We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

S’not faaaaaaaiiiirr

Yes, I know, picking on the Guardian is just so easy that it is verging on bad form. It is rather like challenging a small child to a boxing match.

And speaking of small children, I hear the sound of the petulant stamping of little feet:

In our country, in our culture, at this time, any referendum on Europe is a pre-emptive cringe towards the Murdoch press and the tabloids. Forget any idea that the referendum debate will be Plato’s Republic in action. It will inescapably be a contest fought on terms dictated by the unelected media rather than by the elected politicians.

This is where the European Union referendum really will be a defining moment. It will mark the extraordinary watershed at which this country’s debased, biased and unaccountable media formally take control of the political process. The British media has often claimed that it has greater popular legitimacy than politicians – “It’s the Sun Wot Won it”, for example. Blair’s concession of the referendum marks the moment when politics formally bowed the knee and accepted that claim.

I can visualise Martin Kettle’s bottom lip trembling as bashes out every embittered word. For Mr. Kettle and his colleagues, the mere existance of anti-EU opinion is such a towering and monstrous inequity that advance tantrums are required to highlight the plight of the beleaguered federast to the caring world. He will probably start hijacking aeroplanes shortly and demand to be flown to Brussels.

And what is all this guff about ‘debased, biased and unaccountable media’, as if the Guardian is something other than a national newspaper and, ergo, part of the media? But then thwarted and sulky children often do retreat into consoling fantasy by claiming that their families are not really their families because their real families would not treat them so despicably.

Still, given the perenially low circulation (and their reliance on public subsidy) maybe there is a kernel of truth in the analogy. Nobody likes them, everbody hates them. I think they should go and eat worms.

16 comments to S’not faaaaaaaiiiirr

  • One of the very few redeeming features of the Australian constitution is that it forces referenda before changes can be made to the constitution, and it also makes those changes very hard to get through. This saves us a lot of constitutional guff from our governments and easy to shoot down their power-grabs.

    Just out of interest, what would be the ground rules for this referenda?

  • S. Weasel

    And yet, there’s some comfort in knowing that there depths to which even the Guardian won’t sink. Like publishing this gem from Pinter. (Apologies if this has been posted).

    The real joy is his own commentary below, where he clearly believes the merits of this pome speak for themselves.

  • Rob Read

    Check out this…


    100% of people the BBC asked “randomly” would probably vote yes in a Referendum on the EU con-stitution…

    What better example of Bias, maybe they only stopped people carrying the Grauniad (Paper BBC)

  • Cathal Copeland

    David Carr writes:

    “Yes, I know, picking on the Guardian is just so easy that it is verging on bad form. It is rather like challenging a small child to a boxing match.”

    Let me, for once, play the devil’s advocate. The online Daily Telegraph has no reference to Samizdata. The online Guardian has three.

    No 1:
    [Extract from ‘Also nominated …’]
    “Samizdatais the daddy of British libertarian-inclined blogs. It can be quirky, contributors have their own special interests; private sector spaceships, Baghdadbody-bag count trends, plus a smattering on guns and girls. Fair to say it is anti-Conservative party but hates the Labour party. More than just pro-American, its pro-Bush and the neo-con cabal – a position underrepresented in the Guardian. Oddly, for a bunch of right-wing individualists, it’s written by an editorial collective.”

    No 2:
    [Extract from ‘Weblog Glossary’]
    The practice of omitting a word or words from a quote, so as to completely change (or undermine) the meaning of the quote. This is often done to support the quoter’s own purpose and, as noted by Samizdata, “both the term and the practice are often found in the Blogopshere”. Named after New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, after an incident in the Spring of 2003. Read more here, from the Wall Street Journal. (18.12.2003)

    No 3:
    [Extract from article by Harry Hatchet entitled ‘Escaping the Geek Ghetto?’)]
    The free-marketeers of the Adam Smith Institute (www.adamsmithblog.org/), somewhat marginalised since the demise of Margaret Thatcher, also joined the fray in the autumn. While getting nods of approval from their ideological blogging bedfellows they still appear to be less popular than the more knockabout rightwing libertarians at Samizdata (www.samizdata.net/blog/). (4.12.2003)

    Besides, while The Daily Telegraph has mere twelve articles containing the word ‘blog’, The Guardian has 308.

    Hence a Guardian reader is probably twenty times more likely to have heard of the term ‘blog’ and infinitely more likely (three divided by zero) more likely to be aware of the existence of Samizdata.

    Just to let you know.

  • Who precisely owns the Guardian, and assuming they have amassed a substantial personal store of cashmoney, what’s their agenda? Self-harm? Self-mutilation? Their Rip Van Winkel “where did the last 20 years go?” approach to world affairs is absolutely breathtaking.

  • Does Martin Kettle honestly mean “Plato’s Republic in action.” as if it were a good thing? Has this man read The Republic? I suppose it is the ultimate expression of the paper… wait, “The Guardian“: it all makes sense now.

  • In my experience in the U.S. with two high-profile plagarism incidents, I have learned to take all media with a grain of salt, and consider the validity of its claims before believing anything. This article reeks of bias and a severely warped mind. Events should not be criticized before their outcome is known. Opinions, maybe, but not events.

  • R C Dean

    What the heck is “an editorial collective”? To my knowledge, there is no such thing here a Samizdata. God knows no one edits my posts.

  • Of all the popular misconceptions about libertarianism the most enduring and most erroneous is the belief that libertarians are opposed to collective actions or projects.

    If you will forgive the Ango-Saxon, this is bollocks.

    Collective effort is a good and often necessary thing, be it for commercial purposes or not. Companies are collectives. Social and sports clubs are collectives. Parties (the dancing, music, drinking variety) are collectives and, yes, this blog is a collective.

    The very reason that classical liberals like me support freedom of association is so that people can be free to collectivise according to any criteria and for any purpose that they see fit.

    What I am opposed to is enforced collectivisation, i.e being forced into a collective which you cannot leave.

  • Terminology check, David. You say ‘collective’ when I would say ‘aggregate’. A collective is an indivisible whole, while an aggregate is the sum of individual parts. In an aggregate persons can come and go by choice. In a collective they are stuck. Try replacing “collective” with “aggregate” in phrases such as “collective responsibility” “collective good” “collective will”.

    Incidently I wrote a (very) little think piece on this. Click on “Philosophizing on Responsibility” at this link.

  • For Tony, and anyone else who cares: the Grauniad is published by Guardian Media Group (which also publishes the Manchester Evening News and various other things.

    It’s 100% owned by the Scott Trust, whose sole objective is:

    To secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity: as a quality national newspaper without party affiliation; remaining faithful to liberal tradition; as a profit-seeking enterprise managed in an efficient and cost-effective manner. “

    Quite where Rip Van Winkel-ism concerning the last 20 years comes in, I don’t know – or is that the latest code for “not letting your opposition to Islamic nutcases dictate your every belief and action”?

  • Front4uk

    The Guardian is owned privately by Guardian Media Group Ltd which is wholly owned by Scott Trust – formed in 1930’s after death of Mancherster Guardian’s proprietor C.P. Scott… to , and get this… AVOID DEATH TAXES.

    According to the 2003 FY Group reports, turnover was GBP 526m and pretax profits were GBP 37m. Mind you about GBP 250m of the turnover came from 48% stake in Trader Group Media which owns things such as Auto Trader magazine. Oh they made about GBP of the net profit from “investments”. Very trotskyist comrade!

    All information was from Thomson Financial datbase via Bloomberg so all mistakes are theirs.

  • Front4uk

    Erm sorry, that was GBP 8 mio from investments. oopsie.

  • Dave F

    Of course, the Graun would never ever consider itself the rightful arbiter of the nation’s destiny.

  • Taking the risk of asking the opinion of people who either disagree with The Guardian or don’t read it.

    What a concept. Where do I sign up ?

  • Phil Winsor

    For shame, Sir! Have you no compassion for the worms?