Sunday, June 01, 2014
The Oldie: Richard Ingrams tells it as it probably isn't
The circs of his departure he tells in the Mail on Sunday today. Here we go you lazy, solipsistic cunts. Read all abaht it. Of course what he says is about 10% of something: apparently there were bitching sessions with the publisher James Pembroke. Ingrams tells of his horror at being summoned to anal 'brainstorming' sessions. Then following a slapfest with handbags flying all over the place, Pembroke compelled Ingrams to submit to a disciplinary hearing. Can you imagine? At this, the ancient satirist flounced out, in full knowledge that newspapers would be gagging for the deeeetails. Ah, the attentive duvet of celebrity insurance!
The piece Ingrams has written could be the truth, the whole truth, etc etc. He attributes his departure to the curse of modern management techniques with its petty rules, procedures and whatnot. He can't abide that sort of thing, having made his ascent in life through the informal wilds of making-it-up-as-he-goes-along, with charming people by his side giggling on cue. But I am not convinced that's the real story. The impression I get from Ingrams' doubtless well-rewarded article is that Pembroke wanted him out and simply used legislated procedure to start the process. That's the actual story, in my view. How procedure advertises employer animus and alerts the subject to the exit door, now ajar.
In all of the media places I have plied my trade, the 'disciplinary hearing' is only activated once a decision is made to sack someone. It matters not what the reasons are. Only that the power-in-charge has tired of you. If you want someone to stay in your employ you don't put them in the virtual stocks - you talk to them privately; offer carrots with implied stick. Such hearings usually are part show-trial, part kangaroo court. I don't say Pembroke planned to act as judge and jury in a quasi-judicial charade. Only that he most likely couldn't stand the old fart any more and had to find a way to get him out, so began a legal process. Circulation was slipping after all. Ingrams tells us so.
That angle is not complimentary to Ingrams, of course, who now recasts himself as some sort of worthy champion of gentleman journalism cast upon the rocks of MBA-inspired martinet bureaucracy. Old stagers know how to carry on the show - 'All right Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close up.' I do hope Pembroke breaks cover with his (honest) version of events.