Cameron’s Quarterly

9 May

There has been a great deal of suspicion in the blogosphere regarding the political integrity of Total Politics, the new venture run by several former 18 Doughty Street operatives, and Politics Home, the hideous spawn of Stephan Shakespeare (the original financial progenitor of 18DS – yes, it’s all a bit incestuous). Both titles have taken measures to buttress themselves against these predictable criticisms, by creating cross-party advisory boards as a check against bias. It’s easy to understand why a nascent political publication or website would be concerned about appearing to favour one political party and take steps to provide evidence of its fairness. But what about an existing publication, especially one that hasn’t historically been particularly political?

The worries I have are in regard to Condé Nast’s GQ, which is edited by one Dylan Jones. In 2006 GQ featured David Cameron on its front cover, a rather surprising departure from the disrobed Hollywood sirens who usually adorn it. There is nothing necessarily wrong in the leader of the Conservatives starring on a magazine cover, I guess, but as a subscriber to GQ (a valentine’s day present), I have noticed the distinguishable stench of political bias throughout the magazine of late.

Famously, last month the magazine hit the headlines with an embarrassing interview with Nick Clegg, where the Lib Dem leader scored an own goal by discussing the number of different women he’s shagged (under some pressure I may add). Clegg certainly wasn’t given the same fawning, softball interview Cameron enjoyed. But then I guess Jones would point at Piers Morgan’s rather pathetic lionisation of Gordon Brown, back in February of this year, as proof that it’s not a purely pro-Cameron mag (as everyone knows, Brown and Morgan are old and dear friends). However, recent evidence suggests that the Morgan-Brown love-in was the exception to the rule.

Before we go on, a few accolades for our Dave…

– In 2006 and 2007, David Cameron won GQ’s Politician of the Year.

– In 2007, GQ declared the Tory leader a “Style Icon”, and the second best dressed man in the world. DC was only denied the top spot by James Fucking Bond – AKA Daniel Craig. I mean, come on, Cameron looks like “Data” from Star Trek, for fuck’s sake.

– In February of this year, GQ announced, astonishingly, that Cameron is the magazine’s “Most Powerful Man of the Year”, ahead of Gordon Brown… the actual Prime Minster.

It seems to me that Dylan is thinking up these awards just to hand Cameron another gong.

Indeed I’m not the first person to accuse Jones of using his position to grease the careers of his band of buddies. In 2006 Cosmo Landesman, in The Sunday Times, called Jones on his blatant cronyism, referring to the GQ honcho as the “Sultan of Schmooze”. Landesman claimed Jones had created a network of mutual back-scratchers. Indi and Speccie Eds, Simon Kelner and Matthew d’Ancona, are highlighted as being members of this promotional web, as are former editors Piers Morgan and Boris Johnson (The Daily Mirror and Spectator respectively). Landesman also claims that Jones switched allegiances from David Davis to Cameron, when DC appeared on the GQ cover. No doubt announcing the arrival of Cameron into Jones’ inner-sanctum.

The vigourous cock-sucking of Cameron has reached something of a climax in the latest (June ’08) issue of GQ, with sticky man-goo splurging over many of the pages. I’ll attempt to give a brief rundown of the subtle, and not so subtle, pro-Cameron features: –

– In the Editor’s Letter, Jones remarks that within a commissioned photo-shoot by David Bailey of the political “Class of 2008”, exists “the only known photograph of a convincing Gordon Brown smile”. Oooh what a bitch!

– It’s true, Jones can barely contain himself, and in the first major feature, the GQ Salvo, he personally pens a two-page attack on Gordon Brown, citing his complete loss of credibility and a lack of political direction. Saucer of milk?

– Cameron then features on the style pages appearing in a smart suit next to a dishevelled Gordon Brown. In the accompanying article the text: “The only British politician aspiring to have the same handsome authority [as JFK(!)] is David Cameron”, appears without even the tiniest shred of irony (believe me, I’ve checked… several times).

– It’s only a few more pages before we reach the “political column”, written by our friend Matthew d’Ancona. The Spectator editor embraces the opportunity to discuss Number 10’s newly hired crack-team of spin doctors. There is some faint praise for the recently installed PR goons (friends?), but that doesn’t stop d’Ancona insinuating that they’re on a hiding to nothing, and closes with the suggestion that they’ll have jumped ship inside 6 months. Sweet.

– And finally we arrive at the aforementioned Bailey photoshoot and Jones’ Pièce de résistance. The shoot contains shots of some of the high-flyers of British politics, alongside some text best describing the subject. Highlights include…

– – Gordon “Grand Procrastinator” Brown: “facing criticism within in his party for lacking a clear and coherent message”.
– – Cameron praised for “Decontaminating the brand: he has single-handedly made the Conservtaive Party electable again”.
– – Gushing praise for GQ’s own columnist – apparently a high priest of Jones’ network – Matthew d’Ancona: “One of the most influential journalists on the right”. Includes a golden d’Ancona quote, describing Cameron as “remarkable”.
– – Cameron’s personal friend and shadow chancellor, George Osborne is: “known as a brilliant political operator”.
– – Brown’s right-hand-man, Ed Balls, is thus dismissed: “The most over-rated politician in British politics” (quote courtesy of one Iain Dale).
– – Also featured – and praised – from the new Tory operation are Tim Montgomerie, William Hague, Zac Goldsmith, Iain Dale, and finally Tory pollsters Stephan Shakespeare & Andrew Cooper.

It’s difficult to read the above and not draw the conclusion that Jones has turned a once-respectable title into little more than a promo-rag for Cameron, no?

Now I’m not naive, I understand that media titles have always been used to further political causes, but I also think that readers should have a clear understanding of what motives lie behind the media they read. And the bloggers who are crowing about the Politics Home and Total Politics, should maybe focus their gaze at some of the more prominent titles on the shelves. Team Cameron’s tentacles are reaching much deeper than you think.

Advertisements

4 Responses to “Cameron’s Quarterly”

  1. jameshigham@mail.com May 10, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    Oh well, it’s all par for the course, Aaron. These photo opportunities will always be and it does seem cross party.

  2. jameshigham@mail.com May 10, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    Oh well, it’s all par for the course, Aaron. These photo opportunities will always be and it does seem cross party.

  3. spyder-360@hotmail.com May 13, 2008 at 1:13 am #

    indeed, the gq love-in is nothing newbtw ed balls is a hugely over-rated politician, people talked about blair and appoint his advisers like adonis to ministerial roles…..at least adonis was effective, balls is nothing short of smug, useless and unable to extract himself from the reality that he is an education minister, not a “minister for all departments”brown’s troubles would be well served by a reshuffle, promotin johnson to chancellor, ditchin darling amd moving john denham back to the home office and jacqui smith out of it……one interesting point, blair had a reliable list of people that trotted out when there was a crisis, brown is facing a series of crisis and the only minister regularly speakin in his defence, is david miliband…..where is his john reid, patricia hewitt, john prescott, stephen byers, alan milburn, jack straw? straw has certainly been the most noteable absentee from the tv studios…….

  4. spyder-360@hotmail.com May 13, 2008 at 1:13 am #

    indeed, the gq love-in is nothing newbtw ed balls is a hugely over-rated politician, people talked about blair and appoint his advisers like adonis to ministerial roles…..at least adonis was effective, balls is nothing short of smug, useless and unable to extract himself from the reality that he is an education minister, not a “minister for all departments”brown’s troubles would be well served by a reshuffle, promotin johnson to chancellor, ditchin darling amd moving john denham back to the home office and jacqui smith out of it……one interesting point, blair had a reliable list of people that trotted out when there was a crisis, brown is facing a series of crisis and the only minister regularly speakin in his defence, is david miliband…..where is his john reid, patricia hewitt, john prescott, stephen byers, alan milburn, jack straw? straw has certainly been the most noteable absentee from the tv studios…….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s