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Paper Monitor

12:17 UK time, Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Bullfighting is not a British sport. Except, of course, in the House of Commons, where MPs are baying for the blood of a gored Speaker.

First came the picadors. Meant simply to wound and anger the bull, rather than fatally injure it, their jabs were couched in the niceties of parliamentary language of order papers and substantive motions.

Next the banderilleros waved their flags, before making way for the matador. But there was more than one.

For Daily Mail sketch writer Quentin Letts, it was the doughty Sir Patrick Cormack.

Jowls a-quiver, red tie neatly smoothed, he "holed the Speaker below the trouser line with a deadly reference to Neville Chamberlain and the Norway debate. The House gasped."

But for the Independent's Simon Carr, it was David Davis who asked "the lethal question" about how a motion might be made substantive. "And the Speaker said: 'Let me ask the Clerk.' The House looked on, watching the tutorial taking place. There was quietness. Thirty seconds passed as the Clerk gave the Speaker a one-two-three on one of the most basic rules of procedure."

Ouch.

Others, meanwhile, see how much mileage can be had with the word "order", the best known of the Speaker's sayings.

"Snout of order, order" - Sun
"Disorder! Disorder" - Daily Express
"Out of Order! Order!" - Daily Mirror, and inside "Disorder! Disorder"
"Last orders" - Times headline
"Disorder! Disorder!" - sketch writer Ann Treneman's opening line
"Speaker kicked in the Gorbals!" - Financial Times... just joshing. It's the Daily Star.

Meanwhile, the Sun revisits its original exclusive about the baby-faced teen who, at 13, believed he was Britain's youngest dad. Turns out he isn't. "DAD'S NOT ALFIE" bellows one headline, after DNA tests on baby Maisie, now three months old. Did you all get that? "He's not the daddy" adds the Sun.

Three months ago the paper was all over this tale. But love's young dream is a delicate flower that can wilt when exposed to the harsh light of media attention. And like moths to a flame, first one lad, then another and another ran for the spotlight to claim possible fathership.

The paper's coverage recounts the whole unedifying spectacle. Alfie's baby joy. The ungallant comments from the other lads. Alfie standing by his girlfriend. And now the DNA results.

Its sister paper, the Times, relegates it to a news in brief, just above another nib on how youth chlamydia is on the rise.

And finally, the Sun returns to another wilted romance, that of Katie 'n' Peter. He wrote a song about their struggling marriage last November, and the paper reprints an extract of Call Me a Doctor:
"It hurts bad 'cos I was true to her
"I'm regretting having anything to do with her."

So heart sore that he cannot even come up with a word to rhyme with "her", perhaps Monitor readers can help using the COMMENTS button below.

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