Tied up in Knots

One of the more interesting media stories to emerge this week is that BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston is on the point of leaving the BBC to join ITN. The BBC are so keen to hang on to Peston that they are believed to be offering him a regular role on Newsnight.

For many newspapers the story isn’t that the BBC and ITN are in a tug of war over Peston, or that Peston might be following other big beasts such as Paxman and Naughtie out of BBC News. No, they were far more interested in the fact that Peston rarely wears a tie.

To wear a tie or not?  The national press seems curiously undecided on this weighty topic. After all, both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are regularly seen in public without the protection of a necktie.

I can’t help thinking that this is in many ways a generational issue. Jeremy Corbyn comes from a generation which regards wearing a tie as a very conformist thing to do, and therefore sees going tieless as a minor act of rebellion. By contrast, the younger David Cameron  seems to believe that ties are fine for office workers but need not be compulsory for well bred Oxbridge types like him.

Age wise I am somewhere between Cameron and Corbyn. I began my working life in a culture where it was simply accepted that a man would wear a tie when going to the office. Nowadays, I only wear a tie if I have a formal or very important occasion to attend. Maybe it is my age, but I often feel uncomfortable wearing a suit without a tie. I can’t help thinking that a suit was designed with a tie in mind.

Perhaps the final word on this should go to Jon Snow, who always presents Channel Four News while wearing a bespoke Victoria Richards tie. Often Snow’s tie is so loud that I’m tempted to reach for the mute button.



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