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Thursday, 31 August 2017

The End of The Guardian, deleted from my Favourites Bar

The Guardian was on my Favourites Bar together with The Financial Times (to which I have a subscription) and Al Jazeera. But, really, I  have wanted to delete it as I did some while back delete the absurd Huffington Post. I left it there partly because it does give me some headlines, though not always things which turn out to be important. Occasionally, there are important investigative stories.

There is something deeply wrong with The Guardian. It seems without intellectual or moral compass, floundering and even desperate – at the moment, desperate for Good News. Not so long ago, when  a beautiful young woman with style and attitude came along (and I admit, I was happy to heart it for Saffiyah Khan confronting Ian Crossland), the sense of The Guardian falling over itself was palpable. It was just over the top and often is.

It’s  priorities are bizarre. There is, for example, an obsession with Hollywood and the Oscars which seems quite misplaced. Why would anyone care about Hollywood to this degree? Why not just take pleasure in good films?

Then there are the writers of the very many Opinion pieces. I hesitate to name names. Very rarely does anyone in the large cast of writers manage to say anything which isn’t self-serving, puffing up my grievance to be bigger than your grievance. Worse, there is what reads like competitive grievance invention. The rhetoric is tired, like that of a superficial undergraduate essay written in haste. The range of positions is of course predictable, even with some of the contributors designated to take a “Different View” but always the same different view (the ones who are there to speak up for Russia or Brexit or whatever). When I read the Opinion writers in the FT, I feel I am much more likely to be surprised and challenged. And informed.

All the Guardian Opinion pieces are routinely shot to bits in the Comments below. For a long time, I thought these Comments the poor taste and poorly argued work of nerds and trolls. Increasingly, I think that they are actually on target. They are appropriate attacks on rubbish writing. I treat the ridiculous respectfully when I treat is as ridiculous, said the young Karl Marx. I have joined in myself but I don't feel comfortable in the role, which is another reason for deleting from the favourites bar.

If The Guardian folded, those who don't want to line up behind the programme and fantasy vision of the National Conservatives would have to start again somewhere else and I think that would be a good thing provided it was a genuinely fresh start and not the wheeling out of tired leftist hacks. The Guardian is going nowhere and it’s not helping in these difficult times.

It's true, it's also the case that Opposition politics in England is headed up by intellectual flyweights, including  Mr Corbyn,  who struggle to articulate a clear position even when the National Conservatives are also fielding flyweights - Johnson, Leadsom, Fallon, Grayling and winning by a mile, May herself - with the difference that those flyweights know how to be nasty in a way that Mr Corbyn doesn't.

Maybe if there was a new Editor at The Guardian with some intellectual sharpness and  global vision,and a clean sweep made of all the  hanger-on Opinion writers of whom there are simply far too many anyway, then it could survive. But not in its present Sunday School,  awful, cluttered, scatter-shot form.

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