Friday, May 09, 2008

A Point to Stand On

Thanks to anonymous (one of the many) on this post, I give you the Independent's media-watching feral beast.

'Standpoint', the new right-wing magazine, launching this month, will boast a stellar cast of writers. Mark Steyn, Alain de Botton and Nick Cohen have all signed up. And there's no riff-raff on the staff, either, even down to the "workies". I hear the two stooges making the tea are Christopher Hitchens's son and one Luke Amis. No prizes for guessing who his father is.

The 'Independent' pays for this? 'Stellar'? get away. '[A]ll signed up'? What all? And to answer the question: Kingsley? Philip [the elder brother]?

Come to think of it, what with "there's no riff-raff on the staff, either"? If Mark Steyn isn't riff-raff, I don't know who is.

Previously ... which would have been on AaroWatch, but we missed it ... New magazine from the Right coming soon.... On a blog called 'CentreRight' which happens to be on 'ConservativeHome'. I know nothing about the latter, but I'm going to guess it has something to do with the Conservative party.

The Standard's Londoner's Diary today refers to a new magazine being published by the Social Affairs Unit - Stand Point - a serious monthly journal like Prospect that caters to people on the Right. It will be edited by Daniel Johnson, a Prospect contributor and former Associate Editor of The Telegraph who is actually the son of a former New Statesman editor. Its editorial board consists of Nobel Prize-winning writer VS Naipaul, artist David Hockney, Labour MP Frank Field and Conservative Shadow Minister Michael Gove.

The Londoner quotes someone involved in Stand Point saying that The Spectator had become too "syrupy" and "socialite". Is that unfair? What isn't mentioned is that Stand Point is largely funded by Alan Bekhor, a businessman in the shipping industry. I'm sceptical about the idea of investing in magazines with the advent of the internet, but I do hope it succeeds. With an impressive initial print run of 30,000 and contracts with shops like WH Smith's it certainly won't be small beer.

What the hell is 'small beer' anyway? It gets a few mentions in Patrick O'Brian novels and I'm sure it had nothing to do with conservative magazines. And did they say that leading Alan Bennett and W B Yeats lookalike David Hockney is a conservative? This is outrageous! Am I supposed to turn my one Hockney print to the wall now? And what is Frank Field doing there?

Oh yeah, the Social Affairs Unit. Who?

"Morals and manners for the new millennium...."

The Social Affairs Unit addresses social, economic and cultural issues with an emphasis on the value of personal responsibility. We research, challenge and debate issues from welfare to warfare, always seeking to draw out the role of the individual's obligations.

The SAU is a charity. This means that its role and ambitions are wholly unpolitical. So we don't toe or promote any party line. More than that, we have no "corporate" party line of any kind of our own. We don't "do" propaganda, but argument.

But they're publishing "a serious monthly journal like Prospect that caters to people on the Right". Something doesn't add up.

Well, when I said, "they're publishing" I made a sort of elementary error. It is, as recorded above, "largely funded by Alan Bekhor". He was rich in 2006. I know Aaro Watch readers want facts, so we bring them. How much is 'largely funded'? It's not "small beer" (still don't know what that is), read on:

The mention of Paul Johnson as a recipient of the Medal of Freedom also made me think of his son Daniel, another kept journalist, who is about to launch, with Miriam Gross, a former assistant to Melvin Lasky at Encounter, a British equivalent of the Weekly Standard. A prominent Zionist and a London metal-trader, Alan Bekhor, is contributing to the project now underway an initial installment of 6 million pounds. I wish his enterprise every possible success, on the grounds that the British deserve this American import, for having pushed us into World War One. We are now returning the favor belatedly by dumping our latest example of toxic waste onto their newsstands. Besides, the neocons claim to adore the Brits, as they dislike the French and detest the Germans. Why shouldn’t they be allowed and even encouraged to put part of their propaganda machine in the British Isles?

Paul Johnson gets a mention? What? The Paul Johnson?

A decade or so ago, I outed the barking Tory pamphleteer Paul Johnson as an enthusiast or votary of this cult. For evidence, I had no more to go upon than certain suggestive and repetitive elements in his "work."

You said it Christopher: you outed him with "no more to go upon than certain suggestive and repetitive elements". Good for you.

Six million pounds! This could be a pay rise for Nick. Perhaps his Observer ramblings have been intentional. He wants out, but the contract won't let him unless the editors declare him insane.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good Dr. Brewer has small beer as "Properly, beer of only slight alcoholic strength; hence, trivialities, persons or things of small consequence."

I think David Hockney gets honorary conservative status for his frequent public apoplexy about restrictions on smoking.

"Stand Point" is a puzzling title. Could it be a reference to the point man, the nutter who goes out ahead of the patrol and gets shot up first?

5/10/2008 02:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or is it "Standpoint" after all? (Bah to the SAU for using eye-watering pale green text on their website.)

5/10/2008 02:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a phallic reference.

5/10/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Von Pseud said...

Has Cohen finally given up on this notion of being 'the true voice of the left'? Or is he bucking for a position as the lefty equivalent of a native informant?

5/10/2008 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Martin Wisse said...

Small beer is what people drunk before the introduction of clean, potable water. As fallhammer said, it's barely alcoholic but the process of brewing it makes it much more safe for drinking.

5/10/2008 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

CentreRight@Conhome=DonalBlaney, nicht wahr?

5/10/2008 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I thought British Beer used to be much stronger than it is now, but I stand to be corrected.

5/11/2008 07:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes and no. Bitter used to be stronger than it is now (5-6% instead of 3.5-4.5%), but the session beer used to be mild (3-4%).

5/11/2008 09:31:00 PM  

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