I was waiting for my electric car to charge (shut up, Virginia) yesterday, so I passed the time by ambling into the service station and checking out the Sunday papers. Even though it now costs nearly THREE QUID, on an impulse I bought The Sunday Times.
Here’s how old I am: I remember when The Sunday Times was a respected paper. Now, like most newspapers only more so, its falling sales are forcing it into ever-more tabloid-type features.
How about for a headline on p 2: ‘Johnson must mind his tongue, says Varadkar ahead of meeting’. Wow, I thought. Leo has gone a bit mad. Then I read the piece and the most provocative thing Leo said was “The Dail is not always an example of virtue and there are plenty of nonsensical spates of behaviour, but I don’t think a Taoiseach would call somebody a big girl’s blouse. It’s just not what you expect from the mother of all parliaments.”
But hey – what’s the harm in bending the truth if it gets a few more readers.
Or try this headline from that once-big-man-about-the-BBC Rod Liddle : ‘You think this is bad? Wait until Labour’s loonies have power over your lives”. His message is Boris may be a bull in a nursery but worse is waiting if Labour win power. “Good times are not just around the corner. Very bad times are lurking around the corner, waiting to kick your head in, steal your phone and march you, at knifepoint, to a cash mashine.” In other words, Labour may implement some policies Rod doesn’t like. How to analyse these? Like this:
“The nights are drawing in, there is a chill in the air and one day not too far off you will wake up to find that Jabba the Hutt – Emily Thornberry, to use her earthly alias – is our foreign secretary and Magic Grandpa is running the country. Almost certainly with the help of the lib Dems and those thin-lipped, pompous Picts from the SNP. You think now is bad? Wait until Diane Abbott nd John McDonnell have power over your lives.”
All of which reminds me of Maggie Thatcher. Because just as she created a diversion by her Malvinas project and voters forgot what she was doing to their lives, so Liddle is intent on getting the image of Labour as the ultimate villains firmly into people’s heads, so that even though the Tories have given the UK years of austerity and hardship, and are now doing their damnedest to send the UK economy hurtling into the pit, having Labour replace them would be infinitely worse. Hence the knife and the ATM and the thin-lipped Picts.
I’ll say one thing for my present wife. The Sunday Times was in the house all of five minutes when she spotted it and put it in the bin in the garage. Luckily I knew where to retrieve it, so I could share this quality journalism with you.