Sunday, September 19, 2010


Julian Williams and Shub Niggurath co-author a guest post over at Bishop Hill, taking on George Monbiot and his defence of the tainted Pachauri – all under the title "George Monbiot: scrubbing the record clean".

Meanwhile, just in case you are wondering, the Press Complaints Commission complaint against Monbiot, The Guardian and The Sunday Times proceeds apace. All the preliminaries have been dealt with and there has been a robust "exchange of views". Now, the issue is scheduled to go to the full panel of newspaper editors for adjudication during their next meeting in October.

Speaking of The Sunday Times, it having retreated behind its paywall, I have stopped reading it on-line, but have still been buying the print edition. So strapped is Mr Murdoch for cash, however, that the price has gone up today by 20p, to £2.20.

Reading the wartime newspapers – as one does – one sees that the 1940 Observer (pictured) was a mere twopence in old money – less than one penny in new. As a totally unscientific rule of thumb, to get current prices you multiply by 100, which should put the price of a Sunday newspaper at under £1 a copy.

Effectively, the price has more than doubled – but are we getting double the value? For sure, there are all the supplements and the magazines, but I never read those anyway. They go straight in the bin.

That leaves me paying £2.20 for a newspaper (£114.40 a year) but, when you compare then and now, you find that the 1940 editions had far more news – about 40 stories per page. This compares with four on the current front page of The Sunday Times and less on most of the rest of the pages. Furthermore, most stories would not actually qualify as news – and I really don't want four pages on the Pope, plus the front page lead.

Clearly, the time has come for a parting of the ways. Internet news, plus a small selection of good blogs is enough to keep informed. The rest can go hang, although I suspect Mr Murdoch will not be losing any sleep at my rejection of his products.