Fresh from stitching up a representative from Extinction Rebellion to the satisfaction of his cheerleaders - not least the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog - former Murdoch editor turned BBC presenter and interviewer Andrew Neil has decided, while he’s on a roll, to have a pop at the FT, but not because it does not adopt a rabidly Brexiteer stance in its news coverage, oh no.
So it was that The Great Man perused the front page of FT Weekend, and decided to pass severely adverse comment upon it. Although for some reason he was of insufficient courage to tag the paper or its editor, the verdict was sure, certain, and suitably stern. “A sober newspaper of record would not use the term ‘crashing out’ in its impartial news coverage. Over to you Lionel [Barber]. ‘Leaving without a deal, which many observers believe would carry great risks’ would be more appropriate. And accurate”.
Sniffy, much? As Sir Sean almost said, I think we got the point. So I’m sure Neil would be equally severe on the article that says of the SNP “they wanted to make sure the UK did not crash out in a no-deal Brexit”. He would disapprove heartily of the piece which contains sub-headings such as “No deal would not crash the economy” and “Would we really be forced to ‘crash out’ on 29 March?”. That would never do.
He would not be impressed by the author who wrote “If we do crash out, most mainstream Remainers face similar judgments”. Or the author whose prose included the text “a crash out, the Tories may have to fight with Britain still in the EU”. He wouldn’t like articles which included “21st-22nd of October, which is the week before we would crash out”. Or saying “Weyand told the Guardian there was a 'very high risk of a crash-out’”.
I mean, what kind of not at all sober publication of record would use such language, eh? Language like, oh I dunno, “It remains, of course, to be seen whether we crash out of the EU with or without a deal on 29 March”. Columnists who resorted to turns of phrase that included “So the much-scorned ‘crashing out with no deal’ option is most in line with what people probably thought they were getting”.
The Great Man would blanch at talk of MPs “having to explain why that doesn’t mean that they’re suddenly in favour of Britain ‘crashing out’ of the European Union”. But he might find some of those sentiments strangely familiar. Because all those articles have been published in a magazine over which he has ultimate control, or on its website.
Yes, they are all examples of what is considered fit for publication at the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine. That’s the Spectator magazine whose chairman is Andrew Neil. So if he’s that keen on expunging those hated motifs “crash out” and “crashing out”, he could do a lot worse that mosey over to the Speccy’s offices and have a word in the shell-like of editor Fraser Nelson. Who wrote one of those articles quotes above.
And when he’s set his own house in order, then perhaps he will have regained sufficient credibility to be able to sit in judgment on the FT. Because at the moment, he can’t.
It was no doubt a Brillo idea to kick the FT. The pity is that it wasn’t all that Brill.
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