I hope you can see from our front page today that we’ve caught the holiday mood and, unusually for a newspaper in these days of strife, war and disaster, we’re accentuating the positive.
I mention this because it would have been easy to have had a front page very different in tone this Good Friday. What about the news from Misrata in Libya, which seems to get worse with each passing day? Or more from Bahrain, where repression continues? Or even, closer to home, the upsurge in sectarian tension in Glasgow ahead of the Celtic-Rangers game, timed, sensitively, for Easter Sunday?
Any one of these stories would have been perfectly suitable for front page presentation. But one of the criteria by which we judge what makes a lead story for the paper is how it synchronises with the national mood. That’s not to say that we pick a particularly grim story for a Monday and a lighter offering for a Friday, but on a sunny Good Friday, when everyone’s looking forward to a long weekend with their loved ones (or even their family!), we felt that the appetite among our readership for more death and destruction was probably limited.
We haven’t had to strain too hard to make today’s front page uplifting, but neither would it have been a stretch, in a glass-half-empty kind of way, to invert these stories. Retail sales? OK, they’re up, but the economy is still tanking. The weather? Hot and sunny, but look out – there’s a smog alert. And all these Bank Holidays? Think about what it does to productivity. So please don’t accuse of just focussing on bad news. We’ve put on our happy face, we’ve slapped on the factor 35, and we’re looking forward to the weekend. See you on Monday. And may all your Easter eggs be full of chocolate buttons!