- Identity pundit: someone like Gary Younge or Julie Bindel for whom every issue is addressed through the prism of identity politics. This has the great advantage of rendering much of the criticism directed against them as invalid because it is from people who are the wrong colour, have the wrong genitals or want to sleep with the wrong people.
- Trustafarian Radical: Someone who is from an absurdly privileged background who compensates by taking radical stances to an extreme level presumably due to unresolved Daddy issues. They can be nice (George Monbiot) or nasty (Seamus Milne) but one thing they will always be, is extremely silly.
- Party Harpy- Middle aged women with an iron clad loyalty to the Labour Party, fond of making bold predictions and wish fulfilment fantasies. Usually insert calls to action which are widely ignored. Polly Toynbee and Jackie Ashley fill this slot.
- Olympian God- Someone who is so assured at their own righteousness and sensible outlook that they issue columns like Delphic prophecies that aren't meant to be questioned by lesser mortals. The late Hugo Young is the best example of this although Michael White and Timothy Garton Ash also fit the bill.
- The Hitchens- Someone who makes a living being a professional martyr to the the rest of the left by criticising other elements of the left. Ususally denounces everyone else for selling out the principles of pure liberalism. Nick Cohen is the Observer's resident Hitchens at present.
- Will This Do?- Someone whose job it is to write about anything that pops through their head, preferably tying it to some event in the news. Has nothing to say but insists on saying it anyway. Often convinced of how terribly witty they are but have usually only got the gig through nepotism or sleeping with the editor. Examples include Marina Hyde and anyone whose name is "Coren".
- The Celebrity- Similar to the "Will this do?" merchant but the column is usually even worse unless it's ghost written. Think David Mitchell or Maureen Lipman.
- The Specialist- Someone who knows what they're talking about and who even people like me have to acknowledge are worth reading. Ben Goldacre and the occasional foreign correspondent are the main examples of this.
Howard Jacobson on Manchester
2 minutes ago