Published On: Sun, Jul 8th, 2012

In Today’s News…

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This evening, I was incomparably delighted as I was able to exchange an unwanted egg on an All Day Breakfast for two extra slices of bacon. Two! So there they were, those little streaks of piggy joy, slithering across the plate, dipping their toes in beans, nudging against their brethren sausage. Of course, the downside to four slices of (salty) bacon is the thirst that follows after; the kind of thirst that creeps up on you, first tickling the back of your throat, before stamping up through your mouth and into your head until you are lying on the floor rocking, arms flailing and stomach heaving.

As you make the long, arduous journey to the tap, and a drop, a trickle, a torrent of water comes flooding forth, your glass smashes into the metal and at last you have a panacea for all those ailments so afflicting you. The sense of sheer, unadulterated joy that accompanies those first gulps is matched by only one other feeling in this world: that experienced by a Daily Mail writer, every evening, at a job well done on thoroughly polluting the mind of every poor, mortal, impressionable reader.

Imbibed with bacon goodness, I decided to undertake a small project to wile away the evening hours, in the light of a comment on Radio 4 the other day that people aren’t reading papers, and if they are, then they’re most likely not ‘proper’ ones.  I would have a cursory glance at the articles on the Daily Mail website for the evening of July 4th and see what exciting titbits of knowledge I would acquire. Four illuminating articles caught my eye.

Reporters must have been dancing through the offices when the Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton, came out and commented that political correctness should not get in the way of police investigations into sex crimes. Of course, whilst he remarked that the majority of child sex offenders in jail are white middle-aged men, the article did not fail to mention that “all but one of the [Rochdale] gang were Pakistani” and the reader is left with a really valuable message: the politically correct police really shouldn’t let the ‘ethnic’ sex criminals get away with it anymore, we’re watching you!

On a lighter note, tears of pride stung my eyes as I learnt that I am amongst the 33% of Brits who love to have a “sparkling clean oven and hob.” I must admit I am a new convert, being thoroughly impressed by Homepride Ovenpride’s remarkable value set, called into action to undo a whole year’s worth of ferocious cooking. Those tears began to fall as I read that I am also one of the 40% who remove their shoes to preserve the carpet. This is top news and I’m glad that time was taken to recognise hygiene warriors like me.

Next, I was intrigued by an article suggesting that unemployed new graduates should adjust their expectations. It seemed fair enough, given competition for jobs and the like, until the following words started jabbing into my eyeballs: “The German slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” is somewhat tainted by its connection with Nazi concentration camps, but its essential message, “work sets you free” still has something serious to commend it.” When the writer sat down to concoct this piece, it is questionable when such a reference ever seemed like a good idea. “Somewhat tainted” is an understatement on the scale of ‘Barclay’s management may have made a little error’, but I object more to the thought that with my degree over, I must now embark on any work to obtain some kind of freedom. The idea of investing considerable effort and money into a degree is to increase one’s freedom and liberty to choose a career which would make best use of the skills acquired (at the expense of the taxpayer).

Finally – and front page news – was the plight of a café owner fearing the loss of everything after being sued by a gas man who slipped, fell and broke two ribs on a wet floor whilst reading her meter. This is the fruit and vegetables in the Daily Mail diet. The man was awarded £2000 in an out of court settlement, but legal fees have run up to some £30000. By the end of the comments, we know that lawyers are leeches and Britain needs to be reclaimed from these parasites.

Also in the news tonight, but not worthy of a front page slot: gunman kills four in German siege, NATO soldiers shot in Afghanistan, Pakistani mob burns blasphemer.

None of this is surprising. In fact, the reader got off lightly today and I dare say some writers won’t be having that water-after-bacon feeling this evening. Must try harder. Although, even a cursory glance is enough to send shivers spinning down the spine. Britain’s second biggest-selling daily.

At least I read so-called proper papers. In fact, I have an even more reputable method of learning about the world: ignore all news, catch up on the important bits on Wikipedia two weeks later.

About the Author

- Rob is a Master's student at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He's worked or researched in nine different developing countries and is soon to head to South Sudan to research development of the new secondary education curriculum.