It is easy, as they say, to start believing your own spin. Perhaps in time such a disease creeps over everyone in the public eye, as they increasingly come to live up (or down) to the shorthand summary of themselves which they once invented for marketing purposes.
Whether it comes for us all or not, it has certainly come for the Guardian’s George Monbiot. Two weeks ago, George tweeted this:
The head of a bank famously kept a pike in a tank in his office and would feed it live goldfish. Can anyone remember who it was? Thanks.
— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) September 28, 2012
The immediate reaction was to point out that if you can’t remember who did it, it obviously wasn’t that “famous”.
However, weeks have now passed, and the name of this wicked “head of a bank” still hasn’t emerged. Not one of Monbiot’s 52,281 twitter followers could name him, and the article which he presumably intended to use the anecdote has yet to appear.
For that matter, fish-keeping friends tell me that the size of a tank you’d need in order to keep a pike would be umanageably huge.
Could it be that this “famous”, Bond-villain, “head of a bank” didn’t in fact exist? Could it be – whisper it – that George Monbiot’s memory has started matching up to his view of the world, even when it didn’t actually happen?
Perhaps I’m wrong – and if anyone can find me proof of the “head of a bank [who] famously kept a pike in a tank in his office and would feed it live goldfish” then I will donate £50 to Greenpeace. I get a feeling my £50 is quite safe.
George Monbiot has plunged fully into the deep end today by calling on the Government to seize control of people’s homes in order to force those with spare rooms to take in strangers. It’s a barmy proposal – and an evil one – but I suppose it’s the logical conclusion of his view that he knows better than everyone else what they should do with their lives, liberty and property.
Perhaps he will now have the intellectual honesty to change his Guardian bio to “totalitarian evangelist”.
Guido has already suggested we all go to Monbiot’s house to see if he will be good to his word by putting strangers up in any space he may have – but how big is his pad?
According to various letters (doc file) of his that are online, he lives at Y Goeden Eirin, Newtown Road, Machynlleth, Powys SY20 8EY. The local house price registers show the property as being bought for £278,200 in January 2007.
A couple of months earlier he gave a preening interview to the Times discussing the move. That interview describes the Machynlleth property as “four-bedroom” – the same size as his old house in oxford.
Seeing as George moved to Wales with his wife and young daughter, that means he should have at least two bedrooms going spare. First come, first served!