Friday, December 01, 2006

Enigma variations - Andrew Neil

Any journalist working in Britain today will have an opinion about Andrew Neil. Mine, for what it's worth is as follows.

He was an outstanding editor of the Sunday Times, which was his heyday. He probably overstated the anti-establishment basis of the paper, but it represented a brassy wave of enthusiasm for a Thatcherite land of opportunity.

He is not a natural for television, but he seems to have craved a TV career for years and years. This betrays a certain vanity about him. However, the BBC show he does with Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo is really quite good.

His judgement regading the Barclays Brothers investment in The Business has been to throw good money after bad. I think the magazine is dooomed.

His political and economic analysis and his media commentary is first rate. His ability to put people on the spot is peerless. Take this question of The Guardian - "we know what you are against, but what are you for?". It is piercing.

Anyway, I met him at the NBJA event in Leeds on Wednesday, where he was the host, and we had a good natter. I told him all of the above, so I'm not two faced or unkind. He was a good speaker and the fact that he came round for a chat showed that actually he's a really decent bloke. We all enjoyed his company. Don't believe all you read about people. Take as you find.

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