If you live in or near Washington, DC, and you fancy coming to drinks with me and the inimitable Based Mom, AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, you’re in luck! We’ll be hitting the town on the evening of Friday, May 1.
Friday, May 1 2015
1602 U Street NW
Come and join us for a drink and a chat any time after 9.30 p.m. All are welcome.
It would be helpful for us to have an idea of numbers. To get a reminder nearer the time, and to get updates in case we grow so big we need to find another venue, pop an email address in the form below.
I was sent this by my friends at Skimlinks as an example of the sort of swanky dos they get invited to. Though I am reliably informed that very few women (or men) who attend these parties look much like those in the image below.
To misquote Loyd Grossman, what kind of a person would be tempted by a flyer like this?
This week the chill wind of redundancy blew through the offices of the Independent and the Evening Standard. So far, only 20 jobs are threatened. But no one believes that the downsizing will end there. This would be a tricky problem for Independent editor Chris Blackhurst under normal circumstances. But he has also painted himself – or been painted – into a nasty corner. For, however many hacks he has to “let go”, he has promised to welcome back Johann Hari, the most comprehensively disgraced journalist in the recent history of Fleet Street. “It will be like a zombie movie – the undead Hari waddling around our corridors looking for fresh young blood,” says one source.
The fat fraudster has deposited more than one foul-smelling mess in his old newspaper’s offices. For a start, there are more revelations of his near-psychotic fantasising to emerge. What will happen, for example, if a particular African charity chooses to tell the whole story of Johann’s dangerous and histrionic hissy fits in war-torn territory?
Second, Blackhurst has to face the protests of his own journalists, who feel insulted that they have been left to clear up the aforesaid messes made by the paper’s grossly overindulged wunderkind. Just this week, star Indie columnist Julie Burchill wrote a final article for the Indie in which she referred sardonically to Hari. It was censored, of course.
National treasure Jimmy Savile is dead. Without meaning to puncture the respectful atmosphere, given all the eulogising going on it is perhaps worth remembering that there was a dark side to this family entertainer too.
Savile, star of children’s television favourite Jim’ll Fix It, sued the Sun in 2008 over a series of articles linking him to Haut de la Garenne, the Jersey children’s home where human remains were found and children were allegedly tortured and sexually abused. He initially denied ever visiting the home, despite photographic evidence to the contrary.
In fact, Savile had close links to managers at the home. A journalist who reported on the case told me there are gruesome revelations waiting to surface that no newspaper felt able to publish at the time, given UK libel law.
And then of course there’s Savile’s reported friendship with Gary Glitter. (A case for phone hacking if ever there was one.)
Now that Savile is dead and no longer able to issue writs, how long before people start talking?
It’s not too late to nip out to the shops and pick up your Hallowe’en costume. But several readers in search of inspiration have been in touch to ask if I have any… unorthodox suggestions. Well, yes, I do. And here they are: the most terrifying things to go bump in public life in 2011…
5. MARGARET BECKETT
Nicknamed ‘Rosa Klebb’ by Private Eye and others – no doubt an appreciative nod to the good looks she shares with Bond’s 1963 nemesis – Margaret Beckett is best known for destroying British farmers’ livelihoods while at Defra, championing Labour’s insane climate change buffoonery and enjoying kooky caravaning holidays with her husband. More than egregious enough, I’m sure you’ll agree, to earn her a place in this year’s list – despite the fact that she’s now, thankfully, in Opposition.
4. JOHN BERCOW
Charlie Brooker recently used his Guardian column to call David Cameron a “lizard”. I’m guessing that’s because he doesn’t know much about politics, because John Bercow is surely a much stronger candidate for that nickname. Drenched in goo like the most frightening beast of your imagination, and with spectacularly bad taste in ties, the Speaker of the House of Commons is as loathed by his party as he is by his own wife, who only narrowly missed appearing in this list herself. This year we’re carving our jack-o’-lantern into a mock-up of the Squeaker’s slimy visage.
3. POLLY TOYNBEE
Toynbee is by a considerable margin the most hypocritical and irresponsible journalist in Britain, spewing forth dodgy stats, vitriol and class hatred from her Tuscan villa twice-weekly for the Guardian. Dead-eyed and dangerous, Polly invariably sports Joseph-style jackets stitched together with the metatarsals of young Tory researchers from bits of hazardous waste. Toynbee is impressively, almost superhumanly wrong about everything and her columns are a useful negative barometer to what’s going on in British politics.
2. CHRIS HUHNE
People of Hampshire: lock up your children! Creepy Chris Huhne, the most unpopular man in British politics, has been accused by the wife he has since left for a jackbooted lesbian called Carina Trimingham of trying to palm his speeding points off on her. The last thing you want is for Felicity and Peter to be innocently trick or treating in the neighbourhood when Mr Huhne is anxious to get home! Huhne’s also a climate change fanatic, who refuses to investigate Britain’s game-changing shale gas reserves.
1. MICHELLE OBAMA
America’s First Lady has never quite shrugged off the humiliation of being compared to Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare’s psychotic, scheming temptress, by my mate James Delingpole – particularly since it came so early into her husband’s presidency. As for that famously natty dress sense? Hmm. Don’t see it myself. As she gets more relaxed in front of the cameras, Mrs Obama is starting to let her personality shine through, as this recent picture shows.
Regular readers will know that I leave serious reporting to the likes of Tim Bradshaw at the FT and the inimitable Mike Butcher. Love those guys. But frankly, for me, slavishly reporting on funding rounds and acquisitions and paying obeisance to the cult of UKTI is just too fucking tedious.
So I like to write about what’s going on around the edges of the technology scene in Europe: the people, places, events and ideas that are behind the dry reportage and which silently shape the headlines.
To be more specific, it suggests that, while the Indie is nominally sticking by its disgraced plagiarist and Wikipedia vandal, the knives are out for Johann in the newspaper’s offices.
Did new editor Chris Blackhurst order Hari’s removal from the Pink List? Quite possibly, since Blackhurst is thought to be furious at the way conniving Simon Kelner and naïve Andreas Whittam Smith virtually forced him to keep Johann on the books. Also, bear in mind that the struggling Independent titles are likely to swing a scythe through their newsrooms – sacking journalists who would never dream of telling Johann’s porkies.
Regular readers will know that for the last few years I’ve been on a one-man mission to inject some tabloid values into tech reporting. So, after the extraordinary reception to my Gold-digger’s Guide to London VCs from the investor community last week (and by ‘extraordinary reception’, I mean they bitched about it on Twitter while secretly forwarding it around furiously – no use denying it guys, your colleagues told me!), Real Business asked if I’d repeat the exercise for the real stars of the tech scene: the entrepreneurs. As it’s a picture feature, there’s not much point reproducing it here, but if you’re in the market for a well-heeled and hard-working spouse, check out the list on the magazine’s website.
If there are to be any firings in Alan Sugar’s boardroom this week, one hopes it will be his media spokesperson getting the chop, for allowing the East End bruiser free rein to snipe at national newspapers over the past few years.
No doubt the reality television star and businessman thought himself very droll while publicly bashing the Daily Mail on Twitter and, if what I hear is true, devoting an entire chapter of his new book to critiquing the paper’s journalism. Such behaviour is, I suppose, to be expected from a lowbrow popular entertainer.
But Sugar, or his people, ought to have known better. The Mail is notoriously brilliant at settling scores. Its editor, Paul Dacre, oversees massive and brutal retaliation for the slightest of perceived insults, and his newspaper just loves to publish devastating exposés of self-important public figures.
I’ve done a feature for Real Business on the most eligible investors in the London technology industry. Since it’s pretty picture-heavy, there’s little point in reproducing it here. Read it at Real Business instead.
My briefcase was stolen last week. I wasn’t holding out much hope of ever seeing it again, but somehow the intrepid officers of the Met Police recovered it, along with some of the contents – including, thankfully, my laptop. Here’s a selection from what appeared in my browser’s internet history between the bag being taken and its recovery.
Sources close to the matter say the Independent was so embarrassed by the turd revelations on Popbitch that Simon Kelner was dispatched to personally unblock the toilet. He later explained: “Let’s face it. All this shit is really our fault.”