“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Happy 50th Birthday, The World's Greatest English Language Newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph

The Sunday Telegraph at 50: a passion for quality, truth and freedom

Telegraph View: The world has changed considerably in the past 50 years - but The Sunday Telegraph's values remain as relevant as ever.

Fifty years ago on this Sunday, when the first edition of The Sunday Telegraph rolled off the presses, Britain was a very different country from the one in which we live today. The war with Hitler that had threatened the nation's very survival had ended only 16 years earlier. The British Empire was melting away. We were a more ethnically homogeneous nation, but one in which class and other social distinctions were much more rigid. The roles of men and women in family life – men out at work, women at home looking after the children – seemed immutably fixed. Divorce was rare, and crime was, by contemporary standards, extraordinarily low. The social changes epitomised by rock and roll music and Cabinet ministers who drop their aitches had yet to happen.
Although many things have changed during the past 50 years, some for the better, some for the worse, we believe that the core values that sustain this newspaper and the journalists who produce it have stayed the same. First among them is a commitment to telling the truth clearly and honestly to our readers. The basic duty of The Sunday Telegraph has always been the same, and always will be: to record what has happened and predict what will happen as accurately as possible, and not to bend or compromise in order to benefit those in power.
Crucially important, however, is explaining that truth in an intelligible and, where appropriate, entertaining way: we cannot inform you if we cannot persuade you to read what we write. That is why high-quality writing has always been, and always will be, so important to this newspaper, along with the expert broadsheet design and world-class photography that allow that writing to be displayed to best advantage. When you finish an edition, we hope you have found out things that you did not know before. But we also hope you have been amused, diverted and entertained. From the start, The Sunday Telegraph employed writers of considerable literary eminence and stylistic elegance, and wit and the sheer pleasure of good writing have been an essential part of its appeal. Although the news is often grim, we try to ensure that reading our pages is an uplifting experience. Hope is a precious commodity, and we try to keep it alive.
This newspaper has always been conscious of its connection, and its duty, to its readers, whether in cities, suburbs or countryside. Their values, and ours, have sometimes been called old-fashioned – but for proof of their continuing relevance, you need only study the world around us. Behind many of our favoured causes and successful campaigns has been the principle that Britain's tradition of political independence and autonomy must be preserved, and that our system of parliamentary sovereignty needs to be protected from the many attempts to subvert it. Christopher Booker, for example, who has been writing for this newspaper since 1961, was one of the first to identify the extent to which both the European Union, and the European Court, have undermined the sovereignty of Parliament. More and more people now recognise – as we always have – that you can admire European culture without thinking that our laws ought to be made by European institutions. More recently, as Britain has developed into a society of diverse ethnicities and religions, Andrew Gilligan has investigated the corrosive effects of Islamic extremism, and the ways in which the uncritical adoption of the ideology of "multiculturalism" has undermined the cohesion that it seeks to create. A host of other writers and reporters, past and present, have written equally powerfully and persuasively.
The Sunday Telegraph is a conservative newspaper, but we have never given the Conservative Party our uncritical support: when we think it has erred, we have been unstinting in our criticism. A current example is the plan to sell off England's forests, which we were the first to reveal. In common with many of our readers, we think it a policy whose effects have not been adequately thought through. Yet we share basic conservative values with the party of that name: we believe that individual and communal freedom is the source of our nation's prosperity, vitality and happiness, and that this can too often be vitiated by an interfering state; we have an instinctive distrust of change for its own sake; we think that good manners and respect for other people's convictions and traditions are an important element in any civilised community. We believe in high standards: some ways of doing things are better than others, and the better ways should be cherished and encouraged rather than denigrated as "elitist". Cynicism is often the default setting for commentary on the state of the nation: it is not ours. We believe that there is a great deal about British society that is worth preserving.
Over the past few years, the rate of change in the world around us has palpably accelerated. That transformation has been reflected in the newspaper industry: the electronic version of the Telegraph is now read all over the world, on devices such as iPads and mobile phones as well as laptop or desktop computers, allowing an ever closer engagement with readers of all stripes. We do not know how it will be read in 50 years' time. We are sure, however, that the values that will animate the paper in the future will be the same as the ones that animate it today: a passion for the truth, and for revealing and writing about it in a manner that absorbs, challenges and entertains.


  1. Congratulations to the Sunday Telegraph. Relatively unknown in the US until the mass use of the internet, The Telegraph has become a respected and popular source for news as it should be reported and presented.

    I have been reading the paper since 1965 and any reader of the Elephant Bar will recognize it as my favorite source of stories and news that is consistently reported with both honesty and integrity. The same could hardly be said of the US equivalents and The NewYork Times in particular.

    Well done and keep it up.

  2. Presumably because the newspaper doesn't hire the sort of "journalists" who indicate they want to "change the world someday" in their year book.

  3. The Huffington Post, which has grown from its small but splashy debut in 2005 into one of the Web’s most popular news sites, has agreed to sell itself to AOL, Jeremy W. Peters and Verne G. Kopytoff report in The New York Times on Monday.

    Under the terms of the deal, AOL will pay $315 million — $300 million in cash and the rest in stock.

  4. Vel isn't that vunderful, darling.

    ~ Ariana

  5. They can have the Elephant for something somewhat less.

  6. Boy Genius Breitbart developed the Huffpo for our lady.

    ...while doing the grunt work for Drudge.

  7. New York is where I'd rather stay.

    I get allergic smelling hay.

    I just adore a penthouse view.

    Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.

  8. Just inform them that if they have to ask about price, they can't afford it.

  9. Navy’s First Unmanned Stealth Bomber Completes 29-Minute Test Flight

    Ronald Reagan Could Be Added To Mt. Rushmore

  10. Why I Rush to Mountmore.

    ~ Iyam Horny

  11. Clark = Stoolie for the left.

  12. Here I thought he was a highly decorated veteran, a one time NATO commander.

    If that makes a fellow a stoolie, well, it speaks poorly to the quality of the personnel in the US military.

    stoolie - someone acting as an informer or decoy

    Now gag tells us that General Clarke is a decoy for the "left".

    decoy - A means used to mislead or lead into danger.

    How does he do that?

  13. How about Lackey, then. Want to look that one up?

    I know some highly decorated veterans I wouldn't trust with a dollar bill.

    You like Clark, Rat, because he vilified Cain while campaigning first for Kerry, another one of your war heroes, then Nobama.

  14. I have no emotional attachment to Wesley Clark, I neither like nor dislike him.

    He does not rate that highly, in either direction.

    US policy is not a matter of personalities, but factual situations that we find ourselves in.

    I am not a "Liberal", my personal "feelings" are not the driving force in my intellectual pursuit of the truth.

  15. If there are factual discrepancies in the General's presentation, please advise.

  16. As for JFKerry, he is just another member of the Skull & Bones Society.

    To be disdained as a self-important elitist, just as GW Bush proved himself to be.

    The difference in the two of them, inconsequential in any real sense.

  17. JFKerry married his money, GW Bush was born to his.

    GW Bush joined the Air National Guard and worked on political campaigns while JFKerry seems to have exaggerated some minor wounds, to be rotated out of Vietnam.

    Neither being stellar examples of service in the cause of freedom.

    Both looking out for themselves, first and foremost. More concerned about career paths than service to the country.

  18. I once looked upon John McCain with some favor, until he proved himself to be a skunk.

    A Federal Socialist that disdained Federal Law in favor of the illegal actions of Federal bureaucrats.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. McCain having two standards of justice, one for the "Little People", another for his wife.

    Zero tolerance for drug offenders, until one was in his bedroom, she being the source of his personal fortune.

    Like JFKerry, "Maverick" McCain, earned his fortune the "old fashion way", he married his money.

  21. Voice of America reports

    Middle East experts say Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's family fortune could be as much as $70 billion.

    Experts estimate the net worth of Mr. Mubarak and his family at between $40 billion and $70 billion. They say the Egyptian president has much of his wealth in Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in New York, Los Angeles and London.

    Some experts say he also has several lavish homes across Egypt.

    Mr. Mubarak's wife, Susan, and their two sons, Gamal and Alaa, are also reported to be billionaires.

    U.S. and British experts say the family wealth dates back to when Mr. Mubarak was an air force officer and in a position to benefit from corporate corruption on military contracts. Analysts say the family was able to accumulate wealth through business partnerships with foreign investors and companies.

    Amaney Jamal, a political science professor at Princeton University in the United States, told ABC News that Mr. Mubarak's estimated wealth is similar to other Middle Eastern leaders. She said there was "a lot of corruption in his regime and a stifling of public resources for personal gain."

  22. Jeez, I remember when we thought it was a big deal that Castro was, reportedly, worth a couple of hundred million.

  23. Little wonder, then, that some folks in Egypt would like to see Mr Mubarak brought to trial.

    A fellow that has spent his entire life on the public payroll, in Egypt, now worth tens of billions of dollars, while the majority of his constituents wallow in abject poverty.

    Yep, that would be cause for investigation and trial, by any sane standard of reasonable and legitimate justice in the whirled.

  24. That's why Authoritarian Regimes almost always end in beheadings, hangings, etc. NO Ruler can resist enriching himself, and people are invariably pissed when they find out by how much.

  25. DR:A fellow that has spent his entire life on the public payroll, in Egypt, now worth tens of billions of dollars, while the majority of his constituents wallow in abject poverty.

    Seen it before, Marcos, Philippines, 1986. It's the same old racket. Great work if you can get it.

  26. Tabari I:280 "Allah said, 'It is My obligation to make Eve bleed once every month as she made this tree bleed. I must also make Eve stupid, although I created her intelligent.' Because Allah afflicted Eve, all of the women of this world menstruate and are stupid."

  27. But, submission to allah is a good thing. Right?

  28. Hell no, I don't bow to Allah or Jesus or Hubbard or any of that shit.

  29. Need a spiritual home? Consider joining us at Mary Queen of the Universe Latter-day Buddhislamic Free Will Christian UFO Synagogue of Vishnu

  30. I could probably fit in with a crowd like that. Do they do Bud Light?


  31. This year we will experience 4 unusual dates: 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11 and 11/11/11.

    NOW take the LAST 2 digits of the year you were born & add the age you'll be this year it SHOULD be 111. How strange is that?

  32. Not strange at all, Allen.

    Next year it will be 112. Because the two numbers you add are complimentary. One must increase when the other decreases, see?

  33. After McCain came out in favor of TARP I didn't care if Sarah Palin campaigned the final few weeks in a bikini I wasn't voting GOP.

  34. :)

    That chess was good.

    Palin in a bikini...oh man...

  35. Openhydro, which designs and manufactures turbines for converting tidal power to electricity, said yesterday that DCNS, a French state-owned specialist in naval defence and nuclear energy systems, is taking an 8 per cent stake in the Irish company for €14 million. The deal values Openhydro, which is still in the development phase of its business, at €175 million.


    Openhydro’s chairman, Brendan Gilmore, said yesterday that the proposed DCNS investment, which the French government has yet to approve, was a positive development.

    “The directors together with our major shareholders believe that this investment supports and enhances Openhydro’s development plans and are unanimously recommending its acceptance,” Mr Gilmore said.

    Stake in OpenHydro

  36. If they ever get the waves/current figured out, Sam, it might be "game over." There's tremendous energy there.

  37. My grandpa, Rufus, joined the peace corps around about '70 after he retired. Was sent to Samoa to help with construction and what-not.

    Sitting on one of the beaches there one day looking out at the ocean. Wave after wave after wave rolling in.

    Thought to himself there has to be energy in that. It's constant. He was a bit of an inventor/tinkerer.

    Got back stateside to Seattle and went to work in his garage. Made up these 2 huge empty oil barrels, connected to real long pipes that came in sections, pipes connected to a generator at the other end, generator had a little 'test' light bulb screwed into it.

    My dad and I loaded up my grandpa and all his gear in the backup of the pickup and took off for the Washington State coast.

    Set the contraption up on the beach. I was pretty young at the time. My dad waded out to where he could barely stand anymore. Setting those barrels up in the waves.

    Came back to shore and sat down on the beach next to the generator. Watching the barrels out there in the surf.

    Up, down. Up, down. Up, down.

    Light bulb lit.