Ex-MP Matthew Parris pleads the case for our Parliamentary representatives. Understandable, since he has simply moved from one profession that imagines it knows better, to another.
As usual, he does coy, paradoxical and faux modest so well; but not well enough to disguise the fact that the Fourth Estate has become as conceited - and part of the in-crowd - as the rest of our masters. I will allow them the first, if they will relinquish the second.
A recurring fantasy pesters me, about the episode (sadly the clip omits the marching, menacing entrance of AC; audio fly on the wall here) in which the now pointedly poppy-less Jon Snow deals with a gatecrashing Alastair Campbell rather differently:
JS (before AC even reaches the desk): Please leave the studio, you have not been invited onto this programme.
AC: I phoned to say I was coming.
JS: And you had your reply. Please leave immediately.
AC: No I won't, there's something that needs to be said right now!
JS: Please leave now, or Security will escort you off the premises.
AC: I'd like to see them try! Now be sensible, Jon -
JS: - We'll take a break. Security!
Instead, we got "And now we are joined by Alastair Campbell - a rare moment - thank you for coming in" etc - and the chummy handshake at the end. Channel 4 News patted itself on the back for a journalistic coup, but out here in the bleachers it just looked as though Campbell felt entitled to treat a news studio like an airport executive lounge.
Reporters Without Borders' "Press Freedom Index" says we've gone backwards since 2003 - and even two points down on 2009. Our national ranking is now 19th, below most of the Nordic and Baltic countries. Is there a link between cold weather and integrity?