Congratulations to Night Jack
In the kerfuffle of Budget Day, followed by the Death of New Labour and the Death of Nice Conservatism, Man United's win over Portsmouth, the IFS predator strike on Alistair Darling and Susan Boyle's makeover I forgot to congratulate Jack Night, whose blog Night Jack deservedly beat Idle Scrawl to the Orwell Prize. I was tipping him to win and wish now that I had backed him. The Orwell Prize people have not yet supplied an "Orwell Prize: Loser" jpeg to go on this blog so the old one will stay there till the tech team can take it down.
Jack is a working police detective. Night Jack's value lies in the truthfulness of what's described and the honesty with which the author confronts his own reaction to events. Leaving aside "turning writing into an art" that is the essence of what Orwell did in books like Homage to Catalonia and Road to Wigan Pier. Jack uses concepts that could never appear on a mainsteam media-hosted blog, such as the Evil Poor and he does not spare us from the mundanity, squalor and pointlessness of most crime, and allows us to understand better its complex causes.
He's suspended the blog to write a novel. I hope, amid the wrecked lives and chip wrappers, he finds time to read Chandler's The Simple Art of Murder. Chandler advises detective fiction writers to create, as hero, "a man who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid"; ie, not a Gene Hunt.