Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It’s hard to get away from the tabloid press in the UK, especially when one of its members is the lead item on the BBC news. The Daily Express and its sister paper, the Daily Star, have been fined 500,000 pounds for libelling the McCanns by printing untrue stories about their involment in the disappearance of their daughter Maddie in the Algarve. I’d hazard a guess no Portuguese rag faces this risk.

The tabloid-driven sensationalist stamp of the British media made it inevitable yesterday that all other news would be elbowed aside so we could listen to Paul McCartney’s ex making a complet fool of herself - not for the first time - on the steps of the court which had just issued judgement in their divorce case. My suspicion is he’d have been prepared to pay ten times 25m quid to get shut of her. But she at least had the sense to say the British media could now concentrate on something more interesting than their divorce. Not a huge challenge, of course.

The tabloid press may well be egregious but it’s nonetheless powerful. At a time when crime is actually reducing in the UK, its scare stories account for a widespread belief it’s growing rapidly. In fact, its incessant beating of the paedophile drum probably lay behind the strange looks I got from teachers as I sat in my car today waiting for my daughter to emerge from the school where she teaches. I’m probably on a register or two by now. Or my car is. As a suspicious Spaniard!

Talking of divorce - Back in Spain, the application rate tends to rise steeply around this time of year. The suspicion is it’s driven by ambitious parents cranking up the points obtainable by their ‘disadvantaged’ kids in their school of choice. Needs must, I suppose.

The printer saga: Carrefour France have written me a non-commital sort of letter asking for more information and ending, would you believe, with Have a nice day! In French, of course.

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