The Guardian apologises for David Cameron editorial

The Guardian apologises for David Cameron editorial
Text settings

What is going on at The Guardian? They don't like David Cameron, fair enough, but an editorial published earlier on this evening attacked him for only experiencing "privileged pain" following the death of Ivan, his six-year-old, severely-disabled son. Its leading article, published at 8.40pm - and presumably in the print issue tomorrow - had this to say:-

Mr Cameron has known pain and failure in his life but it has always been limited failure and privileged pain. The miseries of boarding school at seven are entirely real and for some people emotionally crippling but they come with an assurance that only important people can suffer that way. Even his experience of the NHS, which looked after his severely disabled son, has been that of the better functioning and better funded parts of the system. Had he been forced to wrestle with the understaffed and over-managed hospitals of much of England, or had he been trying to get the system to look after a dying parent rather than a dying child, he might have understood a little of the damage that his policies have done.

Privileged pain. As Zac Goldsmith put it well when he said that these aren’t "just the ugly thoughts of a maverick columnist. These are the words of the actual Guardian editorial. It is their corporate view." A leader that would typically be seen and approved by at least three senior editors.

Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, said he has never read an editorial that lacked so much in empathy.

While James Cleverly questioned how anyone could think it would be appropriate to publish it.

The leader has now been corrected and a Guardian spokesman said:

The original version of this editorial posted online fell far short of our standards. It has now been amended, and we apologise completely.

But how does a leading article - the voice of the newspaper - end up being published without anyone checking if it meets the standards? Mr S has no doubt that most Guardian journalists will be as shocked as anyone else about this. It will have been a system failure. But a pretty bad one.

PS The Guardian managed to top this getting into print (thank you, Twitter) and has given its apology to Buzzfeed. Kath Viner, the Guardian editor, has apologised via text message David Cameron. But readers are not being told what went on. This is what they see at the end of the article.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to

Topics in this articleSocietydavid cameronguardian