Matthew Norman: Crisis vanishes if you look in the Mirror

Not for the first time, it is both a pleasure and duty to congratulate the Daily Mirror on its news judgement. It is the first time, however, that the regular feature Daily Mirror Exclusive of the Week is promoted to the lead item, in tribute to last Wednesday’s splash.

Cleverly headlined “Kelly Hunk Is Clunked”, this reported how England rugby international Danny Cipriani took one in the kisser from a Wasps team-mate during a training session.

Rugby being of about half as much interest to Mirror readers as the ancient epic poetry of western Siberia, Danny was front-page fodder purely as gentleman caller to the model and actress Kelly Brook, but we’ll let the sexism pass in honour |of the extreme importance of the story itself.

Now, some might dispute this reading, pointing out that last Tuesday was such a quiet news day that there was no competition for the front page. They have a point. The only items cover-flashed that day, in fact, were the opening of High School Musical, and The Great British Bail Out. Few people, facing a choice between Danny’s decking and the de facto nationalisation of the British banking system, would have decided differently from Mirror editor Richard Wallace (whom I should remind you sacked me as a columnist shortly after ascending to his post). Easy to be clever after the event, of course, so we won’t be too brutal with those of Richard’s rivals who blundered by fixating on the trivial matter of how close our high street banks had come to extinction. Even so, Richard set a new mark last week in recognising his readers’s intelligence, and we salute him for it.

A kick in the kidney

Elsewhere in the Mirror, meanwhile, I was distressed by the sense of glee underpinning coverage of the kidney stone that briefly afflicted the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise

and Regulatory Reform, Peter Mandelson. I was even more upset, however, by Victoria Derbyshire’s inability to mention this medical emergency on her 5 Live phone-in without succumbing to radio’s most relentless fit of giggling since Charlotte Green’s on Radio 4 in March.

But that was perfectly understandable, Ms Green ceding control, as anyone with a weakness for Wildean wit would, when someone whispered that a snatch of the first recorded music sounded like a buzzing bee. Mocking the afflicted is another matter. The poorest of shows on the poorest of shows, and one that won’t lightly be forgotten should Labour be in power when the licence fee is next up for renewal.

Sarah Palin moment

Scary times for Richard and Judy as ratings for their new show on channel Watch plummet alarmingly. Still, thank God Amanda Ross remains their producer. Most fondly remembered for her threat to ban the celebration of birthdays at her production company after someone forgot to ask her to sign a card, Amanda has earned the epithet of Most Powerful Woman in British Publishing thanks to her oversight of R’n’J’s book club. It’s a role for which she seems, if anything, overqualified. Only last Saturday she popped up in the Daily Mail’s Weekend supplement to offer some thoughts on a new publication called Mudbound. “It’s set around the time of World War II and its aftermath,” she observed. “I was ignorant about just how deep-set racism still was in American society at that time.” She mustn’t be embarrassed about this gap in her historical education. Very few people outside what Sarah Palin knows as “the liberal gotcha media elite” have heard of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Selma and Montgomery, or the famously recherché civil rights moment itself. We can’t all be Simon Schamas, can we?

Huw and cry

Still with literature, disappointing news of Huw Edwards. Writing in Y Goleuad (Luminary of the Light), the newspaper of Wales’s Calvinist Methodist church, our most versatile newscaster informs readers that the publication of his potboiler on the chapels of home town Llanelli has been postponed. He blames this delay on a profusion of material (Huw has been visiting as many as possible, not least to try out their organs), and also the sheer weight of world events that so thoughtlessly distract him from his task. Prioritising is always troublesome, but if it’s any encouragement, I have a feeling that, with so many of the chapels vanishing, we could do without him reading out loud for a while.

Bombing in Coventry

My favourite take on the economic crisis comes, perhaps inevitably, from my favourite columnist. Offering a moving personal account in The Sun, Jon Gaunt recalls the last recession when, as all students of his poignant memoir Undaunted will know, he went bankrupt on the failure of his nightclub in the ghost town that was early 1980s Coventry. “My only crime,” he says, “was that I tried to do something positive and create jobs in Coventry, but failed.”

That’s no crime, Gaunty, that’s altruistic self-sacrifice of the sort this Great Country (Not This Rubbish Country) Of Ours has seldom seen since Peter Stringfellow went that extra mile for the poor and dispossessed of central London by opening for business in St Martin’s Lane. Yet again, his heroism has me welling up, so we’d best move on.

Disaster al Pesto

Spare a thought, finally, for Evan Davis. He’s doing fine on Today programme, of course, albeit we’d like to hear more of the tiger who mauled Hilary Benn for attempting to give out a freephone number for impoverished people wishing to save heating costs. Even so, what a time Evan picked to yield his post as BBC economics editor and hand all the glory to dear old Pesto. I mean, what a bleedin’ time.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?