And Yet I’m still left with the sense the best of Hitchens is missing

Christopher Hitchens Dies, December 2011 by Surian Soosay

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”.

Continue Reading

Corporate elision sullies the end of the Indy, Fleet Street’s last great gamble

Independent final edition 2, March 2016 by Jimmy Nicholls

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.

Continue Reading

Is Matt Forde Britain’s answer to Jon Stewart?

Matt Forde, via his website

The berserk news anchor leering over his desk as he fulminates against the blunders and mischief of his government is a phenomenon better known to America than to Britain.

For the longest time Britons have been forbade from this kind of open partisanship practised by the likes of Fox News, our broadcasters being bound by Ofcom guidelines which confine them to a mostly centrist political stance.

It is with this in mind that one must assess Matt Forde, a former Labour staffer turned comedian (at a time when there was some distinction) currently piloting a show that satirises the week’s events in a chat show format.

Continue Reading