He told the Wynford Arms that he had just come from the council offices. Well, of course he had. Certain councillors had been feeding him beer and clapping him warmly on the back in congratulation.
A commenter cites Marina Hyde, whom he or she correctly describes as "loathsome" as saying she feels "clean" because she works for the Guardian. How exactly? A paper that is the quintessence of bad faith, inciting racial hatred on a regular basis while pretending to be the Nice People's Paper. To say nothing of printing lies on a regular basis. What's clean about that? There is a stink rising from the pages of the Guardian which revolts decent people, I tell you, Marina. Smugness about the fate of the Screws ill befits anyone working in journalism.
It was brought to my attention over the weekend that when staff and especially press officers of a major national charity with a high international profile heard about the Screws they applauded, and some of them began dancing. So says one who was there. When I asked, politely, what they found so joyous about the demise of a sometime great campaigning paper at the whim of its proprietor because, allegedly, of illegal activities by a small number of its employees, with hundreds of jobs lost by people who had done nothing illegal or wrong, while the chief executive, who surely ought to be accountable, remains in post, I was told "This conversation is over". Because tabloids are Bad. Because they are read by Working-Class People.some of whom like tit and bum pictures. But the Guardian is Good. Despite its support for Hamas. Whose position on respect for women and equality is, remind me...
There is a smell about the UK chattering classes that is fit to choke us all. It has already choked off fair and reasoned debate.
May you reap as you have sown.