Alice, What’s the matter?

Ellee Seymour, the Alice Tinker of Tory blogging, is back with yet another masterclass in the art of unintentionally humorous blog post:

Guardian pays £75 compensation for bearded insults on blog

How much compensation should be paid to a journalist who is insulted by comment is free readers over his beard? The Guardian decided on the princely sum of £75.

Jeebus, the Groan have started paying people by the insult???

Well’s that’s Theo Hobson and AC Grayling in next year’s ‘Rich List’ for certain and I guess that Julie Bindel is never, ever, going to run short of a few bob for a fresh dental dam, never what two articles a week by Polly Toynbee must be doing for the paper’s margins.

Just what the hell did the CiF lot have to say to Markville that was worth 75 notes in compo?

This was apparently the amount paid to Paul Markillie, special features editor of The Economist after his report Blue sky thinking was posted on their site last month.

As well as the content of his text, some readers took exception to Paul’s beard saying:

My first instict was to trust you. But I was wrong. You are a marketeer in an environmentalist’s clothing. The beard is piratical rather not ecological.


This bloke works for the Economist? I thought he wanted tenpence for a cuppa tea!


The bearded one is perhaps pissing into the wind.

Is that it? So having your beard referred to as ‘piratical’ plus a homelessness gag and a descriptive reference to his beard in place of using his name is worth £75?

What’s the deal here? Are we talking a flat £25 per insult or does the severity of the insult get taken into consideration?

And if so, have they taken the expedient precaution of banning DK from posting comments in CiF for life – just think what the combination of DK and Polly Pot special advocating greater EU regulation of emissions to counter climate change would do the Groan – they’d be well on the road to bankruptcy within the first couple of paragraphs…

Shurely this can’t be right?

I heard about this today from Paul’s daughter Rebecca who I met a Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast in Newmarket. We had a really good giggle about it, she described the payment as “compensation” and told me her father was still very easy going, so I can’t imagine he made a fuss about it. As a professional journalist, I imagine Paul’s concern would be on the accuracy and quality of his work, not his appearance. Why should bearded men be discriminated against this way? It sounds very juvenile.

Ah, I see… Mmm, on reflection I think I’ll defer to the wisdom of Mr Worstall, the Grand Master of Blogging Pendantry (and that’s not a typo, BTW):

Well, there are two meanings (at least) to the word “compensation”. One is the payment you get for a piece of work. Another is, as you say here, compensation for being insulted….

The thing is, the standard payment, or compensation, to a writer of a piece at comment is free is £75.

So I think there might be just a tad of confusion here about which meaning of the word “compensation” was meant.

And with that, all that’s left to do is roll the credits and get to the bit where the funny vicar tells a joke…


2 thoughts on “Alice, What’s the matter?

  1. I am an accountant, and I am offended by that joke.

    Mostly because it is so old. Where do I claim me compo?

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