There's a bit of a kerfuffle about press freedom at the moment. Not quite sure of the details, but all sorts of celebrities and politicians have been getting themselves in a state arguing that the State really ought to be in control of the business of printing things.
So what has that got to do with the world’s best, longest-serving and most venerated car magazine? Absolutely everything. There are many stories, often involving my esteemed colleague Hilton Holloway, that are politician-baitingly controversial.
I didn’t think that I was an investigative journalist at all, but over the years I have written stories that in the current climate could well result in me being prisoner 54432678.
That’s right, car magazines ought to be able to question politicians about what they do and just whether they are being ever so slightly hypocritical. It really does matter what they drive, what their pence per mile rate is and whether they claim for free first-class travel and taxi fares.
Indeed, I was once behind a satirical prank that involved trying to give former London Mayor Ken Livingstone an old FX4 Taxi. That’s because his expenses claims revealed that it would be a lot cheaper just to give him a smelly old taxi. The organisation I was freelancing for ultimately thought this was a bit too controversial. Bloody cowards.
Car magazines should bite the hand that feeds it when necessary. There is a car industry, but we are not part of it. Our duty is to report the truth to you, and if they get upset and don’t lend us their latest hatchback then tough. Which probably explains why I am not an editor or anything really important like that.
The question is, then, do you mind if there is State control of Autocar, or would you not even notice the difference so long as there are cars going sideways?