And in local news…

I finally resolved, to something approaching my satisfaction, the thorny question of what – if any – newspaper I should take. Easy, I hear the round spectacled, tweedy, hushpuppy corduroy left pronounce “it has to be the Guardian. On the face of it they are right and I can’t think of a rational reason not to. But somehow I find I bridle against the worthiness of its work. You can take just so much honesty and integrity!

Consistently on message, more WOKE than awake, and with its pronouns plump and perfect, somehow it fails to engage me. My father took the Telegraph all his life, occasionally reading aloud choice morsels from Max Hastings’ poison plume at the breakfast table for his children’s wider learning.A competent historian but of too vicious mien to arouse my interest.

How about the red tops?

Moving on…

I grew up in the heyday of the World Service, that last broadcast bastion of British imperialist influence. As the sun set over the Empire of Victoria and Albert, the World Service reassured us that all was well, that British athletes and sportsmen were still the best in the world, albeit at fewer sports and less often. The British officer class ensured, in far-flung African villages and far eastern jungles, that there was always gin and tonic at six. Black tie or regimental colours naturally. With polished accents and gentle manners, to the clink of glasses and a chorus of cicadas, it was still the same old Raj and her Majesty would still tuck us into bed at night after our bedtime story.

While building the notorious bridge over the river Kwai, one new arrival, on recognising a former school prefect, asked him about conditions in the camp. “On the whole, not as bad as Marlborough”.

I’m not really sure where I am going with this little rose tinted imperialist nonsense. I suppose the point I am trying to get across is that a newspaper is not just a vehicle for information. A successful newspaper will often sacrifice confusing detail for clarifying editorial, ditching inconveniences as needed to paint broad brushstrokes rather than journalistic pointillism. Often we don’t want to read the detail. Perhaps we cannot handle it, the notion that some of the facts simply do not match the interpretation.

For the most part the news is groovy. I do love dictation software and its occasional infelicities. That last sentence should have read gloomy not groovy. The news is emphatically not groovy at the moment with Pres Putin in the process of sending some 200,000 “peacekeepers and voting advisers” into the Ukraine. How exactly does a tank with a huge gun keep the peace? And when might that gun be used? Parking offences? Incorrect use of roundabouts? Loud music?

No, enough is enough. I can see why people withdraw back into their houses, pull up drawbridges and sit there surrounded by tinned food. The news is as relentless as it is depressing. So I’m going to read only local news from now on. It has the advantage of being largely devoid of the snouts-in-trough antics of our elected parliamentarians.

This week two pairs of underpants were missing from a garden washing line in Rusthall. The owner of said underpants is said to be “disgusted” that the police took all of 11 hours to investigate this crime.

A cat called Tobermory from Uckfield is a recordbreaker! Tipping the scales at a little over 6kg is, to his owner’s great pride, now officially the heaviest cat in Uckfield. His owner, Sylvia Sturt, has to be a better than evens bet for the human equivalent title.

Dwayne Fawcett and Luke Perry were cautioned by police in Tonbridge for using public toilets in a burger bar without buying food. “I only wanted a McPoo” said Luke, 18.

I could go on…