This not a mean-spirited country. I walked one night last week, for hours, up and down the lovely, wearying streets of Durham, in the company of vast crowds, come for the first night of a splendid city-wide son et lumiere display, and the mood was of what we keep being told is a lost age: courteous, happy, thoughtful, sharing, be it the older tourists, the rather posh students in Paddington scarves or the mad, young, frozen, local souls in cut-off vests and missing skirts. It could have been VE Day. It could have been the spirit of the Blitz.Blimey! What spoils this paradise, then?
And then I remembered that, in the morning, I'd have to look, again, at some newspapers, and my heart sank.Couldn't you switch on the radio instead? Do a bit of gardening, perhaps?
It seems, according to Euan, that it's the fault of the tabloids that Gordon Brown is being hounded for his incompetent handling of 'Lettergate'.
And if not for the tabloids whipping up a storm of outrage over Baby Peter, Sharon Shoesmith would be greeted with garlands and flowers by an adoring public, and encourages to stay on as the herad of a shambolic, failing social services. Hell, if not for the 'Sun' and 'Mirror' casting their malign spell, no-one would think there was anything wrong at all in her refusal to accept responsibility for her staff.
'Go ahead', they'd say', 'there's plenty more children where that one came from, it's not like they are giant pandas, or something...'
Oh, and my personal favourite, it's the fault of the tabloids that our MPs are seen as corrupt, troughing scum. Rather than because we can all see that they are mostly corrupt, troughing scum:
Here's another. The ongoing MPs' expenses row, which is becoming faintly farcical.It started farcical, Euan. It's become criminal. All the tabloids did was expose it...
What this all has in common is that the agenda is being set by our morning newspapers. (And who said newspapers were dead, by the way: I can't remember a year in which they've been more influential, for both good and ill). This is not new. What is different is that government is now letting them do it.Well, we have a free press, Euan. They can't stop them. Yet...
I'm not saying we want to go back to the days when government simply sneered at us...I'm sorry, Euan? When did they stop, exactly?
It is time, surely, for someone with a backbone in government to stand up, occasionally, and say, oh, grow up, it's not a story.If you are looking for someone with a backbone, I'd not start that search in Parliament, Euan...
But it would be nice to see them try the 'Oh, shut up, it's not a story' line. Yes, that'd make the tabloids slink away like Dracula confronted by a crucifix, wouldn't it? Sure to work, that one.
And stop being terrified of the judgment of a gaggle of hacks, pretending oh so disingenuously to reflect the "mood" in the "saloon bars" of middle England. It's not a saloon bar I've ever been in.And there's the rub, eh, Euan? Perhaps you haven't been in enough of them to tell...
It was a mistake teaching people to read. We should go back to stained-glass windows and the bible available only in Latin and then only to priests.
Aye, them's were the days.
WOAR... You only need to give the educational theorists and the NUT a little more time.
They're working on national illiteracy as fast as they can.
I have a short post for people like Euan
That is all.
'Perhaps you haven't been in enough of them to tell...'
Euan Ferguson seems to be competing with Johann Hari for his crown as wet-behind-the-ears-journo-twat-of the-year.
Intersting that comments aren't welcomed there. Wonder why?
"It was a mistake teaching people to read."
As Pogo pointed out, that's a situation being remedied fast!
"Intersting that comments aren't welcomed there. "
That's 'CiF' for you. Comment is a bit too free for their liking, sometimes...
Euan sounds like the sort of bloke that frequents wine bars and coffee shops rather than saloon bars. Perhaps in the saloon bars he does frequent the conversation is more hair care products than state of the nation.
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