A discreet wedding...

The so-called first Anglican gay marriage was very far from a secret affair, so how come the news me

The final words of the Sunday Telegraph's coverage of the gay Anglican "wedding" caught my eye. "A champagne reception was held in the Great Hall of St Bartholomew's Hospital . . ." it said, and afterwards the couple "left in an open landau and headed for the Ivy restaurant with close friends and family". The order of service that was helpfully printed above made clear that these events happened on 31 May, and I was reading it on 15 June.

Let us get this straight. It is possible to conduct "the Church of England's first homosexual wedding" - an event so important it is apparently set to cause "an irreversible schism" in the worldwide Anglican community - in London on a Saturday in May, and the national press does not notice for a fortnight.

Footballers and Wags, take note. The ingredients of a discreet wedding, it seems, are these: hold it in one of the country's best-known churches (featured in both Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare in Love), with rose-petal confetti, a robed choir, morning suits, bridesmaids and a VIP congregation, and then, after a reception in the historic public building next door, process to dinner at the Ivy in an open-topped carriage drawn by horses.

It is probably irrelevant these days that the church of St Bartholomew the Great is a stone's throw from Fleet Street, but the Ivy! The paparazzi practically live on the pavement there, and many of the top-end, expense-account columnists and editors, minor celebrities that they are, love to be seen eating there.

Did this historic couple really alight from their carriage and breeze in, unsnapped? Did they celebrate with friends and family in the restaurant, on a Saturday evening, without a single journalist realising it was a story? Dear me, what is this trade coming to?

The point is not entirely a facetious one. The Sunday Telegraph got a scoop, and a very good one by its standards, directly addressing as it did one of the paper's three core concerns: the Church, the armed forces and the countryside.

Religious affairs correspondent Jonathan Wynne-Jones not only had the facts, including the hymns, the poems and the all-important words of the ceremony ("with this ring I thee bind, with my body I thee worship . . ."), he also had the reactions, notably that of the Archbishop of Uganda, who declared the event "blasphemous".

But it is still fair to ask how an event so public ("I have made no secret about this," said the defiant presiding priest, Reverend Martin Dudley, and you can't argue with him) could have escaped the notice of the national news media for two whole weeks.

Nick Davies, author of the broadside Flat Earth News, would probably see in this a symptom of a desk-bound, spoon-fed profession, barely capable of discovering a new fact even when it is paraded in an open carriage across the capital (by way, I like to think, of Fleet Street, The Strand, Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross Road).

And Davies might be even less impressed by the follow-ups in other papers the next day, which for the most part did little more than recycle information from Wynne-Jones's original, notably his quote from the archbishop.

A striking exception was the Sunday Telegraph's daily sister. It did its share of parroting Wynne-Jones, but freshened the story with a new top that might have been borrowed instead from the News of the World: "A vicar accused of conducting a 'gay wedding' at his historic church is a controversial figure who has previously married his former mistress to another man." Please.

Kelvin's second thoughts

Nine months ago, after the election that wasn't, Kelvin MacKenzie was one of those who accused Gordon Brown of "bottling". Wittily, he combined this with his distaste for the Scots and began referring to Brown and Alistair Darling together as "the McBottle Brothers". The phrase has appeared many times in his column in the Sun.

MacKenzie got himself a lot of attention and coverage when he announced he was likely to stand against David Davis in the by-election, but as I write, reports suggest he is having second thoughts. Won't that make him "Bottler MacKenzie"?

Let them eat cake

A gushing item in the Financial Times gossip column celebrates the partying ways of those Reuters executives who have made such a comfortable transition to top jobs under their new Canadian owner, Thomson.

They threw a jolly bash "to congratulate the deal team" and doled out gifts of a drum kit, golf clubs and a Manchester City shirt. "Party-loving chief executive Tom Glocer", it seems, was tanned after a corporate trip to Monaco. This is the same management that insists the jobs of 73 UK journalists must be axed to cut costs.

Martin Dudley explains why he blessed the gay clergymen's relationship exclusively on newstatesman.com

Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University

Brian Cathcart is Director of Hacked Off. He tweets as @BrianCathcart.

This article first appeared in the 23 June 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Truly, madly, politically