Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In praise of Peter Wilby

Sticking with a Leicester University connection I'm pleased to see that it has chosen to honour the journalist Peter Wilby, a native of Leicestershire, with an honorary degree.

Wilby can be credited with having made the New Statesman readable again in his seven years as editor between 1998 and 2005. His weekly column remains the best thing in the magazine. As a columnist, he avoids the Polly Toynbee-ish vice of writing as if senior members of the government are or should be hanging on their every word, so never mind the poor readers.

As an old fashioned leftist, Wilby always writes with a resigned wistfulness that seems to accept that his views will never be mainstream, but which can find some comfort in finding unusual, thought-provoking arguments that stimulate and entertain the reader. This puts him in a noble tradition of left-of-centre columnists that includes Cassandra (Bill Connor), Keith Waterhouse and Alan Watkins.

1 comment:

Stephen Tall said...

Hear, hear!

In the end I've given up on the Staggers. The book reviews are good but the politics are too formulaicly dull.