Nothing is more important to a journalist than his integrity. The founders of the Independent were men of such unyielding principle that they would not allow their journalists to go on freebies. On other papers most journalists handled the integrity/freebie issue in the time-honoured fashion: by abusing any hospitality they were given — trashing a hotel room, getting weeping drunk, pawing the mayor’s wife — and then writing a mocking piece about those who had squandered fine food, wine and linen on them.
Lloyd Evans believes that the lesson of Will Self’s success — which he envies — is that it is better to be a ‘writer’ than to write wellIt’s happened again. The other day I was deep in the Tube, powering my way through the loose maul, when a poster caught my eye. Will Self is promoting his latest book. At first glance the photo resembles an ad for a men’s magazine. Cool guy, cool clothes, cool chair, cool glare.
As I waded through page after page of interminable dogma and municipal jargon, one statement suddenly leapt out at me: ‘Some 50 per cent of people being approved of as adoptive parents in Brighton and Hove are from the lesbian, gay and bisexual community.’ Those words — from a policy document entitled ‘Sexuality — the New Agenda’, published this month by the Local Government Association (LGA), the umbrella body for local authorities — were followed by another disturbing sentence: ‘Brighton and Hove Council has also shown that it is committed to taking rigorous action against homophobia, including, in one instance, de-registering foster carers who stated that they opposed lesbians being parents.
Blair has made a mess of the top-up Bill, says Freddie Sayers. It’s now up to the Tories to revolutionise our universities on market principlesI think I once knew how Tony Blair felt on Tuesday night. It was Matriculation Day for the Fresher class of 2000 at New College, Oxford. With the obligatory white tie and gown as scruffy as I could make it, I strolled over to join the expanding group of nervous, black-and-white-clad new students, of which I was one.
So what were you all waiting for? You surely could not have been expecting an inquiry, headed by an eminent law lord, to deliver an indictment of the government? They don’t do that, law lords. Certainly they haven’t in my lifetime. And it hasn’t happened now, with Lord Hutton.
But even by the standards of his equally well appointed and eminent predecessors — Lord Franks, Sir Richard Scott, Sir Anthony Hammond, Lord Denning, all of whom found it necessary to exculpate the political establishment when push came to shove — Lord Hutton has flung the whitewash around with a copiousness, a completeness, which must have surprised even the inhabitants of Downing Street.