street of shame

Another Viner mess
The Guardian, Issue 1573

kath-viner.jpg GUARDIAN editor Kath Viner is trying yet again to impose a ceasefire in the paper's civil wars over "gender identity". Last week she issued new guidelines warning that "it is never acceptable to criticise colleagues on social media either directly or indirectly", and hacks who do so can expect "disciplinary procedures" – though she didn't specify what the punishment might be.

Alas! Just one day later Grauniad columnist Hadley Freeman was attacked on Twitter by Nina Lakhani, the "senior climate justice reporter" at Guardian US, for arguing: "If US feminist organisations cannot say the word woman they cannot defend women's rights." Lakhani accused her colleague of spouting "a whole other level of utter bullshit". This rubbishing of Freeman was then "liked" by three other Guardian US hacks.

But never mind, the editor has another peacemaking scheme: the Guardian Dialogue Project, which aims "to build a common understanding around the issues of trans people's rights, gender critical feminism, and liberal progressive journalism in the Guardian". As one hack explains: "She's inviting the staff to see shrinks." Or, more precisely, Gestalt psychotherapists and executive coaches, who are "facilitating" 30 sessions at the office over the next month. The first was held this Monday.

At each event, a lone Grauniad employee is shut away for an hour with two of these advisers and invited to share "thoughts and perspectives on the issues". An anonymised account is then sent to Viner and her senior editorial leadership team, "to inform and support their ongoing reflection".

No one knows how much money the paper is spending on this truth-and-reconciliation exercise, but we do at least know who the facilitators are. They include Martin Vogel, a former BBC hack who is now an executive coach and "a trained instructor in mindfulness meditation". Then there's Charmaine Roche, founder of Lifeflowbalance Coaching and Consulting Ltd, whose CV boasts that she is "developing decoloniality as a systemic lens for creating solutions based on the liberating stance of working within the fissures and cracks of a broken system".

‘Dynamic of shame'
One of the Gestalt psychotherapists, Dr Eliat Aram, reveals that she specialises in "the dialectic between love, leadership, ethics and aesthetics" and enjoys "working with the dynamic of shame", which should come in useful at the Grauniad office. Another therapist, Simon Cavicchia, regularly hosts a two-day workshop "Playing at the Edge – Dancing with the Inner Critic", billed as "a creative inquiry into shame, spontaneity, freedom".

One satisfied customer posted a photo of multi-coloured strips of plasticine she had entwined at the event, "expressing my Inner Critic in clay". Alas, not all Viner's hacks are so impressed. "Plasticine!" says one. "Does Kath think we're five-year-olds?"

"We strongly encourage staff to regularly delete historical tweets and other social posts," say the Guardian's new guidelines. "We recommend using the Tweetdelete service to do this." And, oh happy day, hacks have been told that the cost of sanitising their whiffy Twitter history can be claimed on expenses!

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More top stories in the latest issue:

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle seems to have a habit of summoning journalists who have written things he doesn't agree with.

PULP NON-FICTION! Why a book on Prince William at 40 by veteran royal-botherer Robert Jobson raised eyebrows at the Sunday Times and has had to be recalled.

On the eve of Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney's libel trial, there's a crucial breakthrough – and the coy Sun finally ends its self-imposed omertà.

The Mirror is outraged by "misogynistic" Tories' leering at Angela Rayner's legs – but has its own drooling obsession with female celebs and their pants.

Sun columnist Rod Liddle fails to check the weather forecast when praising Priti Patel's Rwanda scheme for a temporary lull in migrants crossing the channel.

Private Eye Issue 1573
In This Issue
BP and Shell executives see grounds for optimism in Ukraine war as oil price goes through the roof… Britain to lead world again, says Sun, as Europe’s fattest nation by 2033… People traffickers hail Rwanda scheme a triumph as migrants rush to cross Channel before deportation deadline…No more medicines, powdered baby milk or travelling on the M20 to Dover – those Brexit Bonanza Bills in full… Jubilation across the media as TalkTV’s tumbling ratings become must-see event… Motorists face yet more gridlock as Highways Agency tactics outperform Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain… EU still struggling to switch energy supplier as US, Norway and Gulf states charge even more than Russia… Allison Pearson’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

Wag trade
Rooney and Vardy in the box

SLAPP in the face
Lawyers versus freedom speech

Cord values
An Eye special on dodgy stem cell treatments

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25th May 2022
Private Eye Issue 1572