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True Views of the News

It is amazing what insomniacs can buy at 4am in the morning, thanks to teleshopping. Kitchen knives that never need sharpening. Chess sets with figures from The Lord of the Rings. Devices that giver you a flatter tummy by pumping electricity through your muscles whist you watch television (hence sparing more time for teleshopping). Collections of self-help books and CDs that guarantee to make you a millionaire by the end of the year – apparently all you need to do is launch your own line of self-help books and CDs. Of course, all of it is overpriced tat that does not biodegrade and which will be cluttering up your garage for decades to come. So imagine my surprise when I found a real gem at 4.13am on the Thursday before last: the Wonk-tel News Spectacles. At just £39.99 including postage and packing, this marvelous wonder of modern science, as demonstrated by a serious-looking person wearing a white coat, promised to help you read the news the way it really should be written. I can tell a good deal when I see one, so I ordered mine straight away. After all, the first thousand customers also received the Wonk-tel News Magnifying Glass and a special travel case for free!

This week, I’ve been reading the news with my new Wonk-tel spectacles, and I have to say they really have given me a new perspective on the news. Take this story, which reads as follows without the glasses:

No.10 apology over ‘slur’ e-mails

Downing Street has apologised for e-mails sent by one of Gordon Brown’s senior officials which reportedly discussed smearing top Conservatives.

Put the Wonk-tels on, and it says the following…

“A civil servant apologized to his bosses in 10 Downing Street (not to the taxpayers who pay his wages) because he was caught doing his job, which involved orchestrating smear campaigns against political opponents by fabricating sexual innuendos. Apparently, the PR cretin circulated his disgusting fantasies about opposition leaders using his official email address. In future, he promises to be more careful and will only be sharing scurrilous, vile made-up gossip when briefing friendly hacks down the pub or using his personal email. During the day, he promises he will just be staring out of the office window, killing time before his real work begins. He will also be careful not to repeat his mistake of forwarding offending material to such a wide distribution list that it was eventually forwarded to his arch-enemy with a well-known political blog. 10 Downing Street is keen to be seen taking action, because if it smells bad now, it will obviously smell a whole lot worse when the emails, which have not been published yet, are finally made public. As a consequence they will be firing the goon but quietly arranging to get him another job doing the same stuff elsewhere, except they will try to make it seem honourable-yet-proactive by making it look like he resigned.”

Did you see the difference? I could not believe my eyes! I re-read the story, using the magnifying glass, and it had the same impact. What a revelation. Better still, the prediction about the resignation turned out to be spot on. Here is some more of this week’s news.

Tony Blair tells Belief radio programme he thinks about Iraq every day

The Wonk-tel glasses helpfully add…

“and every night he goes to bed sure that going to war was the right thing to do and that there really was a serious threat of weapons of mass destruction being launched at the West in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. Yes, he really is that bad at making decisions and he really is that good at spinning them so they sound like they were the right ones after all.”

Wow! Move over Jeremy Paxman, these Wonk-tel glasses really do cut through the bull. Here is another story…

Ian Tomlinson assault video ‘raises obvious concerns’, says Met police chief

Sir Paul Stephenson says video of police striking Ian Tomlinson during G20 protests should be investigated fully

The Wonk-tel magnifying glass explained the story thus…

“Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan police commissioner, was left scratching his head and wondering whether his force is composed of brainless gorillas after video footage made using a mobile phone plainly shows a police thug in riot gear needlessly shoving a man in the back, causing him to fall heavily. The victim of the unprovoked attack, Ian Tomlinson, was a paper seller trying to make his way home from work, and had unfortunately been caught up in the protests about the G20 summit in London. Stephenson wondered about his bad luck. The police not only assaulted an innocent man, from behind, as he walked down the street with his hands in his pockets. Far worse, the victim selfishly had a heart attack, maximizing the publicity for this instance of casual needless police brutality that would otherwise have gone unreported. There was seemingly no CCTV footage of the assault, which happened in the City of London, a small portion of the planet subject to extraordinary levels of constant surveillance. Despite this, an honest citizen still managed to capture the events and decided them to share them with the Guardian newspaper and the rest of the world. Police efforts to limit the damage caused to their reputation will involve distracting attention from this disturbing incident. This will involve three steps:

1. The police’s anti-terror chief will show himself to be a nincompoop by carrying top secret documents in plain view instead of inside a folder or briefcase;

2. A careless and overzealous PC will drive a car at 90mph on a 30mph road, without using his siren or flashing his lights, causing him to hit and kill a teenage pedestrian; and

3. A former police inspector will be jailed for an extensive fraud involving illegal dumping of 175,000 used tyres.

If that fails, the police will just resort to the usual tactics of releasing positive video footage for shows like “Stop, Police, Camera, Action!” and “Greatest Police Car Chases” and “The Police Doing a Great Job and This Camera Proves It!”. All such footage will be carefully screened and any incidents involving beating up innocent people or knocking down pedestrians will be carefully lost. In addition, the police will be calling for more anti-terror laws to stop pesky photographers compromising the security of the nation by taking photos that reveal their incompetence and stupidity.”

Strong stuff! I really looked forward to re-reading the final story…

Jade Goody ‘represented wretched Britain’, says Sir Michael Parkinson

Jade Goody represented “all that is wretched about Britain today”, Sir Michael Parkinson has said days after the reality television star’s funeral.

For those of you who missed it, the news was that television interviewer and personality Michael Parkinson directed his “say what I like and like what I say” Yorkshireman routine at Jade Goody, the reality TV star who recently died from cervical cancer. He said that Jade Goody had been a media chattel, as well as being “barely educated, ignorant and puerile”. Apparently, some people think that Goody deserves more reverential treatment because she made a lot of money and that must count for something. Oddly, this is all Wonk-tel had to say about Parkinson’s polemic:

“Of course she was ignorant and puerile. The only people unsure of that must be either (1) lucky enough to have totally missed the Goody media barrage when it was at its peak, or (2) have similar educational deficits meaning they do not know what the words ‘ignorant’ and ‘puerile’ mean. Parkinson, like most people in the media, diplomatically forgot to mention that Goody gave a shameful impression of modern British intolerance and rudeness when she repeatedly bullied Bollywood film star Shilpa Shetty during her last major television ‘reality’ show appearance on Celebrity Big Brother. Goody’s inexcusable screaming, ranting and hectoring was interpreted by many to be racism. As a result, the show generated by far the greatest number of complaints in British television history. It is derisory that some are trying to recast her as a positive role model, simply because she unluckily got cancer and died. Whatever next? Hitler not so bad after all – the poor chap only had one ball?”

Powerful stuff. These Wonk-tel news specs really do work. But I had better be careful when I use them. Best not wear them when updating the CV or re-reading this blog. Heck knows what they would say about me…

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