I was at the Editorial Intelligence Comment awards this morning, where the Cultural Commentator of the Year, Johann Hari of The Independent, said that all commentators are only as good as their sources – the people who have the honesty and energy to bash you when you’re wrong, and give you tips so that you might one day get something right. It’s an excellent point. And today, I’d like to introduce CoffeeHousers to one of my most dependable informers: Mark Bathgate, a banking analyst who has agreed to write a few posts for us on economics (which I can’t do as much now that I’ve moved back of the shop).
I picked up some glassware this morning too, for political commentary (the first prize I’ve physically picked up since winning a Scottish schools engineering competition to build a model Forth Road Bridge replacement out of porridge and spaghetti, but that’s a different story). It was for my columns in both The Spectator and the News of the World. I dedicated it to my colleagues at both red top titles because – as Hari so rightly says – its the observations, insights and abuse of one’s friends and colleagues that make a column. Mark is one such friend, and I hope you find his occasional postings – starting with the one directly above this post – useful.