Bad news means no news

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The Independent Online
The bad news about BSE in British beef claimed another victim in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, yesterday - a Tory party tabloid dedicated to spreading the "good news".

The first edition was due to be launched at the Conservative Party's spring conference in the town by Brian Mawhinney, the chairman of the party.

It was to carry lively pieces extolling the virtues of the British economy, with good news about the amount of overseas investment being made in Britain.

There was also to be an overseas section with reports from abroad on what the foreigners are saying about Britain.

Edited by a former Daily Express deputy editor, one insider said: "It was classier than most of the mid-market tabloids." Unkinder critics said it was like the Daily Express but with less Tory propaganda.

The brainchild of Sir Tim Bell and Maurice Saatchi, the Tory party's advertising advisers, the decision to launch a newspaper followed the political Cabinet meeting 10 days ago which pondered over the mystery of why the good news in the economy was not translating into a "feelgood factor". Ministers decided that if Fleet Street would not print the good news about Britain, they would do it themselves, but their foray into journalism proved short-lived.

Tory spin-doctors claimed the decision had been taken for "technical reasons". But a source said: "It was the beef that did it. They thought that the good news wouldn't work."