Martin Lewis MSE: genius or dufus?

What is MSE? Money Saving Expert of course. Come on if you don’t know who Martin Lewis is where have you been hiding? The man is simply ubiquitous. His bio on his own site leaves you in no doubt what Martin is: “award-winning campaigning TV and radio presenter, newspaper columnist, author and, according to Google, the most searched-for British man” and he also self-labels himself “an ultra-specialised journalist”. Just in case you still don’t know this is his bio picture, I watched him on TV last night looking a lot like this:


I am always in awe of the man’s knowledge about his subject. Not only does he know more about what he knows about than anyone else, but he actually has made it more accessible to millions of people, he has definitely made it interesting, he has undoubtedly forced The Corporation to be less opaque in various debates and, as a result, he has made himself unbelievably wealthy. Knowledge is power as they say.

So how could I possibly ask that question: genius or dufus?  Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, only talks about what he knows about. Which means he doesn’t talk about Heating OIL – other than the cursory superficial response when asked about it – because he knows almost nothing about it. And why would he? It doesn’t fit with his business model. There are not enough millions at stake in this debate, so it has simply not been worth his while to gain any knowledge in it what so ever. Did I say millions? I don’t mean money. I mean viewers, listeners, hits on his site. Which means no TV show, no newspaper articles, no suppliers sponsoring the site for non-partisan paid for click-throughs. Oh I suppose I did mean money too! So when I knew that MSE was publishing a page about Heating OIL I knew, even before I took a cursory glance, what it was going to be: misinformed. However, what I didn’t expect was how utterly appalling the page would be…I haven’t got time to cover the 20 or so major issues right now, but I will.

So dufus or not? The page went live this week. Martin clearly hasn’t read it. Strange, he gives me the impression that he would be the type of Editor-in-Chief that would not let a single word be published without him pouring over it for sense, accuracy, oh I don’t know maybe spelling! But no he couldn’t possibly have read it, because it doesn’t make sense and there are typos. Now, as unforgivable as some may find that, what is the most disturbing issue is that it isn’t accurate, it is out of date, it doesn’t enlighten and it is a long way short of the genius I saw on TV last night. But that is because this is not Martin’s subject and this is one topic you simply cannot dip your toe in and make yourself out to be the expert.

When my organisation makes mistakes – and we make plenty – not only do I feel like a dufus, I happily take the heat for it no matter what because, after all, I am the “editor-in-chief”. So with that in mind, Martin, if I were you right now I would be pulling the page, writing a major apology to those that stopped by, took the advice and ended up buying Heating OIL in the misinformed way you’ve steered them and get back to what you know more about than anyone else: the genius bit.

I am going to take a wild guess that this is very unlikely to happen.

Very happy for others to come and tell me why they think I am the dufus: 

PS Check this out and see what was wrong with the very first sentence: