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Monday 3 January 2011

Lower The Cost Of Journalism – Use Someone Else’s

As if sending many of his sub-editors down the road wasn’t enough of a cost saving for Daily Express owner Richard “Dirty” Desmond, it seems that the paper is now using other news outlets’ copy, rather than generate their own, if one of today’s “top stories” is anything to go by.

Yesterday evening, the Guardian’s website published a piece on the possible nature of a sell-off of the Royal Mail. The potential role of EU competition authorities was discussed, together with comments from a Royal Mail spokesman telling that it was “too early to speculate” on whether Government assuming control of the organisation’s pension fund might be considered as unfair state aid.

And today, the Express has a condensed version of the same story, although the “too early to speculate” quotation has been wrongly attributed to the “Department for Business” (the Express compounding its mistake by missing out “Innovation and Skills” from the title). The only difference is that, in the retelling, it has been turned into an excuse for EU bashing.

This has been achieved by enlisting the services of Tory MP Philip Davies, who has said that “The EU are sticking their noses where it’s not wanted”. So who is this generator of indifferent syntax? Well, Davies appears to be an ideal Express talking head: he is so virulently anti-European that UKIP supported him last May, rather than putting up a candidate of its own.

And, although he appears to have excellent libertarian credentials – he is a member of the Freedom Association, and shills for the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance – Davies has an authoritarian streak, seeking tougher sentences for convicted criminals and tougher conditions in jail. He has also – disproportionately – urged mosques to fly the Union flag, but not churches or synagogues.

Moreover, Davies favours abolition of the minimum wage – claiming, baselessly, that it somehow works against the disabled, and former criminals – has claimed he never understood why blacking-up was offensive, and is a stalwart of that movement that has mobilised against the non-existent “War on Christmas”.

All this, plus the Europhobia, confirms Davies as an ideal Express talking head, and helps the paper to distract readers from the timeline that suggests they got the Royal Mail story by reading the Guardian.

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