The Guardian is trying to steal my job


I’ve been quietly confident over recent weeks that this column would catch the eye of a national newspaper editor, and I would take my rightful place among the elite Sunday columnists.

I don’t know why, there’s certainly no factual basis for it. I’m fairly sure my readership figures are in the low teens, and, judging by the comments, at least half of you can’t stand me.

But blind confidence and a stubborn refusal to listen to facts are very much in fashion these days, so I expect the call from John Witherow or Kath Viner in the near future.

It was with some dismay, given this ambition, that I discovered a piece on the Guardian website entitled: “Let’s move to Whitstable, Kent: pockets of peace on the gentrified seaside.”

Not even a week after I extolled the virtues of a trip to Whitstable, here it is, advertised to the Guardian-reading liberal elite, patronised and commoditised, complete with house prices and a list of local schools.

That’s my job! I have to assume that when the Guardian felt the need for this sort of piece and didn’t call me, that I’m never going to get a shot at the big time.

But if they want a so-called professional journalist to do a well-researched piece that sticks to the point, whilst informing and educating its readers, well that’s their decision. I’m pleased to say you’ll never see that sort of thing in this column.

Professional jealousy aside. Although I wouldn’t call myself a professional, but nor am I a complete amateur, I’m perhaps “amateur-ish”. Despite my obvious disappointment, I’m not sure I want to be an agent of creeping gentrification.

In fact, this article pissed me off a bit. I think it’s typical of an attitude I’ve tried to avoid, although casually played on in these hallowed pages.

There is a certain metropolitan understanding that the rest of the country exists as a curious savage land, waiting to be either discovered or reviled by the vastly superior urban uber-class.

Here, Whitstable is discussed as though it is a charming gite in the Dordogne, or a delightful Edwardian warming pan that would be absolutely darling in the guest bedroom.

There’s no sense of what it’s like to live there, not an idea of what one might do for a living if the HS1 was to disappear, or indeed what there is to do on a wet Wednesday in November.

This is not a piece aimed at people who are looking to change their lifestyle, but at those who feel a charming fisherman’s cottage is much better occupied by a web developer from Stoke Newington, than an actual, useful, fisherman.

We moved to Canterbury because it’s the sort of place we want our daughter to grow up, where we can grow old. We want to make new friends and become involved in everything to do with our new home.

We decidedly did not want to live in an outer London borough by any other name, zone 10 on the tube map. I mean, if we did, we’d have moved to St Albans. Because you still need a cathedral, right?


  1. I read that disreguaurdian article and it felt like an advert for those with lots of spare cash to come and buy up all the available properties here. Indeed not the place for a fisherman, postman, shop worker, etc to live, no they should be on an estate built for those types, if such a thing existed anymore, after all the social housing was put up for sale a few decades ago, with no plan to rebuild. Even the part about the local schools sucked, no mention of present and forthcoming cuts to their funding and all the schools here are bearing the cost of the governments so called necessary austerity, which has apparently ended, although I’ve yet to see evidence of it. The guardian along with all those responsible for yellow journalism are desperate for readership in an age when people are starting to wake up and smell the coffee and see through the lies these outdated rags spew out just to garner enough interest to catch readership. I’ll stop now as I haven’t the time or energy to continue, suffice to say I won’t be buying a copy

  2. – the Guardian article was simply one of a a weekly thumbnail sketch of a location that the great majority of the Guardian readership may never have experienced – and that’s it. Sneering at both the paper and the article is unworthy. Just try to gather the same amount of information about Canterbury and condense it into the same number of words as the rebuke from Alex – it is not easy

  3. Sadly its not just the Grauniad that does it, Whitstable and Canterbury have both featured in the weekend Telegraph in the past …… there was even one encouraging cyclists to come down and clog up our roads before getting on the train at Ashford and returning to civilisation!

    And why not invite lots of Londoners to move into Kent and other beautiful places, how selfish of us to want to keep them to ourselves, (sorry Alex) of course it does mean that local children can’t afford to buy property locally but I expect Rocky would blame that on Government cutbacks …… he/she does get excited doesn’t he/she or they … trying to be politically correct here, its a struggle!

    Years ago I had a client in Whitstable who said to me, “do you know what they call us here …..dfls” and I thought, “no, do you know what we call you here ….” But he was a client so I didn’t say it!


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