A story in the Guardian today informs us that Jemima Khan has departed the Indy for the New Statesman and its sexy former mascara'd New Romantic editor Jason Cowley. Apparently, Jemima - who as guest-editor this year single-handedly reinvented the Staggers by showcasing Hugh Grant's espionage skills in the phone hacking scandal - was disinclined to tolerate de facto demotion and reduced column inches as decreed by Indy new editor Chris Blackhurst.
Troublingly, these saddening events were preceded by 'warm' praise for Khan from Mr Blackhurst.
This reminds me of the fate of Richard Ingrams. The former Indy columnist reported a reassuring lunch with Mr Blackhurst, but the pabulum had scarcely reached the ex-Private Eye editor's sigmoid colon and he learned that he had been dropped by the paper.
Now, we've all done it as editors. Not been entirely straight with contributors before the axe is swung, usually to get the publication through a tricky, holiday-strewn Christmas or mid-summer schedule. But Mr Blackhurst must beware of saying one thing and doing another: not only is the Indy supposed to be nicer than the rest of the Dacre-alikes but he is alienating luminous revengers. No one forgives surprise dismissal, constructive or otherwise, and the tentacles of tit-for-tat spite are without end, though I'm sure Mr Ingrams and the investigative Goldsmith plutocrat are honourable exceptions.
Mr Blackhurst didn't entirely do himself credit in the Johann Hari scandal, either: there he was on Newsnight gamely attributing Hari's mishaps to a lack of journalistic education while the viewing public scoffed on their sofas. I'm afraid even the rather pleasant face of Mr Blackhurst betrayed a little of his own inner-scoffer, as the smiles waxed and waned a little too readily.
It pains me to write this as the Indy has been so sweet about Madame Arcati in the past. Then again I always question face value, as we all should in these uncertain times.