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Paper Monitor

11:21 UK time, Thursday, 3 January 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

All those "Happy New Years" your family, friends, colleagues, drunken revellers, call centre staff and other extraneous folk have been wishing you... what material good do they actually do?

One might hope that at the very least, the expression might induce a sort of general positive karma among the population as a whole. For want of a scientific expression, let's just call it a "good vibe".

But such hopes are well and truly skewered by the tone of today's papers, which are wallowing in a sort of front page misery fest.

Oil price threatens to choke economy – the Times.
Big council tax rises on the way – the Express.
Rovers Return set to be axed – the Star.

Then comes the Telegraph with this clunking fist of a downer – "GPs urge millions hit by bug to stay at home".

Yes folks, nature has truly gone nuts, to purloin a headline from yesterday's Daily Mail. First it was daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus) and purple-sprouting broccoli (Brassica pupulus) blooming early, now it’s the turn of the norovirus aka vomitus bugus.

The Telegraph tells us the "norovirus season" – there's a norovirus season?! – began a month early, in October. Now it seems the tummy bug is sweeping the country big style and is so infectious that sufferers are advised to stay at home for 48 hours and not even go to the doctor's surgery, for fear they might pass it on. Paper Monitor will studiously ignore the wag at this morning's news conference who piped up that it "sounds like the perfect illness".

Having already suffered its, er, seasonal, bout of the bug (in mid-December), Paper Monitor can assure all readers there's nothing perfect about it.

But what's really depressing Paper Monitor is the story on the front of today's Daily Mail: "Clarkson for PM!" So this column is to be regenerated Doctor Who-style into a ranting, lunatic petrol-head. What next, Richard Hammond takes on "Your Letters" and James May pilots the return of the Caption Competition?

For fear you find a pair of stonewashed 501s in this seat tomorrow, can the current incarnation of Paper Monitor take this opportunity to wish one and all a happy New Year, for all the good it's worth.

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