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Paper Monitor

10:53 UK time, Thursday, 11 January 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

"One morning a little rabbit sat on a bank…" Hard news it ain't, but who needs newspapers when you've got the Tale of Benjamin Bunny as a free giveaway from the Daily Telegraph. That said, Paper Monitor is smarting from the unhappy discovery that its local WH Smith, from which copies of said Beatrix Potter classic can be obtained in exchange for a token printed in today's Telegraph, isn't actually stocking the giveaway. Sniff.

So while Benjamin is no doubt merrily vegetable scrumping in a parallel universe, Paper Monitor will have to make do with reading about over-zealous Mr McGregor-style authority figures of the real world. There's Tony Blair and his road pricing plan, which the Telegraph has launched a campaign against, and then there's the Atlanta police force…

The Telegraph, along with other papers, details the traumatic experiences of a distinguished British historian who, while attending a conference in the state of Georgia, fell foul of jaywalking laws and found himself cuffed and at the feet of a clutch of disapproving cops. It was, by the historian's rather eloquent account, an unsettling episode.

But with no jaywalking laws in the UK, it is, at least, a nice antidote to the paper's ever-weary view of Britain becoming an "intrusive and meddlesome" (according to today's leader) state, as opposed to, say, the libertarian sway of somewhere like the US.

And that academic ought, perhaps, to be thankful he didn't suffer the same fate as Benjamin Bunny, who, readers may recall, was given a whipping by his father. Now that would surely be banned in Blair's Britain.

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