I missed Question Time last night, which is just as well. Digby Jones was on it. I think my critique of him from 2009, when he suggested firing “half the civil service”, still stands:
“I would like to fire all, not half, of Digby Jones. It is not just that he appears the walking personification of the spirit of big business at its corporatist worst; it’s the pomposity of his know-all demeanour, the bluff “say what I like, like what I bloody well say” media appearances where he is usually presented as “the voice of business” and the way he just makes one cringe. When he thought about standing for Mayor of London, I started looking at property prices outside the capital and called Pickfords. What a relief it was when the public did not rally to his banner.”
But one mystery has persisted since he was elevated to the peerage by Gordon Brown. Why do some people who should know better call him Lord Digby Jones? It’s Lord Jones, or Digby Jones. But most definitely not Lord Digby Jones. And yet he is called that repeatedly in news bulletins and when he is introduced on current affairs programmes. Even the speakers agency that represents him (he’s available for after-dinner speaking, weddings etc) bills him as Lord Digby Jones. Why? We don’t speak of Lord Paddy Ashdown, or Lord Melvyn Bragg or Baroness Margaret Thatcher.