Does Andy Marr’s cap fit?

 A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people…

Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things on line that they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.

Andrew Marr

Surely not!

“Oh dear an overpaid washed-up TV hack has a tantrum. Poor didums, his pal Tony is no longer a force in British Politics and his Party-Labour-are out of office for the next few years.”

(Commenter in ConservativeHome. Fair comment or making Marr’s point for him?

 Professor Roy Greenslade arbitrates. Although a blogger he’s also a very senior hack.

First off, hundreds of thousands — indeed, millions — of bloggers are perfectly respectable, sensible people who, for a variety of reasons, wish to share their thoughts and opinions with as many people as possible.

Now friend, which  are you?






, , ,

  • pippakin

    Well, I would just like to remind Mr Marr, should he pass this way, of his interview with Nicole Kidman. Wimp or what…

  • Pete Baker

    Well, for starters Brian, don’t mistake the kit for the kaboodle…

    The blog is Robert Peston’s “bedrock” after all.

    But it is, in many ways, just writing out loud.

  • al

    I’m not bald!

  • Pigeon Toes

    And.. This is new?

  • Alias

    Andrew Marr is just angry because having a face that looks like a calcified rodent isn’t classified as a disability yet. Personally, I think that anyone whose face attracts as many flies as his does deserves his own parking space. But seriously, is a guy who looks like the bastard lovechild of Mr Bean and Disney’s Ratatouille lampooning other peoples’ appearance?

    Would he say the “terrible things” he just said about bloggers “in person”? No, so journalists also use/abuse the privilege of distance for pejorative purposes. Would I say what I just said about Mr Marr to Mr Marr? No, because that would be just rude in an interpersonal dynamic that doesn’t apply online.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I made a comment earlier tonight in response to Mr Walker. (another thread)

    “Not sure about bloggers. Not sure that I am one. Bloggers tend to have a readership of more than eight. But I tick most other “Blogger” boxes….Im unemployable”.

    Lets see.
    1 …socially inadequate? …dont think so. I have six friends on Facebook!!! (so surely thats more than adequate)
    2 …pimpled? …not since 1968 (Im a Clearasil success story)
    4….slightly seedy? ……oh very seedy.
    5….bald?……nope. full head of white hair…and rather debonair in an understated way.
    6…cauliflour nosed?…..a sore point literally. Its an injury from a sporting occasion and people are much too polite to notice.
    7….young man?……….ah if only.
    8 ….ranting?….only in Tescos (cant people count TEN items?)
    9….angry?…….surprisingly not. All the things that made me angry as a young man have all passed (yes this will happen to all you kids). I did have some brief Victor Meldrew years but that too has passed (grumpy middle aged men take note).
    To be angry Id have to take things much more seriously than I do.

  • I’m just fed up with N.I’s leaders and fed up with the fact that they seem to think they are our leaders rather than our servants. I also happen to think that most of them take themselves far too seriously, are in the most part not up to the job, are not particularly intelligent and are humorless zealots. The main qualification that most of them seem to have is a huge ego and an unreasonable sense of self-entitlement.
    But I´m not bald, spotty or angry….

  • Thanks for that, fitzjameshorse1745.

    Are you totally busy doing something worthwhile or is virtually nothing going on for now.

  • Cynic

    What peeves Mr Marr and other professional journalists is that some blogs have a huge following among the political and chattering classes.

    Slugger is a case in point in NI – noone else gets close. Guido Fawkes has impaled on pikes the heads of a least 7 MPs in the last 2 years but that’s driven by Guido himself and a few good posters. 98% of his contributors are nutters.

    Politicians and their spinners are fascinated by the blogs, fear them but recognise that they can also be used to advantage. Some politicians regard them as a bellwether on emerging issues.

    What also really worries the journalists is the interactivity. Journalism has a difficult balancing act with politicians – especially those in power. Be too critical and you are cut out of access. Blogs rely on no-one.

    Well run blogs (and there are very few I admit) also often have forensic and deep discussions with several bright and knowledgeable contributors tearing an issue to pieces sand analysing it in detail very quickly. This is something that even the best news organisation cannot do…. and that’s why blogs like slugger are a real professional threat

  • William Markfelt

    ‘only in Tescos (cant people count TEN items?)’

    Don’t start me. And there’s the ‘blondes’ who breeze up into a disabled parking space and then set off for the front door in their neon pink jogging bottoms with ‘foxy’ written across the arse in yellow neon like they’re Denise Lewis in an Olympic final, trail a trolley out of the line and pirouette it in as wide a circle as they can with the express object of taking out every pensioner in a 20 foot circle and at this point remember they’ve forgotten two year old Chardonnay who wandered off in the general direction of the traffic.

    Then I have to pass a thousand copies of the Daly Mail which is proclaiming ‘Les Frogs say we can’t call it chocolate’ before negotiating aisles full of the undead who seem to have no awareness of others around them and wander straight into the path of your now laden trolley forcing the sort of swerve we’ve not seen since Gazza was in his pomp. Then you turn a corner to find some poor sap is stood there with a tray of 1cm cubes of yellow something which on closer inspection turns out to be a promotion for ‘French cheddar. They’ve got a bloody cheek telling us what is or isn’t chocolate, don’t they?

    Finally, disabled neon blonde fox who, up close, has skin the colour of a Hiroshima victim, has waited until 97% of her shop has gone through the till before realising she has forgotten one item, so you stand there smiling benignly at the lady on the till until neon blonde returns with a copy of Hello. By now her mobile has rung and she’s slowly negotiating packing her bags while talking about ‘Janty’s’ party where she got ‘blocked’ and can’t remember how she got home. Probably has no idea how her eggs were in the morning either, fertilised or unfertilised.

    Still, when you get home there’s the prospect of reading Andrew Marr’s ‘History of Modern Britain’. Damn, you can’t even do that. It was recalled after he claimed Erin Pizzey was in the Angry Brigade and the publisher’s, MacMillans, were successfully sued. Maybe he should have written it anonymously.

  • Brian Walker

    Would you say that to his face?

    “..that would be just rude in an interpersonal dynamic that doesn’t apply online.”

    Alias, Yes there’s a clear difference between talking about someone remote and addressing someone say in a thread. This has existed since the dawn of time

    But why and who sez civility doesn’t’ apply online? Why should it not? Polemic ok, even personally up to a point – but abuse? Is it fulfilling some inner need?

  • Brian Walker

    ” The blog is Robert Pestons’s bedrock” Yes Pete, but it’s part of an environment governed by the BBC Charter requiring impartiality and taste and decency rules policed by Ofcom. A good example of how the BBC and MSM in general is treating the web as another platform including blogs. But different from the niche suppliers.

  • William Markfelt

    Who defines ‘abuse’?

    I’m particularly drawn to Alias’s ‘face like a calcified rodent’ remark (above), but is that being abusive or demonstrating a sneering contempt(as well as being accurate in its imagery)?

    Some may say it’s personal abuse, some may opt for it as an amusing remark. Without it, the thread is a little more bland, and it ill serves any of us to act as a self-styled moral guardian of internet comment or to accept anyone else deciding they’re going to fill that role.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘But I´m not bald, spotty or angry….’

    Or funny.

  • Pete Baker


    If Marr had restricted his comments solely to the desirability of civility in on-line communication I would agree with you, and he, wholeheartedly.

    But he didn’t.

    And neither did I in my earlier comment.

  • lamhdearg

    My what a sensitive lot bloggers are, andy only claims “a lot” and not all but we all think hes talking about us. what is a lot, as there are a lot of apples on the ground under my tree but far more still attached.

  • Never said I was…..

  • Paul

    My first reaction on hearing Marr’s outburst is that he must have a new book or series in the offing.

    The effect on the political system (and by extension, those in the political MSM) of 99.999% of what is written by the “socially inadequate, pimpled, single” etc ranting online is a sum total of zero, so why should it bother him what the jim-jam wannabes are getting up to?

    99.999% of the nonsense pumped online in the UK’s political blogosphere is quite correctly ignored by the vast majority of the sane electorate. The other 0.001% performs a function similar to that of the above average MSM political journalist in it informs, occasionally entertains but very, very rarely effects meaningful change to our own individual outlook or on the wider picture.

    I think the importance of political blogging in the UK is that it has indirectly helped to remove the “respect” barrier between the plebs and their political superiors. Journalists *do* now take a more robust approach to interviews because they fear their lack of professionalism later being ripped apart online. Politicians can’t get away with spouting publicly any old, unsupported with facts, crap now for the very same reason.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Ah I did something worthwhile for years……or at least I thought it was worthwhile at the time. Actually Im retired not unemployed but its basically the same thing.

  • Cynic

    On the other hand it did just draw attention to him… which may, of itself, be the objective

  • Greenflag

    LOL :))

  • pippakin

    I think the key is personality. if a tv presenter with delusions of grandeur has a bit of charisma and an personality he/she may get away with being a banal twat.

    If not…

  • Greenflag


    Has the thought struck you that given the circumstances-local history etc that the NI leaders and politicians could’nt be other than what they are -otherwise they’d never be elected .

    Yes I’m pissed off with them too but am even more pissed off with our ROI ones at present . But I’d rather not have to live in a world without elected politicians -for like it or not they are the excrement that holds society together -not perfectly and not always but enough of the time to justify their existence .

    realpolitik and human nature opposite sides of the same coin .

  • pippakin

    Sorry! Please, please bring back preview.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I think the Baghdad Blogger is to blame.
    When he was reporting on the ills of the Saddam regime and the war, the western media heralded him as a hero and sang the praises of the Blogosphere in general.
    The Iraqi dissident hero of the Guardian and Indys Monday Media page….inspired copy cat dissidents in Western Europe. Unfortunately these wannabe dissidents had nothing about which to be dissident.
    So whereas the Media treated the Baghdad Blogger as a hero…..the Media is less sympathetic to the Blogosphere now.
    Mr Marrs comments are an example of the Media building something up………and knocking it down.

  • Greenflag

    Well said cynic. In a world where traditional journalism is under siege due to emerging technologies and the concentration of media channels by powerful moguls a la Murdoch etc -blogging will attract readers because of it’s interactivity and immediate feedback .

    Once upon a time executives at IBM predicted a World Computer (under the aegis of IBM naturally ) which would control all information . There are still some governments particularly in states with an authoritarian or feudal recent past who try to restrict the flow of information across political borders but they are not succeeding or even if some are it will be a temporary success.

    But it’s still early days yet to ponder the true longer term political significance of the ‘blog’ .

  • Yes of course, Greenflag. Its not wonder NI has the representatives it has. But i don’t have to like the situation, nor do I have to like the bigots. As for ROI – the current situation is a tragedy.

  • the old Manxman

    Conventional journalists are increasing worried by the blogosphere, which often turns up new stories and, even worse, corrections to those published by themselves.

    This especially applies to “political” (ie Westminster) journalists, who are basically just gossip columnists for ugly people. Their numbers, prestige, visibility and earning power have all increased in recent decades, even as the useful information they provide has lessened.

    Marr unwittingly illustrates the point by lazily copying the standard American attack on bloggers, without being bothered to alter it for Britain. Whose mother has a “basement” I ask you?

    Mind you, in knowing more about an imaginary US than the real UK, Marr is only buying into the mindset of the British political elite who have governed like that for the last three decades.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    The point about “basement” is a good one. I thought it was unusual wording but I assumed it was in a London context where there are basement flats. I asumed that Marr was having a dig at bloggers in Islington or Notting Hill.
    Political journalists are in a difficult situation. With lobby rules and a TV presence that harks back to Contad Voss Bank (sp) and Peter Hardeman Scott……there is a curious mixture of BBC deference modern cynicism.
    Rather than being watch dogs for the public……the conventional lobby hack is an “insider” part of the game.

    The Blogger likes to pretend hes an outsider….and a near outlaw like the Baghdad Blogger……and in this Marr is right he (its nearly always a he) blogs from the safety of his mothers “basement” or his bedroom.
    Theres nothing cutting edge about that.
    Typically a Blogger is a person on the edge of politics who gives the impression hes got an inside track.
    Eventually the Blogger like the lobby hack relies on info fed to him……by a political advisor or disgruntled civil servant.

    The curious thing is that the Journalist sees himself as too superior to be a “blogger”…….and the Blogger sees himself as “alternative”. They take pot shots at each other. Its very amusing to watch.

  • Rory Carr

    “But why and who sez civility doesn’t’ apply online?”

    Could it be that bloggers are taking their cue from the example given by the msm of which all journalists are an intrinsic part. Daily we are bombarded with the most vile prurient gossip aginst named individuals, often completely untrue or contradicted entirely by a report on the following day.

    “Oh,” serious journalists may say, “but they are only enetertainers, celebs and such who court any publicity.” Well, perhaps, but they are human beings as well and it is no good serious journalists attempting to distance themselves from such practice given that they are all too happy to take the cheque from the same publisher of the very newspaper which feeds on such tittle-tattle.

    At the end of the day, to adapt Kipling, Andrew Marr and Glenda Slagg are “sisters under the skin”.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Serious journalists like to think of themselves as a step up from the Blogger.
    But what exactly IS a journalist?
    The Guardian or Daily Star?
    Daily Telegraph or News of the World?

  • Rory Carr

    Or, more pertinent perhaps, News of the World or The Times when both do the bidding of the very same paymaster albeit aimed at a different demographic.

  • pippakin

    I suspect the truth is nothing to do with A Marr, or only in passing. The best blogs rival other news outlets and in one major respect beat them.

    Important stories aired on Slugger or Guido are often backed up by commenters own research and so the story develops in a way MSM cannot match.

    MSM and some journalists may feel threatened by the individuality and freedom to explore that the best blogs enjoy.

    I think this debate has a long way to go, and not in the direction of Mr Marr.

  • Alias

    Brian, I was making the point that Marr was confusing two different states: anonymity and proximity.

    “Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things on line that they wouldn’t dream of saying in person.” – Andrew Marr

  • An interesting thread. Rather than focus on Mr. Marr I would suggest that Rory Carr has a very valid point. Mainstream journalism is now marked by much more intrusiveness and a much sharper discourse than previously.

    Another aspect of blogs is that in the comments section the discourse often gets progressively more heated. This is in part because of the to and fro nature of a blog discussion. Peoople tend to want to win the argument or score points (I certainly do). Also in normal conversation people can take the cues that someone is getting angry and will back off. On a blog it is not so easy.

    Furthermore you can return to what has been said in a blog and be appalled later at what the other person has said about you. There is little way of taking out the offending remark.

    I do think, however, that there is very little I have said on a blog which I would not be willing to repeat to the face of the person about whom I have said it.

    I try very hard not to tell lies not merely because I regard it as wrong but also because you would end up having to remember the things you have invented so as not to contradict yourself.

    Finally although I do not want to play the man it is worth noting that several of Brian Walker’s blogs are far, far from what he would have done as a mainstream journalist. Suggesting Reg Empey was going to “shaft Catholic candidates” would not have allowed Brian to continue his well paid career for as long as he maintained it (and his more than adequate pension).

  • Jimmy

    So what Marr is saying basically is that I should start a blog?

  • Alias

    I think that folks will just have to adjust to the parameters that actually apply in this medium and stop thinking that contexts that apply elsewhere should determine the content that applies here.

    Even you, Turgon, would not use the language in proximity with Brian that you used to him online. You may retain the content of it but you would alter its expression to that other context.

    Things have always been said that would not or could not be said in proximity. I’d sure we all have at least one “Dear John” letter to show for it…

  • Alias

    If the cap fits…

  • anne warren

    Does Andy Marr’s cap fit?

    In one word – NO

  • Alias,
    No I assure you I would say the same to him in person. I have never sworn at him nor wished personal harm on him: nor would I do so. I have merely responded to his behaviour in the manner I feel it has merited. Indeed in email conversations I have been less civil than I am in public.

  • Alias

    Well then I’d like the video of that encounter, since I can’t reconcile some of your more aggressively-expressed online denunciations of Brian with behaviour that would be conducive to civil conversation offline rather than, as is more likely to be the case, immediately terminate it.

    I think it more likely that you would be influenced by proximity to modify your behaviour accordingly. Again, with e-mail, proximity doesn’t apply so what you there doesn’t alter that dynamic.

    But if you say otherwise, then it’s uncivil to contradict you on the basis of supposition…

  • Alias,
    I doubt Walker would want to meet me. Then again I have little interest in meeting him. Still maybe we will one day be mutually lucky / unlucky dependent on one’s analysis.


  • Brian Walker

    I now ask – Does Andy Capp fit Marr? ( geddit?)

  • Erin Pizzey in the Angry Brigade, now there’s a surreal thought, still, it is the type of mistake anyone could make when they employ a ghost writer aged 12.

    I love it when reptiles like Marr stamp their feet and shake their fists at bloggers, for it means we are getting under their skin. They understand only to well they are dinosaurs, and a notebook full of ‘terribly important’ contacts does not mean diddlyshit these days when an average Joe can go on line and get the same crap with the tap of a mouse.

    True some of us lack grammar and get a tad angry, and are not completely house trained, but compared to believing Erin was a member of the angry brigade, and kowtowing to war criminals, our shortcomings do not amount to a row of beans.

  • “Actually Im retired not unemployed but its basically the same thing.” …. Ahha … Actively Underemployed and Idly Searching for Valuable Opportunity is a SMART Head Game in Virtual Systems of Operation.

  • ‘Journalism has a difficult balancing act with politicians – especially those in power. ”

    The reason the above is true is because the majority of political journalist are lasy and agree by joining the pack to become house trained by the establishment.. As to Guido having the heads of seven MPs, I must of missed that, what actually happened was these people put their own heads in the lions mouth, forgetting they had left their arse flap uncovered, and powerful elements knowing the MSM would never act against them, threw a few scraps his way. journalist seek out guido answers the phone, text, email, what he does is settles scores for his benefactors.

    “Well run blogs (and there are very few I admit)”

    Please cynic, you are starting to sound like that BBC toady Mr Marr, there are countless well run blogs, considering most of them are run on a pittance they do a great job, be truthful with yourself mate, would you have ever used such arrogant and pompous terminology to describe a section of the mainstream media, I doubt it, yet how much of it is run is a farce.

    The whole point about creatures like guido is he only hits out at those on the way down, so enough of the crap about lopping off heads, please.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Ill go with the “Flo”