It’s not often I burst out laughing when I read a tweet, but I did just now. The Sun has announced that Guido Fawkes will be writing a column for them each Sunday. What they haven’t announced is that Guido will be replacing the Archbishop of York’s column on the Op Ed page. I can just imagine the comment pieces that move will provoke. Essentially, Dr John Sentamu was blackballed for the Archbishop of Canterbury column because he had the temerity to write for a tabloid newspaper on a Sunday. On a Sunday, I tell ye!
The reason this announcement caused me to laugh is this. I well remember when Guido and I were hugely critical of The Sun’s pisspoor Whip column all those years ago the journalist who ran it accused of us of trying to get her sacked so one of us could take it over. Both us us vehemently denied the accusation on the basis that if we did, it would signal the end of our blogs. Why? Because it would mean we would have to save all the best stuff for The Sun and it would mean an inevitable reduction in interest in the blogs. And that’s the danger now for Guido Fawkes. It will be very interesting to see if The Sun column acts as a spur for his blog and he gets far more readers for it, or if existing readers get the feeling they are being ignored or let down because of the Sun column.
The Guido Fawkes Star on Sunday columns were a very much watered down versions of the blog. They have been very much in the tradition of Sir John Junor’s Backbencher column in the Sunday Express all those years ago – full of gently chidings to politicians and celebs rather than outright viciousness. I guess that’s inevitable. No mentions of Auchtermuchty, though, sadly! My suspicion is that the new Sun column will be much more political, with less concentration on the celebrity world. The Star and Sun are both tabloids, but The Sun has always been much more political than the Star.
I actually think Guido’s Sun column could become a great political column and The Sun clearly see its potential. I absolutely hope it works for both of them. Some will no doubt view Guido’s move as ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ but that’s lazy thinking. You don’t have to be one or the other. The new media can sit quite happily alongside the old media and I suppose over the years I’ve proved that. But it does make it more difficult for Guido to be seen as completely independent in his views on the newspaper world. And that independence is a major reason why he has built up such a readership in the media world, so much so that last year he launched Media Guido. Essentially, you don’t shit on your own doorstep, and he will know that.
A lot of people will be sitting down with the popcorn now. But whatever your view, this announcement makes the world of political diary writing and media commentary all that more fascinating and that has to be a good thing.
I’m not sure why, but I gather there have been several explosions in the Rhondda Valley and in West Bromwich this morning.