Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Get a life ...

Some oddity in Nick's Standard col this week; does he read AW, do you think? [Update BD: now online The Queen’s Party. I know I'm the world's most tedious pedant, but why O why write "monarchical country" rather than "monarchy"? Arrgh!]

I CAN'T vouch for the truth of Belle de Jour: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl (we might have cared about this a year ago when it came out - BB) but the rise of the "blook" (you wot? - BB) - books which come out of weblogs - should make conventional authors worry about our accuracy.

For blogs have one huge advantage over dead tree publishing. Make a mistake in a book and you have to wait until the next edition to correct it - if there is one, that is. Make a mistake on a well-read website and dozens of busybodies with nothing better to do will point it out. It's not a plesant experience, but in the end it produces better writing.

This is a common jibe launched at we Watchers; that we have no life and nothing else to do. It isn't true. Right at this very moment my beautiful wife is handing me a glass of wine and I am working on a couple of research projects for a biggish chunk of business. But I have stopped doing these things in order to pick nits with Nick Cohen's Evening Standard column. This is because I am a vain, petty man with a massive inferiority complex. I'm a Watcher because of my personality problems, not because I don't have a life.

Glad that's cleared up.

Anyway, as a professional busybody, it falls to me to point out a rather strange error in Nick's central piece (link to come when it's up on the blog; it's a bit about "poor old Cherie").

[...] From her point of view, she's burned her boats, or rather Tony has burned them for her. She was a brilliant lawyer who might have gone to the House of Lords. But the English law has no place for celebrity judges and I can't see her picking up much of a legal career once Blair's gone (emphasis added - BB)

What the hell? Ms Cherie Booth QC, head of Matrix Chambers, the most prominent human rights and employment lawyer in the UK, a Recorder in the County Court and Crown Court (ie a judge, albeit on a part time basis so as not to conflict with her legal career), can't expect to pick up many crumbs after hubby retires? Has Nick been confused by the fact that she uses her maiden name in professional life?

[...] It shouldn't be that way. We should be a mature enough country to accept that the PM's wife or husband can have a career of his or her own. But we aren't and I can't see Cherie telling Tony to give up what he and the media have given her for the sake of little or nothing in return.

Is this an elaborate joke that I'm missing, or has Nick got confused between Ms Cherie Booth QC (or for that matter Sir Denis Thatcher) and Camilla Parker Bowles?


Blogger Benjamin said...

It's more evidence that Nick seems to be completely losing it these days.

Perhaps he needs a holiday?

Failing that he should at least take a couple of aspirin and lie down in a darkened room for a while.

3/30/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Marc Mulholland said...

My favourite blogger 'I have a life' special pleading was the stuff SIAW used to come up with. Along the lines of '[acres of blood-vessel-popping screed] ... but we'll leave you to your toy-town islamofascist adolescent ranting: Star Trek is on the telly.'

I've got two bloody articles to finish today, so this is life avoidance; quite a different thing.

3/30/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll have to see the full version of the Cherie Blair piece, but I suspect that some misdirection is occurring.

"We're" not a "mature country" (what is that? are there any examples?). The problem with Cherie Booth seems to me to be that she went on a very lucrative lecture tour on the back of her husband's state visits, and she co-authored a book on PM's partners, which looked to a lot of people like cashing in on her role. Denis Thatcher was accepted, but he was better advised than Cherie. He was only photographed in an old estate car (when he met Margaret, he drove some flash sports model, which he called a "tart trap" IIRC), and he put effort into seeming the stereotypical Tory old duffer, which the media generally bought, despite there being quite a bit of evidence that he was dynamic and intelligent. If Cherie's career advancement is over, she really only has well-publicised errors of judgement (like everything involving Carole Caplin) to blame.

"She was a brilliant lawyer who might have gone to the House of Lords." ranks alongside, say, "Enoch Powell was a brilliant politician who might have become Prime Minister." There are lots of ways to commit career suicide.

Surely a more interesting problem for a man of Nick's beliefs is Ms Booth's role in the Begum case. Or has he forgotten that already?

3/30/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I strongly suspect he hasn't put two and two together wrt the Begum case, or he'd have realised that "She was a brilliant lawyer who might have gone to the House of Lords." in context is more like "Eddie Murphy was an excellent comedian who could have made it in Hollywood". The lecture tours and such are pin-money for Cherie; her day to day business is fighting, and winning, big-ticket employment discrimination lawsuits.

3/30/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

FWIW Mrs Cabernet (a lawyer) has attended a number of courses given by Cherie B and has returned raving about how brilliant she it. I can tell you that not many meet with her approval.

3/30/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, fuck me. How can Nick say "Tony Blair is far more likely to take notice of Cherie than the Cabinet." And a mere four sentences later "She gets all the insults that come with living in 10 Downing Street but none of the power." As Aaro would say, you can't have both.

Sigh, I still agree with NC over Tessa Jowell, loans for peerages and so on, but if he wants the advice of this busybody with nothing better to do, he should lose all speculative sentences. When he says, "Tony Blair is far more likely ..." he means that he doesn't actually know, and he's applying the what-I-would-do-if-I-were-TB rule. He wouldn'd try it with Harold Shipman or Charles Taylor, and he's clearly NOT Tony Blair, so why does he think it would work?

As a matter of fact, Cherie has been critical of some of NuLab's policies, IIRC. Tony hasn't listened to her.

3/31/2006 11:12:00 AM  

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