Monday, November 07, 2005

Did You Hear The One About Mr David Blunkett, Flame-Haired Rebekah Wade, and Mr David McLetchie? If You Did, Keep It To Yourself

I try, when I can, to avoid contact with journalists, as they are a dour and paranoid breed, and I have all the dour paranoia I can handle at home. However, there is a kind of dark excitement about the best of the hacks, which can make them engaging company.
This afternoon, against my better judgment, I was tempted to Edinburgh, where a contact of mine from the old hot metal days had assured me I would hear something that would make my hair curl. As my hair - and it is almost a singular hair - is kept in position by the daily application of a geyser of Vitalis, I was sceptical, but intrigued, so I made the journey to the Doric Tavern, which is the preferred resting place of the growing band of Scotsman refugees. (Others are to be found in the Halfway House on the aptly-named Fleshmarket Close, but I have not ventured in there since a sports reporter from Scotland on Sunday threatened to serenade me with selections from the songbook of Mr Elton John unless I provided him - the reporter, not Mr John - with a packet of pork scratchings).
Well, my hair did curl. At one point, it curled so much that it could have been described as an "afro". But what did I hear? Well, even here, amid the unlicenced anarchy of the "internut", I am not at liberty to say. But I now know a great deal more about the private affairs of Mr David Blunkett, and I understand certain things about the social diary of the editor of the Sun, whose name appears to be "Flame-haired Rebekah Wade". More intriguingly, the strange affair of Mr David McLetchie's trial by taxi chit has been placed in a context in which his resignation almost makes sense.
Needless to say, m'learned friends have informed me that I may say no more about these matters, and that similar advice will have been issued to the men in green visors who determine what appears in our public prints.
But it does make me wonder. If newsmen have one set of stories which they tell to each other in the snug, and another which they relate to the public, and the two sets of stories barely match, is it any wonder that newspaper circulations are falling more quickly than the skittles at the Sheep's Heid?


Learson said...

You might consider informing an expat journalist like Andrew Sullivan whose email address you may find at if you wish to take this matter further.Also I'm pretty sure Christopher Hitchens, whom I believe is based in the US, would 'publish and be damned'.

Anonymous said...

As you say, the decline and fall of the newspaper is no wonder at all.

Can you relate why this story is under wraps? Is it due to the fearsome powers of the Blunkett in question, or is it that the story was originally obtained from its source under the conditions of secrecy?

berenike said...

mmpphhh. The first time one reads a newspaper's version of a) some events of which one has first-hand knowledge or b)a story in some field of which one has more knowledge than the average Higher pupil, is the first time that one realises the only bit of the paper to correspond even roughly with reality are the columns.