After 25 years on Newsnight, the end is in sight for The Inquisition Of Pax Jeremiah: Paxman will leave the BBC’s current affairs show at the end of June. “I have decided it is time to move on from Newsnight”, he told. “This was a decision I reached - and informed the BBC of - last July. I shall work out the remainder of my contract and will not seek another”. Very LBJ of him.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
For many, Newsnight and Paxman are synonymous. To go back to the time before he arrived at the programme is to see a world where Mrs T was still in 10 Downing Street, the Tory Party was not riven with dissent over the EU, and hardly anyone had heard of the World Wide Web. So his departure is a time for reflection, speculation on the future, and a side order of sheer stupidity.
That last is because, sticking her bugle in from across the North Atlantic, has been (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, who, as usual, knows more about this subject than everyone else. “Ian Katz, yes you, crap Guardianista one-sided view Newsnight, just lost us Paxman. Monumental fail” she howled, to no avail, as Katz has a life and doesn’t do responses to professional trolls.
But Ms Mensch’s high regard for Paxo is clear, as she pleads “Please [Sajid Javid] – please can Jeremy Paxman be made Director General of the BBC. He was born to do it”. Yes, a former MP believes that the Culture Secretary has it in his gift to appoint the DG. That’s a truly magnificent slice of stupidity, as well as a blindingly false assumption. The DG is first and foremost an administrator.
Paxo is a formidable journalist and interrogator of politicians, but whether he would like anything to do with all the organisational politics is doubtful. And in any case, is Newsnight broadcast Stateside? Er, no: in response to some memorable clips being signposted, she replied “made me REALLY homesick actually. Nearly cried. Paxman is a bloody great Englishman”. Try “truly” great, eh?
One watcher of this gushing tribute was unimpressed. “Oh pur-lease” exclaimed Piers Morgan, eliciting “you’re jealous, Piers, as well you might be” from Ms Mensch. Well, Morgan has not done the heavyweight political interviews that Paxman has made his stock in trade. But then, Paxo has never had to deal with the likes of Larry Pratt (gun lobby apologist and professional liar of no fixed principle).
And then came a moment of stupidity to put the cherry on Ms Mensch’s stupid cake, as she excused Paxo sneering at having to do the weather forecast by gushing “sneering was utterly brilliant, and far more effective than a refusal. Legend”. Yeah, disregard everything else, cos he’s a LEG-URND! Like Boris, perhaps? With the support of Ms Mensch, Paxo is in no need of enemies.
The level of stupidity and unintentional hilarity is unceasing. Ideal Murdoch material.