There are lots of good reasons for reading The Guardian newspaper. The typos are legendary, earning it the nickname of The Grauniad, and I was quite disappointed not to bag any in yesterday’s edition. Still, I have the notice I read in an estate agent’s window in Castlewellan advertising a property for sale with ‘oil fried central heating’ to keep me going.
It’s a serious paper with a light touch, and today I snorted and chortled through the bits of yesterday’s news I hadn’t got around to by bedtime last night. If you had told me at breakfast that a story about debt collectors would have made me smile, I’d have shaken my head, but this firm is far away from the heavies with baseball bats intimidating people who have nothing and no means of repayment. I like their style. Click here and see for yourself.
I don’t know if Simon Hoggart is on twitter, but he sounds as though he’d love hashtagging. Here are some ideas from his readers for place names in songs: I’m in the Mood for Danzig, Sexual Ealing, Clissold Park of Mine. I love Simon Hoggart and hope he goes on writing into his nineties. Like some other good people he has appeared on, and also for a while chaired, The News Quiz. Sandi Toksvig, the current chair, was telling a story about the late Alan Coren, one time editor of Punch and a News Quiz regular. For his birthday she paid for him to have golf lessons. The gift wasn’t a success. “Those bunkers,” he said, “no wonder Hitler died in one.”
That story wasn’t in The Guardian, just in case you look.
Andy Burnham seemed politically dull when in office. I warmed to him at the Reader Organisation Conference. He seemed possessed of wit and humour, and that trait conspicuously lacking in our career politicians, spontaneity. A quick aside, but wouldn’t Norman, StJohn (Singeon) and Stevas be great names for a trio of cats? There’s no one irreverent like NSS around these days. I have warmed to Mr Burnham a lot more in the last couple of days. His comments about the culture of professional politicians and how all the parties “scrabble over a bit of centre ground with micropolicies that are designed to create a little couple of days’ headlines and create a feeling, but not change much else” chimes with what I have observed. No politician is prepared to stick his or her neck out for change when it might mean losing an election. I also like his idea to integrate social care into the NHS, making care of the elderly free at the point of use and universally available. The interview with him cheered me. He seems an honest politician, and we could do with more of those.
I had a religious upbringing, so the headline of Marina Hyde’s comment piece made my eyebrows jump. The Gospel According to David Cameron. Jesus wept However, the cartoon of Cameron encouraged me to read, and I am glad I did. Cameron is the sort of politician, shiny, smooth tongued, photo-opportunistic, who gives politics a bad name. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one. Why have conviction when all you want is power? So thank goodness, and the Guardian, for taking him seriously enough to include pieces like this that make you laugh as you wince.