I’m not a big fan of The Times. Its political stance irritates me a bit, but it does at least have the virtue of being exceptionally well written and edited. It’s a quality publication. But just occasionally it makes me wonder what they’re thinking of.
On Friday, seven eigths of page 15 was given over to a groundbreaking story of land grabbing avarice. Real ‘man the battlements, heat up the oil, stand by to repel boarders’ lunacy. The 4th Viscount Astor is fomenting ill feeling against Nicola Sturgeon, the redoubtable head of the Scottish National Party, which won the All Comers Ball in Scotland in last week’s election. Anyway, Ms Sturgeon is apparently planning, and I quote, a ‘Mugabe-style land grab’ with dire consequences for the landed gentry in Scotland.
You may never have heard of 4th Viscount Astor before. I surely had not. No reason I should have. No reason anybody should have really. He comes across as a toff who’s incensed that the proles have taken over the asylum. Just a miffed rich git. So why did The Times give him a headliner role at the gig?
It’s a good question, and one that doesn’t have a ready answer. For those of you not in the know, David ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron is married to one Samantha Gwendolyn Cameron, nee Sheffield. It just so happens she’s a bit of a toff too, which shouldn’t really surprise anyone too much. So what has that got to do with the Viscount? Well, he is her stepfather. Oh yes.
Somehow or other this gives him superpowers in the political commentary stakes. The stepfather of the wife of the Prime Minister has spoken, and must be obeyed. A landed toff who isn’t even a blood relative to the wife of a politician, not the politician himself, merits nearly a whole page in a quality national newspaper? Well not in my book he doesn’t. Why won’t they give me the same amount of space to rail about the possible abolition of the Human Rights Act? Because I’m not rich, so my views don’t count. I can’t buy my way into the club.
I think this is shameful editorial behaviour.