Media Round Up
Sometimes one feels that political correspondents should get out of the Westminster hothouse and inhale the oxygen of reality.
Simon Heffer in The Spectator wants William Hague as the next Conservative leader. One of the reasons is that "he has a persona to which the public has warmed."
They have warmed to his persona when he chairs Have I Got News For You and he takes the piss out of himself and the disaster of his last spell as Tory leader. The British like nothing better than an oddball loser with a self-deprecating sense of humour. It doesn't mean they want him as Prime Minister.
Then on Sunday, Alan Watkins in The Independent (I used to read him as a teenager so he must be about 90 now) writes that Boris Johnson "is one of the most popular politicians in the country."
No, Mr Watkins. He's one of the most popular comic characters in the country. Almost nobody wants him running the bloody country. For Christ's sake, most people wouldn't trust Boris to post a letter for them.
'Oh crikey, I'm awfully sorry, I think I wrote the agenda for the Spectator editorial meeting on the back of the envelope.....er.....er....hang on.....I put it in my pocket.....er......oh gosh.....must have fallen out my Bermuda shorts when I was jogging.......we could go to Holland Park and look for it......there wasn't a postal order in it, was there......some little oik will have nicked it.......crikey......awfully bad luck and all that......'
Meanwhile, Christina Odone in The Observer bemoaned the credulity and gullibility of so many people today and their readiness to believe in all kinds of irrational tosh. Quite right too.
But hang on. Isn't Ms Odone one of the country's leading lay Catholics and a former Editor of The Tablet? So she believes in.......all kinds of irrational tosh.
The religious right tend to believe that the road to Hell is lined with the godless scumbags who control our media. So it's worth reading yesterday's Media Guardian article* on the Christians who currently sit at the top of the BBC and Channel 4 and control many of our national papers.
Phew, that's a relief. It meant that last week C4 viewers could enjoy a repeat of Animal Passions, which included a woman who had sex with her labrador.
For there's one thing you can always be sure of with Christian capitalists. When there's a conflict, Mammon will always triumph over God. And there will always be a convenient verse from the Book Of Contradictions to justify it. "Render unto Caesar.....etc". Yawn.
In the same article, the current Editor of The Tablet, Catherine Pepinster. was greatly cheered by the "incredible interest" in the death of the Pope, an event charted minute by minute on the 24 hour news channels.
Er, slight logical error here, Ms PepsiMinster. Commonly known as post hoc ergo propter hoc. You are assuming that the latter (24 hour coverage) was a response to the former (incredible interest). The reality is that people across the land were tearing their hair out in frustration and the BBC received hundreds of complaints about the excessive coverage. It was a frustration and anger that was well chronicled in this and thousands of other blogs around the world.
On last week's Question Time, a member of the audience said that the Government wouldn't dare stop people in prisons from smoking. "That's not true!" said Peter Hain, the Minister for Tanning Parlours.
This is what happens in Governments' third terms. Ministers become smug, lazy and complacent. The proposed legislation on banning smoking in enclosed public places does specifically exclude prisons.
It means that prisoners will lose the right of everyone else to vote in an election. But they will gain the right, denied to everyone else, to smoke in an enclosed place. I bet most of them will be more than happy with that.
The other interesting consequence might be that if you were sent to prison for persistently flouting the smoking ban or refusing to pay the fine, you would gain the right to do the very thing for which you had been sentenced to prison.
It's rather as though, if the Michael Jackson verdict had gone the other way, he would have been allowed to sleep with the Prison Governor's son.
"I think I have lost a lot of my gay fans to Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson. It is a shame as I really love them."
Don't worry, David. I Googled for young Henson and he looks to me like a hamster who's got his balls caught in his spinning wheel.
And that hairstyle is so last century.
We still love you, David, if only because if we accidentally wandered into the dressing room you'd never say "Who are you looking at?" and punch us in the mouth.