...and I'll tell you why. It's not unusual for the odd sicky burp to rise up while I'm scanning through the Mail's website in search of journalism, news and quality reporting - a search that inevitably ends in failure and results in me reading a load of old cobblers. But today was something different. There was a photo of Piers Morgan on the page.
Ugh. Morgan. What a talentless twit he is. And he's coming back onto our TV screens in the very near future, next to monotoothed charm vacuum Simon 'campest-straight-man-in-the-world-unless-you-count-Brucie' Cowell and the woman who cries a lot and used to be married to Les Dennis. I think he might even sit in the middle, actually; I have hazy memories of sitting through an entire episode of 'Britain's Got Talent', a programme which seems, if anything, to demonstrate quie conclusively that Britain hasn't. Especially if those three are anything to go by, and Piers in particular. It has the same somewhat disturbing early efforts to set up people who appear to have borderline mental health issues as the X-Factor, people who are at the very least severely deluded as to their own abilities, for the general public to laugh at. Look at this person, he thinks he can sing but he can't sing! Oh ha ha ha! Let's get some millionaires to ridicule him. Yes, brilliant, very clever.
So in order to ramp up a bit of publicity for BGT - yay, some clapped-out sub-Butlins wannabes who couldn't even make it into the very worst of German supper cabaret, let's laugh at the funny ones and cry at the good ones - Morgan's popped up in the Hate, talking about the Apprentice. Why might he be doing that when the Apprentice has been on for three weeks? Ah, because he won the celebrity version of it in America, being 'hired' by that sandy-haired porcine prick Donald Trump - and he wants to tell us all how great he is, how brilliant things like the Apprentice are when you win them and how great he is. Also, how great he is (did he mention how great he is? He hopes so!)
As you'll recall from previous ramblings, I'm a big fan of the Apprentice. I may have to reconsider that, knowing that Morgan's watching it too. It makes me feel almost dirty liking the same things he does. Before I know it I'll be buying a bunch of Viglen shares that coincidentally rocket in price, wasting editorial space in my newspaper by pursuing a nasty personal vendetta against Ian Hislop, and getting sacked for printing a load of old bollocks. Anyway.
And as someone who not only once employed Sir Alan (as a columnist on the Mirror), but who also won a celebrity version of The Apprentice in America ten days ago, I'm loving every minute.
Me, me, me, me, me, me, me. Did I tell you about me? I WON! I WON THE APPRENTICE! I am great! I won! I won! Yay, I won! I'm not going to say 'small man syndrome' but don't you think this man, who wrote a book entitled 'Don't you know who I am?' loves himself just a teensy weensy tiny bit too much?
Yet, with turgid predictability, the show has also sparked a ridiculous furore of politically-correct nonsense about how awful it is to see people so nakedly desperate to win.
See, if you're appearing in the Mail, even if you (once upon a time at least) are a bit of a lefty, you must attack 'political correctness'. Remember Ben Elton the other day?
Luke Johnson, the entrepreneur and chairman of Channel 4, has said that "the very idea that Sir Alan is seen as a business role model makes me sick" and claims that the show is "a clapped-out concept that ought to be consigned to the knacker's yard".
Textbook strawman. Set up thus:
1. People have been saying X, which is ridiculous.
2. Here's someone saying Y, but I'm going to imply he said X.
Luke Johnson didn't say anything about the show being bad because of people's naked desire to win; at least, not in the quotes that Morgan chooses to illustrate that particular point. It's either shit journalism (possibly, given the person doing it) or a deliberate strawman.
Here's what Johnson actually said, in full:
I dislike The Apprentice principally for two reasons. Firstly, I have loathed Alan Sugar ever since I made the mistake of doing some business with him almost 25 years ago. The very idea that he is seen as some sort of entrepreneurial role model makes me feel sick.
Secondly, the show presents a wholly bogus image of what commercial life is like. The idea that you can simply dismiss someone by saying 'You're Fired' is a complete joke and grossly misleading, given modern employment legislation. The most successful entrepreneurs I've known have not been ultra-pushy or thuggish, as the winners tend to come across in The Apprentice, but serious and long-term in their ambition. I worry that the programme is not inspirational stuff for future inventors and business-builders - the job creators Britain so desperately needs. It is a caricature, a publicity machine for Sir Alan's ego, and a clapped-out concept that ought to be consigned to the knacker's yard.
As far as I can see, Johnson's point, insomuch as he does talk about the nature of the contestants, is that the winners have come across as 'pushy' and 'thuggish', not just 'desperate to win', as Morgan says they are. Now I can see where Morgan's coming from; he's taking it personally! Johnson has attacked winners of The Apprentice, and Morgan is a winner of the Apprentice! This seems all about Morgan feeling slighted by something that wasn't meant personally towards him at all.
Other critics have been queuing up to accuse The Apprentice of fostering discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace.
Who are they Piers? Oh, you can't be bothered to say - just the other people in that Guardian article, or others? But you're fitting in nicely at the Mail, bringing up the classic 'critics are saying this' line. Who are these 'critics' and where do they come from? If they really exist, then let's see examples of it.
He has shown that if it takes cunning, guile, arrogance, and even a streak of uncompromising ruthlessness, to achieve your business goal, then so be it.
And of course, as we know, PIERS WON THE APPRENTICE! And so is therefore GREAT!
As editor of two national newspapers for 11 years, I employed more than 700 people of all sexes, shapes, sizes, creeds and personality disorders - and soon worked out how, in the words of Sir Alan, to spot the "cheats, bulls****ers, and schmoozers".
By looking in the mirror?
I've mixed it in the business world with most of the top players - men like Trump, Rupert Murdoch, Sir Philip Green, Sir Richard Branson, and, of course, Sir Alan.
The character traits are fairly similar, even if their personalities appear very different. All of them are tough, hard, ruthless winners.
I, I, I, I, I. I did this. I did that. I'm great. I've got rich friends. I'm popular. I'm brilliant.
Shut up, Morgan, you insignificant little man. Little, little man. Somehow, yes, you've managed to make it into the world of celebrity; with a bit of luck, you'll come crashing down just like the characters you attacked while you were in charge of a tabloid. And the world will be watching.
The great thing about slagging off Piers Morgan is that you know he's going to read it. He strikes me as the kind of cove who searches Google for his own name every day, such is the size of his ego. He even posts messages on the Facebook 'I fucking hate Piers Morgan' group, which no doubt he found by searching for himself on there. So I have little doubt he'll be reading this sooner or later.
If so, Piers, you're a talent-free cock. You were a shit newspaper editor and you're a shit celebrity. One day the phone's going to stop ringing. And it won't be long. And it won't be a case of 'Do you know who I am?' then, but 'Do you know who I was?' - and no-one will remember.