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Paper Monitor

13:18 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

First day back at school for MPs! Fingers crossed there'll be the full low-down on Nick Clegg's new Spider-Man lunchbox, complete with annotated photographs, or at least something about the name tags sewn into the back of Sir Peter Tapsell's gym kit by his mum.

Paper Monitor hopes in vain, but even so, Paper Monitor is not completely disappointed.

How could anyone be, when the Sun proudly displays a mock-up coalition government souvenir mug, with a picture of Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg's grinning faces embossed onto fine china above the legend: "A new era of hope"?

It propels Paper Monitor, Proust-fashion, into memories of being expressly forbidden to drink from grandma's collection of Royal Wedding commemoration receptacles, "because they're bound to be worth something one day".

Perhaps one day, so will Paper Monitor's scrapbook (commenced 19 May 2010) of House of Commons newspaper graphics displaying the seating arrangements for the new parliamentary term.

The Guardian's effort is all trendy minimalism with clean, sharp blue (interspersed with yellow), red and grey-for-the-others lines. The Daily Telegraph hones in on a outline representation of the new government front bench - which will come in handy next time Paper Monitor is asked to pick out Iain Duncan Smith. In an opaque fog. Inside the debating chamber.

First prize goes to the Times, however, for its graphic-Commons augmented with mini-tables quantifying the number of MPs educated at Oxbridge, the ratio of male to female members, their basic salaries and the percentage who watched Luther last night on BBC One instead of attending to constituency duties (Paper Monitor may have made one of these up).

The Daily Mirror, Labour's lone remaining loyal Fleet Street voice, is still not satisfied.

"It was their first taste of power," it sneers theatrically, "but the Liberal Democrats were unable to utter a word."

The yellow members of the new ruling caste, it appears, stayed silent during proceedings (heckling, booing and yelling "hear hear!" from a sedentary position all equalling silence in parliamentary terms).

If Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail is to be believed, there may be an explanation as to why the new intake of MPs, at least, remained tight-lipped:

...there was so much moist-bottomed excitement it could have been a group outing by the Sisters of Mercy to a Boyzone gig.

Paper Monitor assumes he means the religious order rather than the 1980s goth-rockers.

If so, it recalls vividly one's own first day of school - a time when few, if any, bottoms remained moist for long, though out of trepidation rather than joy.

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