Monday, February 09, 2009

Martin Bright Blogs For The Spectator

Here. He only started today, and he's off at a cracking pace. He's at the We are names not numbers shindig in Portmeirion.

Portmeirion is a surreal place at the best of times. But it gets even stranger when you see Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for the McCanns taking a stroll through this pink and green mini-utopia, shortly before bumping into Yasmin Alibhai-Brown from the Independent, the historian Simon Schama and Julia Hobsbawn, the mad genius behind this crazy trip.

Somehow, I don't think our Nick would enjoy that experience.

But wait, isn't this Aaronovitch Watch? Glad you asked.

A second session on “social entrepreteurship”- a cumbersome term for companies set up to do good - was pretty lively. David Aaronovitch of The Times chaired with typically drole scepticism. It was good to hear Suzanne Moore say that some people just don’t want to be entrepreneurs and that she had felt forced into it, both in her professional life and in fighting for decent school places for her children.

There, we even cover his columns before he writes them. (For all I know, Nick could be there, even though he's not listed as a speaker or panellist; neither are Aaro or Moore.)

We're Aaronovitch Watch. We're Watching Aaronovitch.


Blogger Mr Kitty said...

Have I missed a neologism or should “social entrepreteurship” read as “social entrepreneurship”? It's in the original piece.

2/09/2009 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

I'd actually forgotten about Bright and then recalled this Decency par excellence

2/09/2009 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Has Martin Bright's reputation recovered from his Unity Mitford documentary?

2/09/2009 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, wor Dave is on pretty good form in the Times today on the Ben Goldacre/Jeni Barnett fight.

2/09/2009 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Well he's right, but I suspect its mainly because the case fits his prejudices.

2/10/2009 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

fighting for decent school places for her children

Oh for fuck's sake.

2/10/2009 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

I didn't know the decents were setting up their own schools ....

2/10/2009 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty poor stuff in general, this. As the commenters rightly point out, he says he wants Labour to win the next election but then says his main reason for this is that Cameron's lot 'are not ready'. Not exactly a great example of sticking to his left-wing guns. The key to this all is of course that bollocks about 'centre right and centre left coalition to fight islamofascism' or whatever it is. Seems like hardcore decency, which is lurking behind that point, is no longer welcome at the NS and that's a good thing. I can't help but wonder how much Nick Cohen's continuing vendetta against the NS has to do with the fusion of his court case against them couple with a general lack of willingness to say that teh muslims = nazis over and over again... all of that opinion-column-writing seems to have jumped ship to right-wing perioidicals now; and it won't be long before they truly unleash their inner wingnuts.

It was good to hear Suzanne Moore say that some people just don’t want to be entrepreneurs and that she had felt forced into it, both in her professional life and in fighting for decent school places for her children.

for a start - as ejh rightly says, ffs. but also, what does this sentence even mean? It would surely be better to hear about someone who didn't want to do it - and so they, um, didn't do it...

2/10/2009 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

My post above was referencing David Aaronovitch's latest on Goldacre, not Bright.

2/10/2009 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Mr K, if the correct spelling is in the original piece, Martin Bright must have corrected it. I just copy and paste.

BTW, John Lloyd's at this thing too.

Dave is usually on good form provided he's not talking about certain subjects.

2/10/2009 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

There's something sinister about Julia Hobsbawn and her editorial intelligence pals. She interviews Bright here looking as though he's had a long lunch and NC here analysing a life in the day of a columnist.

It's journalism for dummies, in essence, but it's fun to watch them taking themselves so seriously.

2/10/2009 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Although he's right on the vaccines issue and I'm sure that LBC phonein hosts are as appalling as described, surely Goldacre couldn't have expected anything other than to be sued? LBC were selling recordings of that show (to whom, god knows, but they were charging for them), and Goldacre takes an hour-long excerpt and posts it on his website. There's no way that anything else could have happened, and I don't see what possible public interest defence there is in allowing him to distribute it given that it is ex hypothesi meretricious crap that the public would be better off not hearing.

2/10/2009 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

What is it about the Sons and daughters of famous Marxists, anyway?

2/10/2009 04:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's been a lot of chatter about this on, and a number of seemingly-informed legalish opiners have said that there's a chance it might make the 'fair use for criticism' criteria, and in any case, they have a very weak case for damages, though a stronger one for a takedown order.

Chris Williams

2/10/2009 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm, IMO and IANAL but there's a chance that Everton might win the Premiership, which is about as strong as the chance that a 20min (not 1hr, that was wrong sorry but it's still long) excerpt of an audio stream, posted for no other reason than to go "hahaha idiot laugh point", is going to be seen as fair use. Fair use is ideally meant to cover short quotes that don't impinge on the commercial value of the copied material, and the ratio of BG comment to LBC content is much too low for him to convincingly argue he needed to steal it all.

I'm not particularly against the concept of breaking the law to make a point - and Goldacre's certainly got a lot more publicity for his entirely laudable case than he would have done if he hadn't been sued - but BG can often be quite irritatingly disingenuous and I think he is here (in particular, trying to claim that because it was on free-to-air radio, it should be free for him to record and sell; this is just daft as a moment's thought about the fact that they play the Top Ten singles would have told him).

2/10/2009 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

in particular, trying to claim that because it was on free-to-air radio, it should be free for him to record and sell

Did he really say that?

2/11/2009 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

sorry, literal - "sell" should be "stream". Goldacre writes:

"I can honestly say it never occurred to me when I took an excerpt of audio, broadcast on the airwaves into kitchens and cars, and made a brief blog post about it, that this could be considered “theft”."

which surely has to be disingenuous, doesn't it? (also, I really do have a problem with his suggestion that he needed to post the entire recording of the segment in order to make his point - it's absurd on the face of it and I would bet quids that any court would agree). I think what happened is that the segment was emailed to him, and then he posted it without thinking at all (not exactly out of the moduc operandi of bloggers), but then decided to shout censorship when the lawyers informed him he was in the wrong.

Which as I say is his decision to make - I'd be the last person to condemn the general practice of breaking the law in order to publicise an important cause - but it's important to recognise a stunt for what it is.

2/11/2009 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

As a rule, I think laymen, particularly those who publish on the internet, tend to know very little about relevant law and tend to assume a right to publish, or broadcast, or republish, or what you will, where a professional journalist would - even if only as a matter of instinct - think twice. People really do bandy about terms like "in the public domain" without knowing at all what they mean and what they don't mean. I suspect in fact that a lot of people's knowledge of relevant law is gleaned entirely from watching Have I Got News For You and hearing people msay "allegedly".

Not that I pretend to know the law, I should say, but I think I'd be inclined to ask myself "hmm, things get taken down from Youtube don't they, sometimes this is because it's material copyright to the BBC or some other company, perhaps I'll have a little think about this first or maybe ask somebody..."

2/11/2009 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Cohen, March 2008:
"Hassan Butt is a member of a group you are going to be hearing a lot more from: Muslims who come out of jihadism and find an almost patriotic belief in the best values of Britain.

Andrew Edis QC to Butt, February 2009:
""So, you were a professional liar then?

Butt replied: "I would make money, yes."

Edis continued: "If the money's right you'll say absolutely anything?"

"Absolutely anything, yes... If I wasn't going to cash up on it, someone else was going to cash up on it."


2/11/2009 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...decent dole?

2/11/2009 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You couldn't make that Cohen stuff up. Brilliant - i wonder if Nick will respond? somehow i doubt it.

By the way, Bright's blog was cited today as an authoritative news source by Simon Mayo (who I'm pretty certain is a Decent).

2/11/2009 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

Nick's piece at the top of his blog right now ("A Perfect Scare" - not sure where it was published - Evening Standard?) suggests that the MMR scare affected other people, but not himself: "Deplore them though I did, I understood why mass hysteria took hold."

On the other hand, he wrote in 2005 that "On the remote chance that he [Wakefield] was [right], we paid for courses of single jabs - at £140-a-go in my case...".

So not too much deploring, then.

2/11/2009 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mayo a Decent? Interesting - I must admit to knowing nothing of his politics, but he does have a rather earnest manner and if not entirely humourless, does seem rather reverential (pun intended) towards elected politicians in a way that say, Peter Allen (the presenter of the show afterwards most certainly isn't. You could certainly imagine him helping on some Blairite working group on, I dunno, faith in broadcasting or something - though maybe that's just because the two are well-known religious types. And there is rather a whiff of eau de smug over him. But we would need more evidence of his political views before tarring him with the Decent brush - and we are unlikely to do so what with broadcasting rules etc.

Maybe this is just personal prejudice though - his show is actually not all that bad - they do at least get a wide range of guests and unless there is something particulary good on radio 4, is probably the best thing on at that time of day.

2/11/2009 04:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Mayo's show is good, and I agree, the best thing on the radio at the time, though the books section on Thursdays is truly depressing.

But his attitude towards certain interviewees betrays, to me at any rate, all the tell-tale signs of the Decent Left. He essentially agreed with evreything Andrew Anthony said when he was on promoting The Fallout, but Mayo dropped the 'conversational' style and launched into a diatribe against Naomi Klein, on very spurious grounds, when she was on promoting The Shock Doctrine. Mayo's also a fan of all those dodgy historians like Sebag Montefiore who are popular with Decents.

I agree, we'd need more proof to be certain, but all the same...

2/11/2009 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But, to bring together two subjects alluded to by different comments above, Mayo had a good go at Ian Hislop over the Eye's pro-Wakefield stance over MMR. Just before Christmas, I think it was.

2/11/2009 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say, I haven't listened to his show at any length for a year at least, so I wasn't aware of the instances you mention there. They certainly add weight to the case. But if he is a Decent, he's a little behind the curve. Surely all decent, er, Decents are citing Little Green Footballs and

I fear I am going to have to start downloading the Daily Mayo Podcast again...

2/11/2009 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, he was good on MMR. Which makes his agreement with everything Andrew Anthony said all the more frustrating. Ditto his really quite appalling treatment of Naomi Klein. I don't think he's one of the more lunatic decents by any means, and it won't stop me listening to his show, but still...

2/12/2009 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Listen to Hassan Butt , world !" and "I deplore the MMR panic so much I am joining it for £140" things about nasty Nick are priceless. Why not write up a "Hackwatch" on Nick, submit it to Private Eye, and then if and when they fail to print it, circulate "The column Private Eye would not print because of their crony crap"

2/12/2009 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Well Naomi Klein's book was the most awful rubbish, even if that wasn't why most people attacked it.

2/12/2009 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have only read excerpts from The Shock Doctrine but it didn't seem all that good (and No Logo wasn't great either); but Anthony's book was far worse, with even more dodgy, unprovable claims, and Mayo let him off very lightly while piling into Klein on a very spurious basis (something to do with her claiming that Britain wasn't in a great way in the early 80s, Mayo responding 'YES IT WAS, I WAS HERE' or some such).

2/12/2009 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I seem to remember the UK being a fairly lousy place to live in the early Eighties, and I was there too.

Andrew O'Hagan's not popular with the Decents either, is he? He wrote an LRB review of a book by Peter York that I remember thinking spoke pretty much for me, observing that "the Eighties" gets used as a term which suggest that we all had the same experience of them, but in fact they were really very different if you were doing well for yourself. (Unfortunately I can't link, it's from before the period their online archive covers.)

2/12/2009 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking for a transcript of the Mayo-Klein exchange and the first link I got from google was a post on Harry's Place approving of Mayo's interview...

No, O'Hagan isn't popular with Decents at all - I remember Aaro recently asking him outside to 'debate' for saying that the Iraq war was 'stupid' (something Obama has also said, incidentally).

I think O'Hagan is a very good journalist, but I'm still undecided about him as a novelist. He's also recently written some stuff about Englishness that doesn't really represent my experience, probably because I'm doing well for myself, or something.

I'll look up that article, though, as it fits in with something I've been meaning to write for a while...

For those who were kids in the 80s, the verification code - 'liono' - is particularly apt...

2/12/2009 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

He's a bit of Scottish nationalist, which might explain the English article. He'd have been on stronger ground if he'd limited it to SE England.

2/12/2009 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More from Martin Dim:

Verification code "beast"!

2/12/2009 03:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That really is a rubbish article. it's not even interesting. The same old recycled talking points wheeled out yet again. The same old straw man 'i hesitate to use the word antisemites, but parts of the left are antisemites' shit. And I'm really tired of seeing Decents fearlessly battle in print with carefully-selected, numbskull online commenters. Admitting to going on a complimentary trip to Israel by a lobbying group kind of invalidates a lot of what he says, too...

The NS piece he refers to in there is equally rubbish; full of half-hearted critiques of Israel and tedious 'why don't young British Muslims do X more' nonsense. And the bit about Bicom, funder of his holidays, is priceless - 'they once said soemthing which said that civilian casualties are regrettable, ergo the IDF are aces'.

This is indistinguishable from most of what you see in the Spectator anyway. No surprises he jumped ship, and no surprises he's maintaining the pretence of being left-wing...

2/12/2009 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst part of Mayo's show is any time that Mark Kermode is on.

Why does he speak like someone who lives mid atlantic as in "I guess this", "it's kinda that" etc?

2/12/2009 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why does anyone believe in anything that the zionist islamaphobe aaronovitch says, he is prejudice run riot as are so many jews in the UK, when it comes down to it, they use the 6 million to justify the existence of israel and if anybody dare question that, woo hoo, IDF for you, bullets shot into hooded palestinians at close range, I prefer to think of the 6 million Palestinians dispossessed of their land because someone said 6 million (round figure) jews died

2/26/2009 02:28:00 PM  
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