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Tuesday 13 September 2011

Righteous Minds

The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre have had a great idea: to collect the various comment columns, along with other posts and a sheaf of links, into a group blog format. Thus they line Right Minds up against Comment Is Free at the Guardian, Maily Telegraph blogland, and even the Huffington Post UK.

In fact, the new venture is already being nicknamed the Heffington Post because it is edited by Simon Heffer, late of the Maily Telegraph. So what has the Hefferlump to offer the occasional and curious visitor? The answer is not encouraging: Steven Baxter has already given it the thumbs down, and I agree, but for different reasons.

Firstly, Right Minds has not been well signposted from the Mail Online homepage – one might have thought that, as the new kid on the block, there would be a plug to get the readers in. And having looked in, the top offerings are a turn-off. There is “Chapman & Co”, top post by Tim Shipman. Is someone taking the piss? Shipman is one of the worst at churning out knocking copy to order.

Then we are offered “Ephraim Hardcastle – Britain’s most acerbic diarist”. Yeah, right. This column is written by Peter McKay, aka Peter McLie, the World’s Worst Columnist. McHackey passed his sell-by date decades ago. But at least there is Peter Hitchens, who is always readable even if one doesn’t agree with him.

Then, leering at us rather more prominently than all of these, is Fat Dick Littlejohn, whose latest pisspoor offering I considered earlier. Memo to Heffer and Dacre: Dick is also past his sell-by date. It’s pointless trying to push something as being fresh and new when it’s full of the same old drivel.

Ah, though, look – a man of the cloth! Er, forget it: the Reverend Doctor Peter Mullen is a raving fruitcake of the worst kind, homophobic, Islamophobic, Europhobic, and further to the right than Genghis Khan. Who else is there? Amanda bloody Platell, Max “Hitler” Hastings, the famous Harry Phibbs (he does?), and Telegraph refugee Nile “Chauncey” Gardiner, bleating because Barack Obama is alive.

Thus far, it’s a case of the usual suspects peddling the usual Mail fayre. And the subjects are hardly original: “Why so many of our companies aren’t British anymore” carps one headline. And, as Steven Baxter has pointed out, when you finally work your way down to the blogroll, there is just a list of The Usual Suspects that many blog readers will already have seen.

As Baxter says, Right Minds isn’t going to fail, not with the Mail’s resources behind it, but right now one has to ask what the point of it all is. It’s just the Daily Mail’s usual punditry, reheated. And, when group blogs elsewhere are offering something fresh and different, that’s not good enough.

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