Martin Bright

The Debate Begins

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A very nice piece from Ian Burrell in today's Independent about my new appointment at the Jewish Chronicle.

Regular readers here will perhaps be surprised that I am worried about being seen as making the journey from left to right.

Here are the key bits:

Martin Bright starts work today as the first non-Jewish political editor in the 168-year-old history of The Jewish Chronicle and he is not expecting the job to be easy. Across the blogosphere he's already a bête noire, a target for right-wingers, hard-line lefties and Islamic radicals alike. He might as well have a few conservative JC readers on his back as well.

"I know that some people will see my accepting the job as confirmation that I'm not only the first non-Jewish political editor of The Jewish Chronicle but I'm also the first left-wing, Neo-Con, Zionist political editor of The Jewish Chronicle," he acknowledges with a sense of resignation.

Stephen Pollard, the JC's new editor, is apparently happy to have such a strident voice on the staff of the world's oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper. "He said rather flatteringly that they had been looking for the Jewish Martin Bright but had decided they might as well go for the real thing."

[...]

To some, such as The Guardian writer Seumas Milne, Bright is in no danger of being a pet lefty as he has already sold out to the right. This may be partly down to a documentary Bright made for Channel 4's Dispatches, criticising Ken Livingstone's record as Mayor of London. Some believe this was a key factor in his departure from the Statesman. "There's some suggestion that I'm on a similar journey from the left to the right as say [Daily Mail columnist] Melanie Phillips," says Bright. "I'm sure some people will see this [Spectator role] as confirmation of their worst fears about me but I just urge them to read what I write."

The idea of a political conversion such as that undergone by writers such as Phillips or the Mail on Sunday's Peter Hitchens is nonsense, he says. "On every issue, including radical Islam, I am firmly on the left. I was political editor of The New Statesman and often found myself to the left of the Labour government on everything from education and health policy through to policy on anti-terrorism."