Newspaper, Anyone?

As we are all such good chums, I feel I can admit to doing something I am deeply ashamed of. When I stopped for coffee at the services just outside Swansea on the way back to the Ferry Port, *whispers* I ended up reading the Daily Mail.

Briefly for foreigners; the Mail and the Express are the two papers which attempt to bridge the gap between broadsheet and tabloid. Thus they contain Serious News stories, such as the fine details of Guy and Madonna’s imminent divorce, as well as more light-hearted stories about the destruction of the world economy.
Please feel free to begin accusing me of intellectual snobbery… now.

I haven’t actually read the Mail regularly since I was a checkout monkey at Tesco. They didn’t put the broadsheets in the canteen for staff consumption. I would normally make a trenchant observation here but they were actually a good employer who ran a tight ship. This is not true of Tesco Ireland. Tesco Ireland is rubbish.
The problem I have with the Mail is its Middle Britain sensibilities. It ran an add campaign a couple of years ago trying to show it represented the ordinary Briton who worked hard and paid their taxes. I would hate to think of Britain as a nation of Daily Mail readers, I really would. At least the tabloids don’t take themselves seriously. The Daily Mail is like a tabloid that does.
To give you an example of what I mean, take one story I read in the paper on Monday.
Jeremy Clarkson was seen riding a motorcycle.
To understand why this is apparently relevant, the paper reminded us how outspoken Clarkson has been about motorcycles in the past. *gasp* He’s gone back on everything he said about them and is riding one! Good heavens! Watch out for the wolf eating the sun, chaps!
Now. I have a lot of respect for Jeremy Clarkson. He has always struck me as a bit of a grafter who clearly knows his stuff. I like his apparent integrity. If he ever turns out to be a shallow, lazy dolt I shall endeavour to hire his PR team immediately. If he wants to ride a motorcycle then he should be able to do so without a national newspaper smugly pointing out the disingenuously of the event or implying that he, or anybody else, should not be allowed to do something they have been vocal against in the past.
I am incredibly vocal against aubergines. If I should be struck with a blunt object and subsequently decide they are what I need to complete my future happiness, I hope nobody will feel the need to lecture me on the matter. Ditto gastric bands. I am really regretting all that Ikea cake.

Anyway. Yesterday was the budget over here. They normally have it at the end of the year but because they suddenly realised a couple of months ago that they actually didn’t have any money, the Brians decided to bring it forward. I bought a copy of the Irish Times so I could find out how much it was going to cost me. They keep the Irish tradition of inserting random photographs where they happen to have a gap so there was a picture of The Stig next to the grammatically confusing headline about job losses in Waterford and Kildare. Then again, maybe they know something about him that we don’t.
Petrol is up 8c a litre. VAT is up half a percent to 21.5%. It’s something like 50c on a bottle of wine and on 20 fags. €200 tax on second homes (although how they intend to track these down I don’t know. There aren’t actual addresses in rural Ireland. The only person who knows who lives where is the postie.). Income tax has increased either 1 or 2 percent depending on your income except they aren’t calling it Income tax. They have also incurred the wrath of the EU for borrowing more than the agreed percentage of the GDP.

They have also cut the amount of money being given to road safety. It would be nice to think this was going to be put into mental health services and suicide prevention instead but it isn’t.