Apropos my earlier post about Andrew Marr’s extraordinary outburst at the Cheltenham Literary Festival…
I was genuinely puzzled by the outburst. If intelligent people suddenly do silly things, it’s generally for a reason. It could be that they’re drunk, or depressed, or tired — or just that they’ve been goaded beyond endurance and suddenly snapped. I wondered if Marr had had some terrible experience in Cyberspace. My first thought was that it might have something to do with the fact that he made the mistake of picking up an online rumour about Gordon Brown popping anti-depressants and then putting the question to the then Prime Minister live on prime-time TV.
Now (Wednesday) we’re beginning to find out what may have been behind the Cheltenham mindstorm. It seems that there was a backstory that he had succeeded in keeping out of the mainstream media for years by using Court injunctions. But somehow the news had leaked out via the Net. Guido Fawkes spills the beans and goes on to comment on the hypocrisy of the Westminster media elite:
Yesterday on the Today programme there was a discussion as to if the mainstream media would sit on a story that Guido would not. Sarah Montague dismissed the idea that there is in fact a cosy media elite. Well here is another story that everyone in the Westminster media knows yet won’t publish. It involves three household names; Jackie Ashley, the Guardian’s cheerleader-in-chief for the Brownies, Alice Miles of The Times, who cheers for the Cameroons and Andy Marr, Gordon Brown’s much favoured BBC interlocutor.
If this story was about soap stars, footballers or chart-toppers it would be all over the papers. If an actress on EastEnders had an affair with an actor on Coronation Street who was married to the star of Emmerdale which resulted in a love-child it would be front-page news on every newspaper. Yet Andy Marr fathering a child with Alice Miles whilst married to Jackie Ashley goes unreported. Across newsrooms, at Islington and Hampstead dinner parties it has been common knowledge for years. These three journalists are at the heart of the politico-media nexus that constitutes the new ruling class. The producers and editors who are the media gate-keepers would not be keen to dish the dirt on their own… despite the fact that it would be of huge interest to the public.
All very sordid. But at least it explains why Marr opened his mouth without first engaging his brain.