söndag 15 mars 2009

Guardian/Observer twaddle

Journalists Will Hutton and Polly Toynbee are the Guardian-Observer stalwarts. Twice a week, they produce some opinion piece which can be read on their Comment is Free website.

Toynbee is a steadfast apologist for New Labour, which takes some doing these days. Usually she writes on social policy, the general idea being put across is that as we are nearly "there", Labour just needs to be given the chance to finish the job. For light relief, Toynbee also does 1970s-style atheism and feminism.

Hutton writes about economic policy, though not in any consistent way. In fact he seems to work to no firm guiding principles at all, though there is a kind of sloppy version of Keynesian thinking there. He will never raise fundamental questions. Today, for instance, he wrote about inequality but carefully avoided talking about the underlying causes of this inequality.

Sometimes one wonders if these are real people at all, and not just pen-names for a rota of journalists or possibly even a computer programme that generates the articles at random from a store of text held it in its memory. They do no credit to newspapers which purport to be operating at the "quality" end of the market.

They invariably generate comments sometimes running to hundreds. Their authors come from right across the political spectrum and most of them are scathing. They are far more perceptive than the original articles and the newpaper could do worse than sack Toynbee and Hutton and engage a few of the people who write the comments.

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