Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nicholas Blincoe

There's been no reliable word from Team Clegg about the status of the article on Comment is Free by Nicholas Blincoe. But Richard Allan did write to James Graham as follows:

A little earlier this afternoon, my attention was drawn to an article by Nicholas Blincoe on the Comment is Free website. I have not met Nicholas before and he is not a part of the Nick Clegg Campaign Team. I understand that he has been one of a number of people to advise Nick on speeches previously, hence his self-description.

The contents of the article are a personal viewpoint and in no way associated with this campaign. I have therefore contacted Nicholas to request that he makes this clear in a posting on the Guardian site. He has agreed to do this and I hope that a clarification will appear in short order.

And Blincoe has added the following comment to his own article:
I should point out that I am wholly detached from his campaign team: pressure of work, finishing a book, has meant that I have been unable to participate in his stirring leadership campaign. I have been wishing him well from the sidelines. And occasionally, firing off acerbic missives as a commentator.
On that basis my occasional contributions to leaders' speeches entitle me to style myself a "former volunteer adviser to Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy". I might find it easier to get commissioned by the Guardian if I did.

As we are all meant to be on the same side, let's play nicely and make no more fuss about this article.

But Blincoe is an interesting figure. As an Independent profile explains, he contributed to All Hail the New Puritans. This was a collection of short stories "written to a series of rules that banned authorial asides, poetic sentences, flashbacks and ornate punctuation".

That is a style he could have adopted with profit in his Guardian piece.

And it is hard to disagree with Blincoe when he says:

novelists are very, very bad at being involved in politics, because they always want to do and say their own thing. I very much admire Edward Said, but he was absolutely useless as a politician because he just wouldn't work with other people.
But it's hard to be too critical of someone who has written for Waking the Dead.


Iain Sharpe said...

Jonathan - If Richard Allan's message doesn't constitute a 'reliable word... on the status of the article', what exactly is it that would satisfy you?

Jonathan Calder said...

Richard Allan's message was sent to James Graham, not to me.

Iain Sharpe said...

Now I'm really confused.

My question wasn't about who Richard Allen's message was sent to, but why it (as posted on James's blog site) isn't to be considered 'reliable word... on the status of the article'.

I took it as a pretty clear statement that the article was not sanctioned or approved by the Clegg campaign.

I believe that we can consider James a reliable source and that he will have been confident that the message was genuinely from Richard Allan, not some sort of hoax.

So, am I missing something in Richard Allan's wording that leaves things ambiguous? Or is it that you are waiting for a direct response to you from Team Clegg?

I only ask because I agree that Blincoe's was a nasty and unfunny article and would be really quite worried if I thought it has been sanctioned by the Cleggies.

I was reassured by Richard Allan's message as posted by James Graham, so am puzzling over why you are not.

Jonathan Calder said...

Let me try again...

I have received no reliable word from Team Clegg.

Hope this is clear :-)

Left Lib said...

I think this Blincoe chap is rather overexcited by the whole thing.
I would recommend he go and have a cold shower.

Jonathan Calder said...

I am sure Lord B would agree with you.

Paul Walter said...

Bear in mind that Blincoe criticised Huhne in an article on Nov 1st and again this week, and still his profile - even as I write - says "volunteer adviser to Nick Clegg's leadership campaign". One is entitled to ask, if Nick Clegg's campaign team can't get a supporter to take down an erroneous profile description, then how the heck can they be expected to run a political party?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm not sure you can depend on me to be a reliable source, but in this case I cross my heart that Richard Allan's email was genuine. I try to only lie for comic effect.

David said...

Am I missing something ? Why is there a picture of Sgt Bilko with this posting ?

Jonathan Calder said...

James: I was not impugning your honour. I was slightly miffed not to have received anything from Team Clegg. We were the only two bloggers to mention Blincoe. I hope I am not being ignored because I have backed Chris Huhne. But maybe it's just that I am not quite as important as I thought I was.

David: Bilko... Blincoe... It's a joke.