One of the best things about the Evening Standard relaunch has been the projectile vomiting it induced in ex-editor Veronica Wadley.
After dismissing the new look as nothing more than a lickspittle propaganda-sheet modelled on Pravda, she turned her most withering contempt on her hapless successor, mild-mannered ex-Tatler editor Geordie Greig. “As for Geordie Greig, well, Etonians have a history of collaborating with the KGB.” As if he were the Sixth Man, up there with Maclean, Burgess, Philby, Blunt and Cairncross.
Alas, when I looked at the paper I was disappointed to find little that was red, and still less that was revolutionary. The dominant colour ways seem to be an upbeat sunshine yellow and a subordinate showbiz mauve more reminiscent of its rival the London Paper than any Soviet era newspaper. Reassuringly Chris Blackhurst, city editor, is still there and so is grandee Anthony Hilton. Neither of them seems to have changed their stripe.
In fact, the overall impression was evolution rather than revolution. Which is probably just as well. The Standard, or London Evening Standard as it is now called, has some serious fence-mending to do with its existing readership. The “sorry” campaign, in criticising Wadley’s regime, was also implicity attacking the values of those readers (500,000 of them according to her) who had the decency to remain loyal.
It just shows the value of consumer insight when divorced from common sense.
For the record, Veronica, only one of the Cambridge Five – Burgess – went to Eton, and then briefly.