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Paper Monitor

12:54 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Groan, sweat, grumble… it's taken Paper Monitor this long just to haul its stash of daily newsprint to the desk, what with all those Budget special editions.

Of course, big financial stories like the Budget can be pretty leaden beasts once you get over the only question that matters: "will I be richer or poorer?"

The papers are naturally wise to this, and tend to add their own raising agent, most obviously in the form a good pun. Respect on this front goes to the Metro for it's very clever: "The Gord giveth… and the Gord taketh away".

The only detraction is the fact the Mail is sporting almost the same headline.

Since both papers reside in the same stable – Associated Newspapers – this is either an example of an editorial efficiency drive (one headline for two papers) or a bit of a cock-up.

The Independent goes down the same avenue of give and take, with "2p or not 2p". Alongside it, the Mirror's "Reasons 2p cheerful" just looks a bit propagandist.

Times readers are invited to don some olde English speechifying (as Stephen Fry is wont to call it) with the "The Twopenny Budget". That's "tu'penny" to those too young to know the difference between a shilling a half crown.

But some moves are just too audacious to be passed off with a pun, and that's clearly the attitude of the Express. "TAX CUT: IT'S JUST A BIG CON". Boo. That's just not trying. Paper Monitor needs humouring. The same goes for the Telegraph's "Brown's tax cut trick".

Of course, when it comes to important matters of all things fiscal, there's only one paper to turn to: the FT. So does the pink paper have a pun, per chance?

Pah! "Tories rap 'con trick as Brown steps out on his road to No 10" is its "killer" headline. That almost qualifies for Paper Monitor's long-running strand headlines-that-are-so-comprehensive-there's-little-point-in-reading-the-story-itself.

But to do the FT justice, there is a bit of play going on here. You see, that line about Brown stepping out on his road to No 10 is under a picture of Brown, well, stepping out on the way past No 10 Downing Street.

And that has paved a pathway between two unemployed synapses in Paper Monitor's mind, sparking the thought: what is that funny door in Downing Street, between numbers 10 and 11 for? (See pic above - No 10 is on the far right and No 11 on the far left, and, no, that's not a subtle political observation).

Its 10-and-a-half-ness has something of the Being John Malkoviches about it. And somewhere down the line, the maintenance man at Downing Street clearly had the cowboy builders in since there's a dirty great iron fence running right in front of the door in question.

In wishing to harvest the collective knowledge of the interweb, Paper Monitor is making its "COMMENTS" button available to all. If you think you know what that door is for, send your answers using the button immediately below.


  1. At 01:09 PM on 22 Mar 2007, Ainy wrote:

    Ministry of Magic employees can simply Apparate into the office--why ever would they need a walkway?

  2. At 01:13 PM on 22 Mar 2007, K Walker wrote:

    It's the Gateway to Narnia. However, fuel duty will be charged.

  3. At 01:14 PM on 22 Mar 2007, Ruaraidh Gillies wrote:

    It's well-known that No.10 has no handle on the outside: it can only be opened from the inside. Maybe this door is how you get in when the building's empty?

  4. At 01:24 PM on 22 Mar 2007, Rosie wrote:

    According to Yes Prime Minister, No 10 is a massive warren inside and not the tidy town house it looks like. So the door probably leads to some other part of it and the railings were probably put across the door at the same time as Downing Street was fenced off for security reasons. Or is all that too sensible?

  5. At 01:26 PM on 22 Mar 2007, John Whapshott wrote:

    It's another door for Number 10, as Blair can't decide whether he's coming or going (the latter, I hope!).

  6. At 01:31 PM on 22 Mar 2007, Caroline, Southend, UK wrote:

    The railings are there for suffragettes to chain themselves to.

  7. At 01:33 PM on 22 Mar 2007, Michelle wrote:

    Obviously it's the secret entrance to an underground lair filled with ex-prime ministers, training to be superheroes, ready to burst out and save the world, Thunderbirds style, when the appropiate day comes. I bet they've got a rocket down there, and No 10 just splits down the middle to let it launch

  8. At 01:35 PM on 22 Mar 2007, zed wrote:

    That's the door to the Mrs Rochester Suite, wherein mad old former leaders are entombed.

  9. At 01:52 PM on 22 Mar 2007, Grace wrote:

    Didn't Dangermouse and Penfold live at Number 10 and a half?

  10. At 02:03 PM on 22 Mar 2007, Bunny wrote:

    It's the equivalent of Platform nine and a half, but this just leads to Hogwash.

  11. At 02:25 PM on 22 Mar 2007, J. Bond, London wrote:

    I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you.

This post is closed to new comments.

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