Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

In praise of Kelvin Mackenzie (not)

I don't know if I hate Kelvin Mackenzie more than he hates me or he hates me more than I hate him. Either way, it's a close thing.
What is most extraordinary and despicable is that so many people in the media (and possibly politics) think he is a bit of a laugh. "Good value" as I heard him described on the radio yesterday after his evidence to the Leveson inquiry.
I was present for his first performance at Leveson - at the second seminar - which was so disgraceful that Paul Dacre made him apologise in his Mail column.
But Mackenzie is not really repentant because he is so stupid, he doesn't care what he is doing.  But when people continue to laugh at his behaviour, how could he be expected to learn? Even The Guardian thought his mimicking John Major was amusing.
Why should there be any tolerance of anyone speaking to a Prime Minister in the way Mackenzie did that day when the UK fell out of the ERM? That should be even more of a sackable offence than libelling Elton John and having to pay a million of Murdoch money in compensation yet Rupert was more concerned about the damages rather than the contempt he showed to Major.
Consider for a moment how this will be viewed by someone who is not a member of the tittering media classes but a judge or anyone who lives a vaguely respectable existence. What do you then make of Kelvin Mackenzie and, particularly, the fact that he was editor of The Sun for 13 years? How did he get away with it for so long? Because he was "successful". Because he made waves. Because he was amusing.
That is surely the conclusion Leveson will draw about the way the tabloid press operated. And will he really be persuaded that much has changed since the Mackenzie era, despite the soothing words of Dominic Mohan?

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