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Paper Monitor

10:30 UK time, Thursday, 29 November 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Vince Cable, the stand-in Lib Dem leader who suddenly wins nothing but plaudits when his younger-looking predecessor earned nothing but ageist parody, is almost the hero of Fleet Street today for saying that Gordon Brown had gone from "Stalin to Mr Bean". One paper even calls him "Killer Cable".

It was the starting gun for a round of name calling for the prime minister.

The Indy's Simon Carr says he is like "John Prescott with a degree in history".

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail says he is "hewn from congealed porridge" (a line which obviously caught Paper Monitor's eye).

The Guardian's Simon Hoggart says it reminded him of a bullfight: "[T]he great beast, tormented by picadors, charging around the ring, lowering his head and bellowing with futile rage and pain".

It certainly does feel a bit like spectator sport, mute inglorious Himmelfarbs notwithstanding. (Still no idea what it means, but it sounds so brainy).

Away from Westminster, Metro expands today's menagerie with an effort of which the little-lamented Punorama would be proud.

"Not tonight, deer - it seems stags can sometimes turn less horny than you might expect, when it comes to affairs of the hart. If you thought the male of any species will have sex with anything, then the male antelope at least bucks the trend."

Four puns in a 44-word stretch. Good work.

Incidentally it's more than 18 months since our "Metropoll" - an unofficial straw poll of Monitor readers about whether to include free newspaper Metro in this little daily celebration.

Happily Paper Monitor had the foresight at that stage to reserve the right to ignore the outcome of the vote, a right it invoked. Heaven knows what Blue Peter-style hoo-ha might have been unleashed without that wise disclaimer.

An executive decision was taken not to include the free paper (though it has on occasion slipped in on merit). But times change - and now there are reports that Metro might overtake the circulation of the Mirror in the next 18 months. So perhaps it's time to reconsider.

Instead of another poll, you are invited to submit comments using the form below as to whether Metro should now be promoted. The most compelling argument might or might not persuade an official change.


  1. At 11:25 AM on 29 Nov 2007, Rob Frith wrote:

    I think the major issue with Metro was not it's lack of price, but rather the fact that it was, in essence, a local paper and including it would lead to the further "Londonification" of the BBC. From my experience the Metro can now be found at stations as far west as Cardiff. What needs to be decided upon is the threshold at which there is sufficient nationwide availabilty of the paper to allow for inclusion in PM. My vote is for 51% of the populus.

  2. At 12:01 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Bas wrote:

    Please don't include the metro. It's the one paper I am pretty much guaranteed to read on the way to work every morning, and it very rarely deserves re-hashing in my working day!

  3. At 12:23 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Silas wrote:

    You don't think that by including the Metro, you're compounding the idea that the BBC is London-centric?
    (As demonstrated by the national coverage of a fire in East London) Or is the Metro now distributed all over the UK?

    I don't care either way as I don't read newspapers anymore. I get my news off the BBC site, some from CNN and some from al-jazeera.

  4. At 12:43 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Andy wrote:

    I'm in 2 minds with this one. Part of me says don't include it as it's effectively a re-hash of the Mail anyway, but another part thinks do include it as this will hopefully mean that less people will feel the need to pick one up in the morning and then promptly LEAVE IT LYING AROUND LITTERING THE TUBE TRAINS

  5. At 01:09 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Phil, Cardiff wrote:

    Will this promotion result in another paper's relegation?

  6. At 01:34 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Keith wrote:

    A truly awful rag which is so bad that copies are left strewn all over tube carriages. To those of you that actually read the thing: please put it in the bin where it belongs!

  7. At 01:37 PM on 29 Nov 2007, grumpyoneuk wrote:

    I vote against PM including review of "Metro" items - why? well, it's not a national publication and even in our great Metropolis it's only available to Commuters (and not all commuters either). Going into "Weakest Link" mode - how many people outside London think that the "Metro" is the underground rail system in Paris? Goodbye!

  8. At 02:18 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Nick wrote:

    I think a passing reference every now and then suffices. The Metro is not one paper, different versions for different areas are produced and is different in each location.

    From their website:

    Metro is distributed in Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Wolverhampton and York

  9. At 02:20 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Ed wrote:

    Include The Metro. I live in an area that doesn't get it, and not only does your including it mean I don't need to watch Eastenders to find out what life in London is really like, it also helps me know what was in the Evening Standard the previous day.

  10. At 02:20 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Adam wrote:

    If you're going to include the Metro, please include other regional papers like the EDP. Much better news quality in the east of England. 'Local Virgin inundated with calls' is an old one that springs to mind.

  11. At 03:45 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Phil wrote:

    You might as well promote Heat as the Metro.

    Also, the only time I've ever seen a copy within 60 miles of my house it was a stray on a train.

  12. At 03:54 PM on 29 Nov 2007, sarah b wrote:

    Oh please do include Metro. Ever since moving away from London in 2004 I have missed reading it, even though you can occasionally pick it up in Southampton Central Station (if I have time to divert there to grab one) and sometimes it does contain some real gems of information.

  13. At 04:43 PM on 29 Nov 2007, Paper Monitor wrote:

    Some good points made, but no clinchers yet. Metro is no London-only thing, as Nick points out. Paper Monitor wonders what it is about Metro that Sarah B loves so much - surely part of the paper's appeal is that it is a vanilla product, that readers can come to it with none of the assumptions that readers of more conventional (paid for) newspapers need? It's all things to all people, which in a way is its genius. Is the downside of that, though, that there's not much which would make it into our celebration?

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