Wednesday 13 March 2024

Paper Cut

Raise a glass to British satire, which has died this evening as the Statute Law, the most force that the State can deploy without drawing a truncheon or firing a gun, is deployed to save the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator from the "free" market. And thus to save Reform UK, which exists only on their pages, and on GB News while it lasted. That party obviously does not trouble the Conservatives.

Foreign states, including the United Arab Emirates as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, may own the infrastructure on which day-to-day life in Britain depended, but they must never so much as look at a newspaper that last dared to publish its circulation in December 2019, when it was 317,817 in this nation of 67 million. Or at a newspaper that last declared its circulation to be 248,288. Or at a magazine that in 2021 had a total circulation of 102,212, including 808 people who did not pay. Were they sent it whether they wanted it or not? Are they still? The talk of "national security" is a frank admission that these are spooks' sewers, although the spooks will not sluice them with cash.

For good or ill, the insulted Arab monarchies are British allies, unlike a certain other state in the region. Yet even if only for one day, let them switch off everything that they owned in Britain. That would show the public what they owned that we used to. And let Paul Marshall have those precious public prints, to take them the way of GB News.

But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not. We have made a start.


  1. They can turn off the water supply to millions of British homes and business but they can't own a paper about flower shows or a magazine about skiing in Gstaad.

    1. Quite. But it is interesting that you should mention Gstaad. Perhaps Taki should buy the Speccie?

  2. It is very funny, isn't it? The Torygraph and the Speccie (Peter Hitchens calls it "a lifestyle magazine") demanding the government save them from the free market.

    1. The only thing even funnier is that a Conservative Government is going to give it to them. By Statute.

      But the point has been conceded. If foreign interests must be prevented from acquiring things that did not matter much at all, two small circulation and essentially spoof newspapers plus a tiny circulation lifestyle magazine that was also largely written as a joke, then they certainly ought not to own a very great many of the things that they already did.

      Having been hooked by the horses, by the hats, and by the horses in hats, then readers of those publications may expect to continue to be fed comment that seasoned journalists from other English-speaking countries could not tell from The Guardian in blind tests. In my direct experience, that is quite the game in certain parlours.

      If Telegraph, Guardian and Times readers alike wanted to know what their sages really thought, then they would read the Financial Times and The Economist, in which the Establishment talks to itself on the assumption that no one else is listening.