There’s something decidedly American about the timbre of the latest election for London mayor.
In the age of tech startups that hold office meetings around ping-pong tables, the argument about a multi-billion pound refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster has rarely seemed more out of time.
For all the slating that Christopher Hitchens attracted in his lifetime, it’s the quiet criticism of Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman, that best captures the man’s flaws as a writer.
In an otherwise generous obituary in 2011, Cowley wrote that Hitchens’ “polemical denunciations and pamphlets on powerful individuals […] feel already dated, stranded in place and time, good journalism but not literature”.
Should a real press regulator ever be set up in this country, its first rule should be that any paper found to be puffing itself like a political or corporate dispatch will be abolished on sight.
Most would not last the day, windbaggery being a practice most editors and proprietors enjoy even as the grunts on the newsdesk wipe tears from their eyes as they extract the sliver of meaningful information from another slew of press releases.
It’s this practice that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth as one leafs through the last paper edition of the Independent, still the last full-blooded national ever launched in Britain (New Day and the i being cheap-sheets) after 30 years.
Before we talk about Pure Pwnage, we need to lay out some truths for the noobs.