19 March 2007

Tory inspiration

Sometimes life can be quite baffling.

Using a lead provided by Shades of Grey, I have pieced together the following interesting timeline. It relates to the Orange incident from last August, which readers may recall. Although I was vaguely aware of the hoo-ha, I was on holiday, and not as in focus on the blogosphere as I am now, so didn’t gather the full details at the time.

I simply present the data and let readers make of it what they will.

March 06 – Simon Heffer, along with a number of other writers, is sent a sample of Mediocracy with an invitation to comment. He doesn’t reply.

May 06 – On the recommendations of the book’s distributor and one of the book’s puffers, a colleague at Oxford Forum contacts Heffer at the Telegraph with a view to F.T. writing an article on the subject of the forthcoming book. She manages to speak to Heffer’s PA, who makes fobbing-off noises.

early June 06 – Heffer is invited to the launch party for Mediocracy at the Oxford & Cambridge Club in London with Guest of Honour Frederick Forsyth. He doesn't reply.

mid-June 06 – Review copies of the book are sent to British broadsheets and highbrow magazines, including the Telegraph and the Spectator.

4 July 06 – Mediocracy is published. The book is in part a “Devil’s Dictionary” of cultural terminology, focusing in particular on leftist-inspired distortion of words and concepts as employed in academia, politics and the arts.

26 July 06 – Heffer writes an article for the Telegraph in which he bemoans the need for someone to “write a book on the language of the Third Way, outlining the abuse of words (and with it the abuse of truth) that this administration has either implemented or condoned.”

2 August 06 – Claiming to be inspired by Heffer’s article, Tory supporter Inigo Wilson posts his “Lefty Lexicon” at ConservativeHome.com. Some of the entries are remarkably similar to those in Mediocracy.

17 August 06 – Inigo Wilson is suspended by his employer Orange. Not for lack of originality, but for the alleged “racism” of his definitions of “Islamophobia” and "Palestinian" (entries for which there are no parallels in Mediocracy).

Incidentally, neither the Telegraph nor the Spectator has reviewed the book, nor (as far as I'm aware) otherwise mentioned it. Ditto ConservativeHome.com, though at one stage last year a review was promised.