At times of great stress it is necessary to find your enjoyments where you can. And as I mentioned in the magazine last week there are few joys in the world comparable with that which comes from watching the left eating itself. Which brings me to a small but diverting set of events which are rolling on at the Guardian.
Readers will remember that earlier this month that paper started to devour itself after the admirable columnist Suzanne Moore had the temerity to write a column about trans issues that did not exactly toe today’s leftist line on the issue. Hundreds of Moore’s colleagues signed a letter to the editor condemning Moore. Indeed the signatories comprised around a fifth of the total Guardian workforce. At which point many of you, like me, might be thinking ‘a fifth!’. How many ideological-enforcers does the Guardian need to produce a daily paper? What do these people do all day? Why isn’t the paper better?
Anyhow, the furore has been rumbling on and a justifiably angry Moore has published online the full list of signatories to the neo-Stasi like letter of denunciation.
The list makes fascinating reading. It is rather packed with people from the IT department. But those who signed the letter condemning their colleague’s right to free expression also includes the previously admirable Luke Harding, Ed Pilkington (the paper’s chief US reporter, who I had nevertheless always assumed to be a fictional character). Oh, and Owen Jones.
This last might come as particularly unsurprising news. Nevertheless, since having his name leaked as a signatory to the letter Jones has been trying to weasel out of it, saying his name was only added at the last minute and only digitally etc, as though the other signatories had all signed their names in blood during some late-night coven.
I don’t know why Jones is so coy about his name being found to be on the petition. After all Jones is the only ‘journalist’ in Britain that I can think of who has taken part in a demonstration outside the offices of a major national newspaper. His protests against the Mail are unlike anything any other ‘journalist’ I know would ever engage in. Imagine if instead of simply laughing at the Guardian I headed to the paper’s offices to shout at and otherwise intimidate the paper’s staff in their place of work? I think that would be regarded rather poorly, don’t you? And rightly so. So, as I say, it is hardly surprising that the boy Jones is on the list of people who believe Suzanne Moore doesn’t have the right to free expression.
In any case, I hope this rumbles on. During these difficult times it would be good if more of the Guardian staff distanced themselves from the petition. Or explained why it is unacceptable to have a feminist in their pages defending women’s rights.
And of course I am delighted and proud not just that the Spectator gave Moore space in our pages last week but that when we did so (and by the way Moore wrote an excellent Diary) there was not a peep of protest or objection from fellow Spectator contributors and staff. To date no Spectator-staff anti-Moore petition has emerged. Neither I, Rod Liddle, Jonathan Ray, or any of our comparatively tiny digital team responded to the Diary by discussing the need to get a petition together. That’s because at The Spectator we believe not just in free expression but know that free expression means that sometimes people say things with which you are in disagreement. It’s almost as though there is a lesson here somewhere for any leftists still wondering if they are in the right club on these issues.