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Paper Monitor

10:21 UK time, Wednesday, 2 January 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Former Guardian editor CP Scott once said “comment is free, but facts are sacred”, but he would have had to revise his assertion on the basis of the newspapers from Christmas Eve through to now.

Perhaps he might now opt for “comment is cheap, but as far as free goes you don’t get better than a retrospective”.

Obviously the Magazine has brought you a retrospective or two, and many a newspaper has been tempted by a year in pictures, but the Guardian has perhaps taken it a step further. With a retrospective of the decade. At the beginning of 2008. So two years still to go.

And the defining themes of the “noughties”? The normalisation of the internet, iPods, 11 September, Tony Blair, global warming and the Big Brother TV show. Aha, it’s all becoming clear now. All the things you would have guessed were the defining themes of the past decade, if you were given 30 seconds to think about it, they are actually the defining themes. Phew.

The Daily Telegraph is at the same thing. They have a two-page piece about “The 20 years that changed my life… and the face of modern Britain”. It’s not even the past 20 years. It’s 1970 to 1990. And the topics are the IRA, punk, John Lennon’s death, Margaret Thatcher’s election, Live Aid, Aids, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the poll tax and yuppies. Why those years? Aside from being formative in the life of your stereotypical Telegraph reader (a baby-boomer and all that entails, see list above), the paper is giving away a series of DVDs charting the period.

But while some newspapers are still taking stock of years past, the Daily Mail is back to business on the first working day of the year.

North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom has apparently suggested that ecstasy is no more dangerous than aspirin. And he has detonated a small bomb of indignation at the Mail. He’s not the most popular person in that parish anyway, with his love of speed cameras and antics including breaking into his own headquarters.

But there is worse to come, as the factbox headlined “ONE BLUNDER AFTER ANOTHER” lambasts him for being someone who “took pleasure in being named an honorary druid”.

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells will not be happy.

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