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Paper Monitor

12:27 UK time, Friday, 27 November 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Sorry for the delay - last night Paper Monitor was lured out for a pre-pre-Christmas drinkie, stayed out past bedtime, and is feeling a little worse for wear. Even after a coffee and breakfast bap. And - and! - someone's snaffled most of the papers.

(Fortunately, this wasn't on tap, otherwise your columnist would be most unwell today.)

It being nearly December, Christmas lights bedeck many a High Street, and festive trees are being erected in squares and shopping centres up and down the land. The rest of us may look at these and coo (so long as they don't go up too early), but those in charge of such decorations have but one thought in mind - it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

christmastreedorset_pa.jpgCue the inevitable photo of what's sure to be dubbed "Britain's worst Christmas tree", which has recently appeared in a shopping precinct in Poole, Dorset.

"The health and safety Christmas tree: there's no mess and you can wipe your feet on it" - the Times

"When is a Christmas tree not a Christmas tree? When it is a giant cone covered in what appears to be green doormats...
It has no trunk so it won't blow over, no branches to break off and land on someone's head, no pine needles to poke a passer-by in the eye, no decorations for drunken teenagers to steal and no angel, presumably because it would need a dangerously long ladder to place it at the top."

The Daily Express headlines the story "Oh joy, it's the Elf and Safety Christmas tree".
"Christmas cone baffles shoppers" - Daily Telegraph

And the Daily Mail? It talks to the man who chose it, town centre manager, Richard Randall-Jones.

"'People think you can just go into the woods, chop down a tree and put it up in the high street. But if it blows over and kills someone then somebody is liable for it. We have to have guy ropes and hoardings to stop it from falling over and hitting somebody.
'Last year the board said they and the public didn't like all the ropes and hoardings around the Christmas tree. So I was tasked with finding a solution and we came up with the cone tree.'"

It's political correctness gone mad...

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