On the annoying anonymity of official spokespeople

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The “a spokesman said” formulation serves mostly to allow institutions to issue statements that no actual human would make – so let’s start naming these fuckers.

You can read the piece here.

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The Weekly Me

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As of this month I’ve joined the esteemed ranks of the New Statesman‘s regular online columnists. My pitch for the gig was, basically, “I can write about technical or obscure but important issues, but in a funny, engaging way, every week“. Think about this for a moment, and you might notice that I’ve made about three separate rods for my own back there.

Anyway, here are my first four attempts:

  • If inflation is so bad for us, then why is so much policy designed to make us want more of it?
  • And, something of a viral hit: why JK Rowling should buy her own national newspaper. Really.

Some greatest hits

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  • How unpaid internships have made the media so middle class (The First Post, August 2009)
  • Busy doing nothing – the inert mayoralty of Boris Johnson (Londonist, July 2009)
  • A lesson in private education – the strange success of Cognita’s schools (Guardian Unlimited/Comment is Free, July 2009)
  • They come over here, they take our houses… Why the immigrant housing myth persists (Londonist, July 2009)
  • Putting the fun in fundamentalism – a trip to Kentucky’s museum of creationism (NewStatesman.com, November 2008)
  • Disappointment can wait – the election night scenes in Washington DC (NewStatesman.com, November 2008)
  • Sweet, crazy people – a visit to a McCain-Palin campaign office in Ohio (NewStatesman.com, October 2008)
  • Nobody can handle the truth about PFI – fifteen years and £57 billion later, and we still don’t know if it works (The First Post, September 2008)
  • A load of Bull – some thoughts on left-wing patriotism (The Sharpener, June 2006)
  • A Sicilian Message – Ten suspicious parallels between the War on Terror and the Godfather Trilogy (ak13, June 2004)
  • Dead giveaway – sitting in judgement on Santa Claus for the Political Judge column (ak13, December 2003)