Friday, 15 April 2016


If there's one thing that Ian Katz's Newsnight has made its own it's its coverage of social media storms and spats. So it was inevitable that it would cover 'Tottygate'

Here's what happened: An unnamed Tory MP called Isabel Hardman of The Spectator "the totty". She complained to the whips. The MP apologised. Twitter went mad. Isabel Oakeshott wrote in the Mail that her namesake shouldn't have complained as it was no big deal and actually a compliment. Twitter went mad again. Newsnight decided it was a must-cover story. And Newsnight duly covered it.

Isabel Oakeshott was set against Jenni Russell of The Times. Jenni compared the situation to the civil rights movement in America, with Isabel Hardman as Martin Luther King. Isabel Oakeshott really didn't buy the comparison.  

Evan was straight in with the burning question to Isabel O:
Did you really mean it? Did you really mean it? Or were you trying to be provocative when you said she should possibly really have been pleased as being called 'totty'?


And then it was onto a film with "explicit depictions of nakedness, vomit, diarrhoea and anal sex".

Yes. Peter Greenaway. And his new film about Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein.

Mr Greenaway has made Eisenstein gay. The Russians aren't happy. 


  1. It was hilarious, I thought, that after a relatively refined debate - no shouting or interrupting - the true feelings behind the superficial civility were exposed when the camera panned out while Evan started introducing the next item, and caught Jenni and Isobel glaring at each other. To be more precise, Isabel looked daggers and Jenni wore a rictus grin. (Made me laugh anyway.)

  2. Isn't it rather remarkable that so many female political commentators are in fact up there in the totty stakes. One can only imagine how those with less lucky genes but equal intelligence and insight feel about such whingeing when those in the Westminster magic circle have clearly benefitted from their genetic good fortune. Incidentally I do NOT think Isabel Hardman is a good journalist or writer. I find her pieces in the Spectator absolutely insipid and completely lacking in insight or indeed predictive power. How's this for a stunning first sentence from her latest article? - "Rather like the 2015 General Election campaign, the EU referendum campaign feels as though it has been going on rather a long time."

    It was ironic that they segued into Peter Greenaway given his films have (rightly in my view) been criticised as extremely misogynist.