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    What about Anthony Browne’s reputation now?

    by Sunny on 19th December, 2008 at 11:33 pm    

    Dave Hill asks some good questions of the decision by Boris advisor Anthony Browne’s to change his mind on issues around immigrants:

    This leaves me in much the same place as I already was with Browne. If he really wrote those pieces - under Boris Johnson’s editorship - simply to wind people up, what does that say about his integrity? Furthermore, articles like those do not really “provoke debate” at all. Rather, they polarise opinion, raise the temperature and lend intellectual respectability to a poisonous and ignorant strand of public sentiment that is fostered by hard right newspapers like the Daily Mail and from which the far right profits gleefully. And this affair has yet to touch on other works by Browne that have had the same effect.

    If, on the other hand, Browne really did go through a sort of crazy but temporary phase in which he felt a powerful urge to loudly disavow his former liberal-leftism, it doesn’t say much for his consistency. And his point about The Observer doesn’t follow: under the editorship of Roger Alton - now running the increasingly Tory-friendly Independent - such trashing of supposed “PC” orthodoxies was commonplace. Browne was part of a sort of coven of Observer writers who “saw the light” in similar ways, some aiming particular ire at one Ken Livingstone.

    All in all, a very odd business. Browne’s regrets may be genuine and his apology sincere. He may have a great deal to offer. But is he, shall we say, reliable?

    Not really good for his reputation is it? What will Nick Cohen say, who recently praised him for his no-nonsense attitude towards political correctness, not long after criticising him for holding the same attitudes. It’s all getting a bit confusing around here.

      |     |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Media, Race politics

    7 Comments below   |  

    1. marvin — on 20th December, 2008 at 12:51 am  

      Shocking stuff.

    2. El Cid — on 20th December, 2008 at 8:33 am  

      Is this the guy that you slandered a while back, provoking my ire? It is, isn’t it. Look Sunny, two wrongs don’t make a right. You were bang out of order. What does it say about you if you are sometimes willing to compromise your own standards of integrity and fairness, by contriving arguments and justifying it privately in a Machiavellian ends-justify-the-means kind of way? It doesn’t say much about your consistency.
      The world out there is full of people who come good. We need a whole lot more of them. We should encourage and applaud people who change their ways, see the light, etc. I understand why you might still be suspicious about said person — who, I stress, I know little about — but please spare us the Ivory Tower moralising.

    3. Tom — on 20th December, 2008 at 9:09 am  

      Um, given that Browne was until *really* recently Director of Policy Exchange, which is linked to all sorts of nasty right-wing smear and black ops merchants, plus Michael Gove, may I put it on record that I don’t believe a ruddy word of it. In Browne’s position the consequences of *not* saying you’ve changed your mind is that you become Resignation Number Six. ‘Watch the hands, not the mouth’ is the essential First Axiom of Boriswatching.

      It all comes down to the same question - what cultural insights does the elastic-opinioned Browne have to justify the wads of taxpayer’s money? What particularly qualified *him* to lead London in the direction of ’support for diversity, opposition to racism and other forms of discrimination, support for immigrants and immigrant communities and support for equality of opportunity.’? Is there really no one better, or was one of the first qualifications ‘must have written for the Spectator and been associated with Policy Exchange’?

    4. AdamB — on 20th December, 2008 at 11:55 am  


      a) he doesn’t believe what he’s saying now
      b) he didn’t believe what he was saying before
      c) he’s had a magical and coincidental conversion at precisely the moment that he becomes a politician
      d) he’s an empty soulless hack who will say whatever is convenient at the time.

      None of the above look like great requisites for the job.

    5. Sid — on 20th December, 2008 at 12:00 pm  

      I think its a mixture of c and d.

    6. douglas clark — on 21st December, 2008 at 8:55 am  


      It seems obvious to me that PX are our direct enemies. A think tank with no thinkers. Yet paid enormous money by the Tories.


    7. Sunny — on 22nd December, 2008 at 12:41 am  

      dc - yup.

      El Cid - you don’t have to read the post if you don’t want to, but Dave, Tom and Adam raise legitimate questions… why not address them if you want to defend your man?

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