Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Not worth reading

My father had a book called Not Worth Reading. I've never read it. Not much has caught my eye in the British press today. Better luck soon I hope.

The Daily Mail’s comment column tries to cheer its readers up by telling them how awful the NHS is. As is usual in this sort of piece it suggests that NHS=hospitals and goes on to list a number of their supposed shortcomings. It challenges us to find a hospital at which you won’t catch MRSA as soon as you walk in or one where operations haven’t been cut to save cash. The final challenge is "would anyone claim patients are getting their money's worth...?". Well, to judge by the letters page of our local paper, quite a lot of patients would. In the next section the writer takes a swipe at the BBC and the EU in the same sentence. The result of Radio 4’s Today daft "who runs Britain" poll provides the excuse apparently proving that, in spite of all the "unrelenting diet of right-on liberal posturing" its listeners can still see that the EU is really a conspiracy to bring Britain to its knees. It’s great being a journalist, if the poll had produced a result the Mail didn’t like they could have ignored it or banged on about the slackness of its voting procedures but as it is they can take the result as gospel.

David Cameron still gives writers plenty to chew over. Ross Clark uses the Thunderer column in the Times to urge him away from consensus politics and return to "verbal bare-knuckle fights" which is what Mr Clark believes we pay our MPs to produce. Polly Toynbee urges Labour to embrace the Cameron manifesto published in press advertisements over the weekend but fails to notice how easy it is to talk about reform but how much harder is the real delivery. She notes with glee that "the Daily Mail's Melanie Phillips shrieks in pain" as Mr Cameron has left "millions of natural conservatives effectively disenfranchised". I don’t believe Polly when she writes that "Labour is in a state of shock". I think it is (or should be) watching with interest and remembering that the next general election is more than forty months away. Plenty of time yet for the Tebbit-tendency to reassert itself.

Richard Morrison's piece in T2 about Sexual equality looks as if it's going to be interesting but isn't. He seems primarily concerned that men have lost "a sense of purpose and self-esteem" as a result of the "sexual-equality revolution". Speak for yourself Dickie.

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