The Feral Beast: Pearson flip-flops on benefits

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The Independent Online

"Take away our baby money at your peril" fog-horned Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.

In a piece about child benefit she praised it as "wonderful" because "it tells any mother, whoever she may be, that hers is an important job which is highly valued by the community." Could this be the same prattling columnist who, in 1997, suggested cutting child benefits? "For a really tough choice, the Government needs to look elsewhere – to child benefit," she wrote. "If the Government were to tax child benefit, it could raise £700m a year. Stopping the benefit altogether to families earning over £40,000 a year would immediately bring in £300m." Who knows, perhaps Pearson gave George Osborne the idea in the first place.

Escaping Death Rowe

What is it about public arenas that tabloid editors find so terrifying? Last week I reported how ex-People editor Neil Wallis pulled out of a debate about newspaper practice at the last minute, claiming it was his 60th birthday. Now, after last week's story, I gather Bridget "Death" Rowe, another former editor of The People, also thought better of the invitation and chucked. She didn't even have a good excuse, having already turned 60 in March.

Dreams of gynaecology

A riveting new series begins in Glamour this month: how to get a magazine job. Readers hoping to read about the industry may be disappointed to read six articles by the fashion team describing the tortuous paths they beat to land their jobs, mostly involving endless unpaid internships. The most arresting story is by Charlotte-Anne Fidler, the creative and fashion director, who begins: "When I was 14, I wanted to be a gynaecologist. Yes, that was my dream." Sounds like a Glamour feature in its own right.

'Daily Mail' fails to show its Ironside

Why did the Daily Mail describe Virginia Ironside as a "television pundit" in a huffy news report – complete with "outrage" in the headline – of her remark that she would suffocate a child to end its suffering? Although Ironside does appear on telly, she is best known as a journalist on newspapers including The Independent and, er, The Daily Mail. Only four days before, she had written an entertaining piece about being a landlady: won't the Mail stand by its woman?

Roland Rat to save drowning Chiles

As ratings continue to plummet for Daybreak, ITV's breakfast show with Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, an old pro has some wise words to offer. Nick Owen, who huddled up with Anne Diamond on the ITV breakfast sofa 27 years ago, told an audience at Coventry University last week he felt they should stop pretending they are still on the BBC's The One Show, from where they were poached at vast expense. Owen, who now fronts BBC Midlands Today, suggested Daybreak could be rescued with more items and by raising the standard of competition questions: a recent one asked: "What is a century: 25, 50, or 100?" Or they could bring back Roland Rat: he did wonders for Nick and Anne.