Here’s the latest example of the kind of leadership found at the top of our city’s most influential institutions these days …
You might remember that the Evening Cancer, the newspaper Mike “News Bunny” Norton is supposed to be in charge of, couldn’t move fast enough to support the plans to build a rapid transit bus route on the railway path back on 1 February.
“While many … concerns may be valid to the individuals, we have to look at the wider picture. If we are serious about developing a better public transport system for Bristol then we have to accept that it comes at a cost,” the newspaper thundered.
Until, that is, they eventually noticed the major public outcry, the huge petition on the council’s website; the reams of angry letters arriving at the paper every day and finally their own poll where it turned out over 94% of their readers were actually against the scheme.
So what does the big brave News Bunny do next as realisation of this disastrous cock-up dawns? Why he blames everything on his deputy, Rob Stokes, of course!
Over the last few days rumours, quite transparently emanating from Norton himself, have been circulating that the leader in question was nothing whatsoever to do with him. Instead we’re being told the paper’s editorials are also written by News Bunny Norton’s deputies and sometimes even the subs so – get this! – editorial consistency won’t necessarily be there!
How brilliant is that? Our city’s newspaper of record, despite having what’s supposed to be an editor, apparently has no clear editorial line on major issues affecting the city and there’s apparently no communication going on at senior management level. Instead, it seems, various staff just write whatever takes their fancy in editorials.
What are we going to be told next? That the Cancer’s news room cleaner wrote the offending piece? Readers can, however, rest assured there’s no such editorial confusion here at Blogger HQ where even the fucking cat’s aware it’s a stupid idea
Norton meanwhile, presumably in attempt to shore up his shredded credibility on this issue, is now also putting it about that he’s personally decided to run the railway path story from “a different angle”.
So this week we’ve already had a ludicrous report marked EXCLUSIVE claiming that a rare breed of glow worms on the path might mean conservationists can put an end to the scheme.
This is utter bollocks of course. No sane and rational person – which is pretty much everyone in the city who doesn’t occupy a private office at either the Council House or the Lubianka – is going to attempt to stop a major multi-million pound public transport scheme on the basis that it might disturb a small colony of glow worms are they?
Besides, had the Cancer researched the matter a little further, they might have discovered that the West of England Partnership’s BRT Project Board has already done some research on nature conservation issues with regards to the railway path and declared in their big boy builder way that “there are no showstoppers”.
Norton further continued his embarrassing climbdown today with another article finally admitting his own poll found almost 95% of his readers against the plan and quoting key railway path activist Steve Meek at length.
What Norton’s up to here is what’s known as the “reverse ferret”. A term credited to former Sun editor and sick genius Kelvin Mackenzie – the man, who by a strange twist of fate later went on to invent the News Bunny.
Mackenzie, in possibly one of the most sensible pieces of advice ever handed out in human history, used to tell his political team the way to deal with politicians was to “shove a ferret up their arse”.
A strategy, that while generally commendable, could go disasterously wrong in the hands of Sun hacks and end up with that famously “hands-off” owner Murdoch getting personally involved, the odd writ arriving or even the occasional injunction being served.
At this point Mackenzie would enter his newsroom and run around shouting “reverse ferret” while hacks would urgently perform the required Orwellian-style rewrite of the paper’s entire position.