Before I start I need to re-iterate that this is a completely unofficial blog with no line to toe or axe to grind. Good that’s done.
Yesterday the headlines shouted and the social media channels tutted that David Goodhart the Director of Demos had been snubbed by the Hay Festival. Call me old fashioned but this strikes me as a total non-story. In essence the nub of the news story here is that ‘something hasn’t happened’ shock horror. It may be a tad more abstruse than that. Goodhart is a Hay regular, festival organiser Peter Florence possibly doesn’t much like his latest book, but that’s still not a story. It’s a bit like saying Rihanna or Daft Punk have been snubbed by Glastonbury. Festivals aren’t extensions of the democratic process (if they were David Goodhart still might not get the gig). The line up is subjective, informed by the judgement and experience of the organisers, but their choice nevertheless. If you create a festival it goes with the territory that you get to choose who to invite and the the market will tell you’ve if you got it right.
Imagine my surprise when it turns out that “the Mail’s Peter Hitchens won’t be making Hay” either this year (Guardian headline not mine). So that’s it then the culture sections of the nationals have guaranteed space fillers for the last week in May every year. Just find an author that isn’t speaking at Hay, there will always be at least one or two, and fill several column inches with indignant outpourings, job done.