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Paper Monitor

12:32 UK time, Friday, 24 October 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

A yes, a no or a maybe? It can be so hard to tell sometimes.

Asked if he would sack George Osborne if it turned out that he had not told the truth about Yachtgate, David Cameron no doubt thought his response was both bullishly supportive AND one in the eye to nosy doorstepping reporters.

But Paper Monitor is a bear of little brain, particularly on a Friday, and his answer in the Times is: "If my mother had wheels, she would be a bicycle."

But even if she had wheels, she wouldn't necessarily be a bicycle. She might be a wooden pull-along toy of the type given to middle class toddlers. Or a hybrid car. Or a ministerial Jag ferrying a neatly folded shirt and a pair of freshly polished brogues around town. Or even a sledge pulled by huskies. No wait, not that last one.

So, clear as mud, then. Mr Cameron has no intention of sacking Mr Osborne. Or does he? It all depends on what type of vehicle Ma Cameron is.

Moving right along to Sarah Palin, totin' a gun in a patriotic bikini. Because, laydees, today it's all about you.

The Guardian's Women page runs the afore-mentioned doctored photo (as if she'd hunt moose while wearing a swimsuit - it's cold in Alaska) and ponders why feminists are not having a paddy about misogynistic depictions of the VP-in-waiting.

Why indeed? And why the need to reprint the doctored picture of Ms Palin? Paper Monitor keenly awaits the musings of the paper's Readers' Editor.

Madonna, too, may recognise this kind of treatment and defence that is deafening in its silence. Although the Daily Mail's Amanda Platell offers a sort of helping hand with her piece entitled "Yes I've banished my crinkly cleavage".

Madge would no doubt feel far better after reading Platell's musings on how, now she [Madonna] is 50, the pop queen's famous bosoms have no doubt morphed into a "wrinkled old décolletage". The writer then segues into a several hundred words about a procedure that sounds both pricey and uncomfortable.

"In these times of financial uncertainty, a £1,200 treatment may seem a bit rich but frankly a fabulous new décolletage may be just the pick-up a woman needs."

Lost not so much for words as to where to start, Paper Monitor moves swiftly back to G2, whose efforts to personalise stories by putting journos front and centre is starting to prove confusing.

It was OK when G2 sent Pascal, Maxton and Merope out busking in 2003; those are Guardian names (and set those at Magazine Towers to thinking about how they might turn their own names into Guardian names... Europeanisation, for a start).

But now the ubiquitous Laura Barton - a youngish lifestyle writer whose name and face often appear in those teaser slots on the front page - has been joined by Laura Barnett, who according to today's teaser "said M&S was dull and uncool - so the boss took her shopping". At first glance, Guardian readers might think that nice Laura Barton has dyed her hair blonde.

So confusing. But if dissing a certain store in print results in a VIP shopping trip, then Paper Monitor would like to diss Prada. Or Selfridges. Or Savile Row in general. Or Margaret Howell. Hell, even Homebase.

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