Those who manage and edit the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine exist in their own sealed establishment bubble; one need only look at the photos from one of the mag’s Summer parties to underscore this. No-one gets through the door who might prick the bubble, rock the boat, allow reality to intrude. That bubble is why the Speccy is chock full of cant and hypocrisy when it comes to calling “elitist” on others.
The Speccy is the elite. Its view of the world is the elite view. No-one who writes for the magazine admits to shopping at Aldi or Lidl. No author who praises Brexiteer Tim Martin sullies themselves by actually eating or drinking at a Spoons. And anyone possessed of a regional accent must have been approved by someone trustworthy before being let in the door. Because ordinary people with regional accents are not Spectator people.
Fraser Nelson - another out of touch elite editor
We have been reminded of this particularly sniffy facet of Speccy snobbery by one Melanie McDonagh, who has decreed that Lauren Laverne really isn’t the kind of person who should be let near the BBC’s long-running Desert Island Discs.
“The BBC needs to pick the best person for the job of presenting Desert Island Discs – and that isn’t Lauren Laverne, says Melanie McDonagh” the magazine’s Twitter feed has told its followers. Ms McDonagh’s article has a rather more brusque title - “Desert Island Discs has totally lost the plot”. So what is her problem with Ms Laverne?
The article drips with condescension. “It’s not her fault, obviously, that she will always be compared with former Desert Island Discs host Sue Lawley, a woman who could make a moment’s silence really tell. Lauren is Northern, not a common type on Radio 4. She’s also patently nice. Clearly she isn’t mean … There’s no getting away from it. Lauren is lightweight and uncerebral”. Could it get any nastier? It certainly could.
“When I asked a former radio critic what he thought of her he answered instantly: ‘Awful. I heard her with John Cooper Clark and it was sucking up to PC idiocy and brandished plebbiness’”. My dears, how GHASTLY that they allow one of those PROVINCIALS onto the airwaves! Why ever did they open the door to Wilfred Pickles?
The condemnation of this mean-spirited rubbish was swift. “This piece is so unnecessary and mean spirited … More snobby whining because someone who isn’t quite ‘officer class’ makes it onto the airwaves … You’ve finally found a journo in Melanie McDonagh who is even more of a smug troll than Rod Liddle [Ouch!] … What a pernicious, embarrassingly snobby and wholly stupid piece … That familiar superior sneer is palpable throughout this foul nonsense … Did you just throw a handful of darts at the Daily Mail, or are you aiming to win some sort of Hatred Efficiency Prize?” Ouch indeed.
As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. Lauren Laverne is a bloody good broadcast professional, period. All this article has done is to show that the Spectator magazine has lost its way badly. So it makes money? So, apparently, does Breitbart.
The time of the Spectator as an arbiter of taste was for a time, but not for all time.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at