A return to three recent blog stamping grounds if I may, namely Jan Moir, Biscuitgate and Oxford student politics.
First, Jan Moir. And a question – where has Mail Obergruppenfuhrer Paul Dacre been as this storm has engulfed his paper? He is always front of queue when it comes to lecturing others on leadership, and yet what has his response been as 21,000 complaints – mine not included I should say as I have no faith in the PCC whatever – have flooded into the Press Complaints Commission? It has been to get Moir to cobble together the ludicrous statement of a few days ago, and to get Janet Street-Porter to pen a ‘why oh why did Jan write that piece?’ piece in yesterday’s paper, while keeping his own sweet head well below the parapet.
The PCC has at least shifted from its original line, that it could only investigate if the subject of the article made a complaint. Stephen Gately was doubtless highly talented, but I’m not sure those talents extend to making a complaint to the PCC from beyond the grave.
Now, the PCC have asked the Mail for their comments. That should be a cosy little chat. Mail Obergruppenfuhrer Dacre can sit down for tea and biscuits with the PCC Code committee chairman, Oberkomiteepresident …. er, Paul Dacre.
Ludicrous. Surely even he realises his chances of that Knighthood for services to journalism are thin.
Now to Biscuitgate. I think this may be a story of the mainstream media’s continuing difficulties with handling the new media, with a bit of good old party politics thrown in. Mumsnet had 800 postings for the GB event, and 500 direct questions, of which he answered 28. A good hour’s work for both Mumsnet and GB, and the tone was not nearly as negative as the mainstream media would have it.
One of the early negative pieces, a running commentary of GB’s performance, came on Times Online’s Alpha Mummy, part run by one Sarah Vine, described as a mother of two children. And the father of the two children is Tory schools spokesman Michael Gove, who yesterday led his Times column bemoaning GB’s role in … yes, Biscuitgate. Oh, the plot is thickening faster than you can dunk a jaffa cake in your tea.
Third, Oxford students. Both Peter Mandelson and I have now spoken to Labour students there since the new term started, and a lively bunch they are, but meanwhile a very interesting story has been developing on the Tory side of the fence. This will be of interest to all past, present and future members of the Bullingdon Club.
It seems that at a hustings for election to positions in the Oxford University Conservative Association, one of the tests for the candidates was to recite their favourite racist jokes. This went down a storm with almost all of those present, but offended one or two and the story got out, not least when one of the complainants got beaten up for his pains.
Eventually, two of the jokers – the winner apparently told a joke about black people stealing TV sets, only they used the N word rather than the black people words – were expelled from OUCA. It also led to the University Proctors deciding
there was no place for this vile body within the University and they were asked to remove the word ‘University’ from their title. So they are now OCA not OUCA.
And guess what has happened now? They have been accepted into the Tory Party fold, affiliated to Central Office and Conservative Future, the Tories’ youth wing.
Great to know that Cameron’s compassionate progressive Conservatism has done so much to shake off the Bullingdon past he professes to find distasteful, don’t you think?