Peter Hitchens knows about opinions: he’s held most of them

John Rentoul

phitchens 300x168 Peter Hitchens knows about opinions: hes held most of themI have an article about Peter Hitchens in The Independent today, for the tenuous reason that I have just discovered that he follows no one on Twitter. I am childish enough to enjoy this, but also, I hope, grown-up enough to say “it is not the case that Hitchens operates only in broadcast mode”: one of the reasons I like him is that he is always open to debate.

To prove the point, he has honoured me with a long response to what he calls my “remonstrance” on his blog. In it, he manages to pay me a compliment by citing Tony Benn, which is ingenious. And his rebuttal of the suggestion that he is “not very interested in other people’s opinions” is magnificent:

For a start, I’ve held most other people’s opinions in my time, having been a supporter, in the mid-1960s, of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and later of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign and the Anti-Apartheid movement, then a member, in turn, of the International Socialists (1968-75), Hampstead Constituency Labour Party (1977-1983) and the Conservative and Unionist Party, Oxford East Association (1997-2003).

The list continues for some time before he adds: “I have never joined a club, despite two kind invitations to do so.”

Anyway, jolly interesting stuff. Well, not that jolly. Not many jokes, which is a shame. But interesting. Perhaps I should take up his challenge to my good colleague Owen Jones and explain to him why grammar schools fail to promote social mobility.

Meanwhile, my review of the drug-fuelled orgy that was Prime Minister’s Questions is at Independent Voices.

Picture: Peter Hitchens, confirming his “marginal position in broadcasting” on BBC’s Question Time

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  • Pacificweather

    He has a better sense of publicity than you do. Why did you not tell use about your article hidden away in Tech.

  • chrishaines47

    You lost all credibility at the mention of Owen Jones. Remind us Giovanni how often Jones has been arrested for political offences? Did not see him at G8!

  • mightymark

    PMQ affects party morale and through that it probably does affect real politics and so influence elections. If the politicians didn’t think it mattered they wouldn’t bother.

    It is also one of the few bits of politics that is regularly broadcast so it is one of a number of incremental things that can affect public opinion over time if the trend (PM or opposition leader doing better than the other) is maintained

  • Pacificweather

    Interestingly, when I saw the exchange (edited) on BBC news later, Ed came out of it better than Cameron. So I have a choice between JR’s editing and the BBC’s. As more people will have seen the BBC’s version, it will be 1-0 to Ed. How disappointing for JR.

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