Review: The Politician’s Husband

Written for Cherwell in May 2013.

I ended up really enjoying the series, though at only 3 episodes it rushed a bit too much. The idea, I figure, was to avoid an abrupt ending, but as a result there wasn’t enough time for the characters to develop and for the audience to properly empathise with them. A longer series would have been more satisfying.


The Sun’s Page 3: here to stay?

This twitter exchange, between the Evening Standard’s Rosamund Urwin and the FT’s Duncan Robinson, just caught my eye.


Urwin has written a piece detailing her objections. Lots of people agree with her; over 100,000 have now signed the petition.

The problem, as Robinson notes, is that few – if any – of those people buy the Sun. Nor is it likely that page 3 activists will start buying the tabloid if the daily feature is scrapped. The campaigners – mostly, if not entirely, female, left-wing and with university aspirations or degrees – just aren’t their market.

That’s the conclusion David Dinsmore, the new Sun editor, has reached in any case. He told BBC Radio 5 live on Monday that “We did a survey last year and found that two thirds of our readers wanted to keep Page 3. What you find is people who are against Page 3 have never read the Sun and would never read the Sun.”

Urwin, if you accept her arguments (which I mostly do), is right about the insidious effects of page 3. But Robinson is also right that the campaign is undermined by its lack of commercial leverage.


Despite a new editor reaffirming a commitment to page 3, I think they’re two good reasons why itwill probably be gone within a decade.

1. The logic of Dinsmore’s position implies that however much the public detests page 3, the paper’s content is solely a function of its readers’ preferences. But as the public’s revulsion develops and hardens, even whilst Sun readers remain staunch fans, the Sun will start getting hurt. If the public, including elites, start to understand the Sun as essentially smut then it will be taken less seriously as a newspaper: journalists will leave it for rival publications, politicians won’t grant it interviews and its general influence in Westminster will deteriorate. At that point Dinsmore, not to mention Murdoch, may start to reconsider how lucrative page 3 really is.

2. For commercial reasons alone the argument for keeping page 3 has already weakened drastically. When you can now access soft porn on a mobile phone, as and when you wish, the feature is no longer exclusive, sensational or even that tittilating compared to what else is available online. At a guess I’d say the circulation fall from ditching page 3 would be really quite small as a result; Sun readers may enjoy page 3, but for most of them I doubt it’s the main reason they pick up the paper.

The perils of Linking In

A slightly bitchy article I wrote for Cherwell about Linked In.


Oxford ‘commoners’ jibe may be a one-off, but it belies a deeper truth about the university’s commitment to access


Tsars in your eyes: Life as an intern in Russia


‘Stuffy and old-fashioned’: a better description of Oxbridge critics than of Oxbridge itself

A comment piece I wrote for the DT.



Oxford Union elections descend into row over blackmail, hacking and sexism

The article appeared in the Telegraph as a page 3 lead. See it in print.

The story in Cherwell.


Exeter in one day hall boycott

It was a classic sort of student protest: lots of sitting down, talking, eating and with absolutely no chance of success. Great atmosphere.

Published on



Atticus: David Dimbleby and Isis

After a morning of research for the ST into Dimbleby’s Oxford days – he had recently claimed in an interview that he’d been very well-behaved despite his Bullingdon membership – I found this snippet that made its way into that week’s diary, Atticus (£).

atticus dimbleby