Dear Mr Gove, we appreciate how our values could be deeply irritating to you

PUBLISHED: 08:10 18 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:10 18 March 2017

PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

For the avoidance of doubt, Michael, we hold you in contempt.

We win award... Michael Gove responds...We win award... Michael Gove responds...

Dear Michael Gove,

In regard to your recent public observation that there was no conceivable reason to give The New European the Chairman’s Award at this week’s Press Awards (see your tweet, above), some passing thoughts.

Firstly, we too are big fans of The New Statesman and the London Review Of Books (though I have to say “fun” is not the first word that springs to mind when the LRB lands on my doormat) and wish them nothing but success.

Since you’re both a journalist (albeit not necessarily one who can fix up his own interviews) and a politician, we think you should reconsider our merits.

We are very proud of our journalism. We think it helps (admittedly in a miniscule way) rebalance the preponderance of overtly anti-EU newspapers in the UK today.

The fact we are a newspaper and not just a digital platform is, I’m sure you’ll concede, at least interesting in a time when we are told print is dead or dying. If The New European is a last hurrah for print, than that’s no bad thing. But we think it demonstrates there’s plenty of life in the medium yet. That’s got to be good news for the industry we both depend on to pay our mortgages (although, unlike you, I don’t have an MP’s salary and ministerial pension to top up my earnings from journalism).

As a democrat and politician, you should, surely, also appreciate any media that promotes open debate and a plurality of voice. Especially one that is rigorous about its attention to fact, and argument based on fact (we’ll come back to this in a mo).

The currently weak Opposition is demonstrably ineffective at countering the Government’s arguments, and since our democracy is utterly dependent on effective opposition, it falls to the media to fulfil this role.

We both know there is plenty of precedent for this, and we’ve seen this week how effective the Press can be at getting a careless and wrong-thinking government to reverse ferret, as newspaper lingo has it, and perform a U-turn.

All that said, we do appreciate how The New European’s values of constructive argument, dependency on facts, and a general aversion to promoting lies in big letters on the side of a bus could be deeply irritating to you personally.

When The New European launched, we aimed to make it a politician-free zone, since we considered the wreckage of the Referendum vote could be laid at the door of a Westminster that had ceased to reflect the reality of political sentiment in our country.

However, we soon realised that if we wanted to be a strong and relevant voice, we had to include from time to time the writing of leading politicians on our pages. And we’ve had some great and stimulating articles from MPs in our short life span so far.

We do have our red lines though.

We have an actual short list of political figures whose words we would never publish under any circumstances – not because we disagree with what they say (we’ve even run columns by Arron Banks for Christ’s sake!) but because we believe they have absolutely zero credibility.

You and your ex-mate Boris Johnson are at the top of that list, based on the damage you have done to our country; damage enabled by a willingness to promote untruths, motivated by insufferable and insidious self-regard.

This country may well be tired of experts, but thanks to you, we’re all a little more expert in one thing; spotting a bullshitter. For the avoidance of doubt, Michael, we hold you in contempt.

On the upside, I think we can all thank our lucky stars that you have the time and energy to be slagging off newspapers who disagree with you, rather than actually running the country!

We all swerved a calamity with that one.

Yours, most sincerely,

Matt Kelly

Editor of the award-winning The New European

PS: Thanks for the many, many new subscriptions your tweet generated! You’ll be happy to know it will help prolong our existence and sustain our journalism!

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