Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ruling Class Hypocrisy

In the Indie, one public school ex-editor (Piers Morgan) skewers a public school current editor (the Grauniad's Alan Rusbridger). God, what a bunch of hypocrites they are at the Graun ! Do any of them send their kids to the local comp ?

PM: What's your current salary?

AR: It's, er, about £350,000.

PM: What bonus did you receive last year?

AR: About £170,000, which was a way of addressing my pension.

PM: That means that you earned £520,000 last year alone. That's more than the editor of The Sun by a long way.

AR: I'll talk to you off the record about this, but not on the record.

PM: Why? In The Guardian, you never stop banging on about fat cats. Do you think that your readers would be pleased to hear that you earned £520,000 last year? Are you worth it?

AR: That's for others to say.

PM: Wouldn't it be more Guardian-like, more socialist, to take a bit less and spread the pot around a bit? We have this quaint idea that you guys are into that "all men are equal" nonsense, but you're not really, are you? You seem a lot more "equal" than others on your paper.

AR: Er... [silence].

PM: Do you ever get awkward moments when your bonus gets published? Do you wince and think, "Oh dear, Polly Toynbee's not going to like this one."

AR: Er... [silence].

PM: Or is Polly raking in so much herself that she wouldn't mind?

AR: Er... [silence].

PM: Are you embarrassed by it?

AR: No. I didn't ask for the money. And I do declare it, too.

PM: But if you earned £520,000 last year, then that must make you a multimillionaire.

AR: You say I'm a millionaire?

PM: You must be - unless you're giving it all away to charity...

AR: Er...

PM: What's your house worth?

AR: I don't want to talk about these aspects of my life.

PM: You think it's all private?

AR: I do really, yes.

PM: Did you think that about Peter Mandelson's house? I mean, you broke that story.

AR: I, er... it was a story about an elected politician.

PM: And you're not as accountable. You just reserve the right to expose his private life.

AR: We all make distinctions about this kind of thing. The line between private and public is a fine one, and you've taken up most of the interview with it.

PM: Well, only because you seem so embarrassed and confused about it.

AR: I'm not embarrassed about it. But nor do I feel I have to talk about it.

PM: Do you like money?

AR: I remember JK Galbraith saying to me once: "I've been rich and I've been poor, and rich is better." You can have an easier life if you have money.

PM: I heard you bought a grand piano for £50,000.

AR: £30,000 - the most extravagant thing I've ever bought ...


PM: Any other cars?

AR: A company Volvo estate.

PM: A big gas-guzzler.

AR: Yes.

PM: Bit of a culture clash with your G-Wiz, then?

AR: Let me think about that. The problem is that I also have a big dog, and it doesn't fit into the G-Wiz.

PM: I'm sure the environment will understand. Any others?

AR: My wife has a Corsa.

PM: Quite an expansive...

AR: Fleet...

PM: Yes, fleet.

AR: But I've got children as well.

PM: They're privately educated?

AR: Er... [pause].

PM: Is that a valid question?

AR: I don't... think so... no.

PM: And you went to Cranleigh, a top public school.

AR: I did, yes.

PM: Do you feel uncomfortable answering that question?

AR: It falls into the category of something I don't feel embarrassed about, but you get on to a slippery slope about what else you talk about, don't you?

PM: It's not really about your private life though, is it? It's just a fact. And I assume by your reluctance to answer the question that they are privately educated.

AR: [Pause] Again, I am trying to make a distinction between...

PM: You often run stories about Labour politicians sending their kids to private schools, and you are quite censorious about it. Are you worried that it makes you look a hypocrite again?

AR: No. I think there are boundaries. It goes back to this question of whether editors are public figures or not.

PM: And you don't think they are?

AR: Well, again, I've tried to draw a distinction between making my journalism accountable, but I have never tried to go around talking about my private life and therefore making myself into a public figure.


Great stuff. As Harry Phibbs says at the SAU blog, Morgan may also be a hypocrite - but at leat he's honest about it.

3 comments:

Bert Rustle said...

Billy Bragg would make a meal of Piers. Billy is courageously celebrating vibrant diversity in rural Dorset rather than taking the easy route in his native monocultural East London and there is absolutely no indication from his website that he makes his living from multiculturism.

Anonymous said...

So, Rusbridger "declared all of his income"? Woo, given that it was salary and bonus I don't think he had much of a choice, along with all the other PAYE sufferers.

What a disgusting hypocrite. Still, that's socialism and he has made a fat packet out of it.

dearieme said...

'I remember JK Galbraith saying to me once: "I've been rich and I've been poor, and rich is better." ' Funny that, it's usually attributed to Mae West, or any one of a series of jazz chanteuses. V funny, though, the way Morgan got him to accept that Cranleigh is a top public school. Seems far-fetched to me.