The Financial Times? Uh-oh… just where is my newspaper reading taking me? November 22, 2007Posted by WorldbyStorm in media, Media and Journalism, The Left, The Right.
Here’s a thing. The other day I wasn’t able to get a Guardian. So casting my eye along the newspapers I saw no Independent (UK), my default alternative choice. Didn’t want the Irish Times which I get anyway in work on the internet. What was left? The Wall Street Journal. Nope. I dislike intensely their editorial stance, although the actual reporting is pretty good. International Herald Tribune. Nah, too reheated New York Times for my taste. And always somehow with a sense that it’s been written some way past Mars and we’re having to endure a time delay on it.
So I picked up the Financial Times. I haven’t bought it in at least a decade. But, I’ve got to be honest. It was pretty darn good. The reasons being? Well, first up the aesthetics of an actual broadsheet. The soothing pink colour. The full newspaper size. The Guardian has made considerable noise since it adopted the Berliner format and how this bridging size between tabloid and broadsheet can deliver the best of both worlds. But… there really is nothing like a full sheet paper. Lots of room for articles and good sized pictures. No sense of compression.
But the content wasn’t bad, either. The news pages had news. And not slanted news, just basic information on Italian politics, the upcoming Australian elections (no boosterism here for the right, just a dispassionate account of how the Australian Labour Party appeared on the point of besting Howard – great stuff for those of us who think sometimes even a small incremental shift in opening space on the left or centre left is good).
The editorial on OPEC was interesting and one on ASEAN in the context of Burma which was thought provoking. I didn’t agree with the one which threw around the idea that ‘reform’ of the public sector requires private ‘help’ (I’ve seen far too many private sector assistance which seems to devolve to charging inflated prices). But it is the ‘Financial’ Times after all.
And on the editorial pages there were good articles on British foreign policy, America losing it’s faith in Empire and immigration. I didn’t agree with some of what they said either, but all equally thought provoking.
Sure, back in the day there were quite a number of FT contributors and journalists who were loosely attached to the CPGB’s ill-fated ‘New Times’ project (I’m channelling the name Leadbetter…), and I’m sure that’s long gone. Perhaps the prospect of changing the world with a copy of Capital in one hand and a filofax in the other has passed. Or perhaps they just decided to change the world in other, different, ways.
But then, when I read the Guardian and in particular the G2 section I think that that’s not the only thing that’s long gone. And perhaps it’s telling that for my Sunday read I now buy the Sunday Business Post (and occasionally the Observer).
Perhaps it’s to get a handle on the other side. Perhaps it’s simply because they’re ‘serious’ papers in a way the Guardian – or God knows – the Irish Times aren’t. Perhaps because business and finance can actually throw up something unexpected, or perhaps because as a left-winger I find there’s more to ‘mine’ here in terms of raw information about our society and our economy than in any number of fluffy feel-good feel-bad articles in the more usual suspects, or the often doomy yet curiously congratulatory and self-referential solipsism of the further left. Perhaps too it is because, as has often been said here there is simply not enough understanding of Capital and economics at it currently is by those on the left and that’s a huge failing of mine…
A quick scan of wiki supports my own reading over the years that in editorial line it has been broadly pro-Labour in the 1990s and 2000s. Okay to a point. And that it has been critically pro-EU. Fair enough. Noam Chomsky in perhaps a backhanded compliment stated that it is”the only paper that tells the truth”.
You know, it’s a bit too pricey, being 2 euro, but I think I might just buy it again.
You’ll know also, that there’s trouble down t’mill if I change my username to Financialmarketsbystorm….