More from the magazine pile.

Today’s offering is Freddy Gray’s article — ‘We ♥ MB’ — from the May 2013 issue of Tatler (yes, the old coffee house magazine which Richard Steele founded in 1709). The article runs from page 110-113 and concludes on page 159.

This is one of the most outrageous puff pieces — hagiography — I’ve read in many years.

Gray breathlessly enthuses that New York City’s three-term mayor Michael Bloomberg is ‘wired into Britain’s power matrix on all fronts’. Should he be able to purchase the Financial Times and, consequently, gain an important share of The Economist, ‘his influence over British society and politics would grow’. He gives Britain’s Tories ‘a global street cred’.

Really? I never even knew Bloomberg and the Tories were an item until I read this article. I rather doubt whether David Cameron raises much of a blip in the United States. (If RMC and RTL are any evidence, though, the French public and some of the media seem to like him. They say he takes the ‘tough stances’ against welfare they would like to see in France.)

The article filled me with apprehension, especially when I read that Bloomberg likes London ‘because the city has so many health and safety regulations’.

Shudder.

The best part was on page 159. Bloomberg enjoys the Foyle detective series (ITV, starring Michael Kitchen). He wanted to treat Foyle’s comely sidekick Honeysuckle Weeks to dinner until he found out she smoked cigarettes. Heh.

One has to wonder — yet again — what Cameron and Co. see in all these left-wing politicians. Cameron loves Obama. An Obama bigwig, it is said, helped Cameron to develop the (we hope, defunct) Big Society which revolved around recruiting community organisers, heretofore unknown in the UK. Michael Gove, minister for Education, harps on endlessly about the Swedish (leftist) model of schooling. London Mayor Boris Johnson — possibly the next Tory party leader — banned alcoholic beverages on the Underground and would like to see Turkey enter the EU. A few years ago, he also presented a multi-episode pro-Islam television documentary on the Crusades. He also endorsed Obama for president in 2008.

Now to Freddy Gray, the author of the article. To my mind, a columnist, blogger or journalist who nails his sails to a political mast should be consistent. One would rather expect thirty-something Gray, who writes in support of notional conservatives to be, erm, conservative himself. Yet, Gray exhibits the same fascination with the Left as the Tories do.

In the Tatler article, Gray mentions Julia Hobsbawm — ‘also known as “London’s finest salonnière”‘ — who was instrumental in introducing ‘Bloomberg into Britain’s artsy crowd’ in the 1990s. To those who know their politics, Hobsbawm’s father was none other than the late historian Eric Hobsbawm, longtime Communist Party member and Marxist. We’ve seen this association of leftists and wealthy capitalists before (e.g. Bella Dodd and Margaret Sanger). It’s a strategy as old as the hills.

It is perplexing that Gray finds such an association laudable or even interesting.

Let’s not forget that Bloomberg was originally a Democrat and switched to the Republican Party for convenience in order to win the mayoralty in 2001. He was up against stiff Democratic opposition. He managed to get the New York City Council to change the term limit rules which subsequently allowed him to run for — and win — a third term as mayor in 2009; he ran as an Independent then, although he was listed on the Republican ballot. Therefore, he is — or was — an opportunist Republican, never conservative at all and, yes, ‘independent’ but left-leaning.

Back to Gray. Currently, he is Assistant Editor of Britain’s Spectator, a notionally conservative news and opinion weekly. Prior to that, he was literary editor of The American Conservative.

Hmm. It seems conservatives aren’t what they used to be.

This is Gray writing for the Spectator about Mitt Romney in July 2012 (emphases mine):

The killing of Osama Bin Laden and Obama’s fondness for drone strikes mean that the President cannot be cast as a wimp. And whatever one thinks of Obama, one can’t deny he has presence on the world stage. Romney, it is clear, does not. It might have been better for him to have stayed at home.

In 2009, then employed by the American Conservative, he railed against Geert Wilders who almost wasn’t allowed into Britain to visit the House of Lords:

Wilders is a vulgar and nasty hate-merchant.

In New Labour UK, police have been locking up and kicking out Muslims — often British citizens, unlike Wilders – who preach “hate” for some time now, and not all of them have been directly inciting violence.

He cannot be serious. Nothing could be further from the truth. Very few Muslims were locked up; those who were had made extreme statements against the UK and were thought to be plotting against the nation. (Remember our July 7, 2007 bombing in Central London.) Meanwhile, Wilders — a Dutch politician — has had problems being allowed into certain Western countries. He has been turned back before at immigration. The most radical thing he has said is that the Koran should be banned.

This is Gray’s take on Boris Johnson, also in the American Conservative, last year:

Boris is not a traditional conservative. He’s a libertarian and something of a libertine. He’s in favor of gay rights and recently upset religious groups by saying that Britain needed  “to move beyond the stone age” and redefine marriage. Certainly, he doesn’t seem constrained by his own marriage vows. He has no interest in Christianity, beyond a fondness for Anglican Hymns and the King James Bible. He’s a pagan, really, obsessed with classical literature and his sense of his own destiny …

Yet Boris’s outlandishness is exactly what people outside of the right like about him …

There is nothing ‘libertarian’ about a mayor whose first immediate act was to ban — by himself, no councillors’ votes involved — all alcohol on the Underground. I can believe he could be a pagan at heart or a syncretist revering Islam and Christianity. (He has Turkish ancestry on the Johnson side.) Who knows for sure? This is why conservative, everyday Britons — not the Tory Party — find him questionable. The affable bluff we see from Johnson might be hiding some rather anti-British — and anti-English — ideas. It’s hard to say for sure. And that might be why some on the Left instinctively like him.

Well, that concludes the story of Freddy Gray’s superficial journalism as well as the more depressing story of the Tories’ bromance with Michael Bloomberg.

It’s hard to decide what to do first — pray or have a nice cuppa and a sit down.

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