Are The Guardian’s Leader Writers Entirely Ignorant And Stupid?

I give this to you in full as it is so appallingly obtuse as to rather require all of it to get the full flavour:

The Gay Hussar is both an elderly central London restaurant, and one of the most celebrated venues in the history of the post-war left. On these red plush banquettes, immortalised by the great cartoonists of the past 60 years, Bevanite heroes – Aneurin Bevan himself, Michael Foot, Barbara Castle – would scheme and plot, usually unsuccessfully. But they are long dead now, and the place needs a new owner. To the dismay of the loyal staff, it’s to be auctioned at Christie’s sometime in early December. Time surely to reclaim history and bring its traditional values into a modernised setting. Mark Seddon, the former editor of the journal of the old left, Tribune (which once treated it as the office canteen), proposed it should be the subject of a diners’ co-op. And why not? Plum in the middle of London, it’s a great location for a restaurant. Its menu, starring the legendary cold cherry soup and smoked goose, is the last place anywhere in the world where you can find food still cooked to weighty mid-20th century Hungarian recipes. It could be modernised to reflect contemporary central Europe’s considerable culinary advances. The real change would come from a new model of ownership, the previously untried diners’ co-operative. This would not mean having to cook one’s own dinner, far less wash up afterwards. Rather it would be somewhere between the John Lewis model of profit-sharing for the staff and the Co-op model of dividends for regular customers. A socialist model for today’s politicians.

Nothing wrong with the idea at all. Why the hell not?

But the idea that this would be a new model, the “previously untried diners’ co-operative”. This is actually one of the oldest economic models for a restaurant around. It’s how gentlemens’ clubs operate for example.

Seriously people, why are people this ignorant employed to preach to us?

11 comments on “Are The Guardian’s Leader Writers Entirely Ignorant And Stupid?

  1. I’d imagine the bit where he’s expecting the unencumbered restaurant business to be given to the ‘diners co-op’ free of charge is the innovative part. There’s nothing to stop them toddling down to Christie’s & bidding, is there? But we are apparently writing newspaper columns not prising open the china pig to back our observations with the jingly stuff. Being socialists & such.

  2. Just a thought. Wasn’t one of the great London gentlemen’s clubs founded on a bequest? Maybe they should kill one of their number. There’s certainly enough rich socialists about that losing one wouldn’t be too great a hardship. Any you’d like to volunteer?

  3. And what’s the difference between a diners co-op and a pub co-op, of which there are many of the later. So definitely not something new, just something that has been tried many times before and found not to work that successfully.

  4. “why are people this ignorant employed to preach to us?”

    Because no informed person will preach the nonsense the Guardian wants preached.

  5. Amen to ‘dearieme.’ (#5)

    They could just have accurately said ‘People who colluded with mass murderers in service of a higher cause, Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot and Barbara Castle’ but that would be close to the bone.

    The simple answer to the question posed is ‘Yes’ and surely has been since the 1980s and beyond (pre the Ken Livingstone GLC era certainly)

  6. “Its menu, starring the legendary cold cherry soup and smoked goose, is the last place anywhere in the world where you can find food still cooked to weighty mid-20th century Hungarian recipes.”

    Bollocks. It’s not even the last place in London. I can think of at least three others. The Hungarian Cultural Centre’s only a few minutes walk from the Gay Hussar, and regularly has better food cheaper. Presumably that’s one of the reasons the GH is up for sale.

    What with the number of Hungarians coming to London since joining the EU, it’s no surprise that actually a fair number of new Hungarian restaurants have sprung up over the last few years.

  7. “Rather it would be somewhere between the John Lewis model of profit-sharing for the staff and the Co-op model of dividends for regular customers.”

    So a family run restaurant that gives good deals to regulars?

  8. Just a thought.
    “food still cooked to weighty mid-20th century Hungarian recipes.”
    Presumably mid 20th century refers to a couple decades either side the mid-point, so anyone any experience of the country then? Mine was limited to Poland in the early seventies, where the grub seemed to be exclusively potatoes & cabbage & E. Germany which missed out on the cabbage. Was Hungary unusually .stocked with smoked geese & cherries or was it like most of E. Europe, the recipes as historical romance rather than food?

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