Saturday, 16 July 2011

Alan Rusbridger: hypocrite
Tax avoidance is okay when we do it, because we think our purposes are good.

PM: That means that you earned £520,000 last year alone. That's more than the editor of The Sun by a long way.

AR: I'll talk to you off the record about this, but not on the record.

PM: Why? In The Guardian, you never stop banging on about fat cats. Do you think that your readers would be pleased to hear that you earned £520,000 last year? Are you worth it?

AR: That's for others to say.

PM: Wouldn't it be more Guardian-like, more socialist, to take a bit less and spread the pot around a bit? We have this quaint idea that you guys are into that "all men are equal" nonsense, but you're not really, are you? You seem a lot more "equal" than others on your paper.

AR: Er... [silence].

PM: Do you ever get awkward moments when your bonus gets published? Do you wince and think, "Oh dear, Polly Toynbee's not going to like this one."

AR: Er... [silence].

PM: Or is Polly raking in so much herself that she wouldn't mind?

AR: Er... [silence].

PM: Are you embarrassed by it?

AR: No. I didn't ask for the money. And I do declare it, too.

PM: But if you earned £520,000 last year, then that must make you a multimillionaire.

AR: You say I'm a millionaire?

PM: You must be - unless you're giving it all away to charity...

AR: Er...

PM: What's your house worth?

AR: I don't want to talk about these aspects of my life.

PM: You think it's all private?

AR: I do really, yes.

PM: Did you think that about Peter Mandelson's house? I mean, you broke that story.

AR: I, er... it was a story about an elected politician.

PM: And you're not as accountable. You just reserve the right to expose his private life.

AR: We all make distinctions about this kind of thing. The line between private and public is a fine one, and you've taken up most of the interview with it.

PM: Well, only because you seem so embarrassed and confused about it.

AR: I'm not embarrassed about it. But nor do I feel I have to talk about it.


PM: Any other cars?

AR: A company Volvo estate.

PM: A big gas-guzzler.

AR: Yes.

PM: Bit of a culture clash with your G-Wiz, then?

AR: Let me think about that. The problem is that I also have a big dog, and it doesn't fit into the G-Wiz.

PM: I'm sure the environment will understand. Any others?

AR: My wife has a Corsa.

PM: Quite an expansive...

AR: Fleet...

PM: Yes, fleet.

AR: But I've got children as well.

PM: They're privately educated?

AR: Er... [pause].

PM: Is that a valid question?

AR: I don't... think so... no.

PM: And you went to Cranleigh, a top public school.

AR: I did, yes.

PM: Do you feel uncomfortable answering that question?

AR: It falls into the category of something I don't feel embarrassed about, but you get on to a slippery slope about what else you talk about, don't you?

PM: It's not really about your private life though, is it? It's just a fact. And I assume by your reluctance to answer the question that they are privately educated.

AR: [Pause] Again, I am trying to make a distinction between...

PM: You often run stories about Labour politicians sending their kids to private schools, and you are quite censorious about it. Are you worried that it makes you look a hypocrite again?

1 comment:

  1. "PM: You were originally a gossip columnist on The Guardian. Did you never write about anyone's private life?

    AR: I can't remember writing about someone's private life."