Just nip out and buy a paper

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The Independent Online

Today is everyone's last chance to buy The Daily Telegraph, and so many readers have written to me asking how they should go about it, that today I am bringing you a little guide to the ins and outs of buying a major newspaper.

Q. Why, actually, should anyone want to buy The Daily Telegraph?

A. To get a peerage. All the previous owners got peerages, whether they wanted one or not, and in Conrad Black's case he wanted it so much that he changed his nationality.

Q. Why, actually, would anyone want a peerage?

A. To get a table reservation at posh restaurants. To get to meet Melvyn Bragg and John Birt and Jeffrey Archer. To be able to introduce people into the Commons who could throw purple powder at the Prime Minister...

Q. Why, actually, would anyone want to throw purple powder at the Prime Minister?

A. Because now that more and more papers have colour printing, a photograph of the PM in a purple haze is more likely to be printed in the Telegraph and other papers than if he had been bombarded with flour or pepper.

Q. No, what I meant was - well, never mind. Are there any other advantages in buying The Daily Telegraph, apart from getting a peerage?

A. Well, you will also get The Spectator and The Jerusalem Post.

Q. What will that do for me?

A. It will give you a chance to meet Boris Johnson.

Q. What if I don't want to meet him?

A. Stick to running The Daily Telegraph.

Q. How would I do that?

A. You would have to appoint an editor and then say: "I leave all editorial policy in this man's hands, and will exert no influence on him at all."

Q. And then?

A. You will take your editor on one side and tell him exactly what to do and make sure he does it.

Q. Why?

A. Because owning a paper is all about power and influence. Think of Rupert Murdoch.

Q. Why hasn't Murdoch got a peerage?

A. Because he has changed his nationality to American to avoid being offered one. But if you own the Telegraph, you will have the chance to exert immense power. Think of Berlusconi, whose media power led to him being boss of Italy.

Q, What happens if I think of Boris Johnson, whose media power led him to becoming Tory shadow arts minister?

A. Do not think of Boris Johnson. He is a rogue comet, whose motion obeys no know scientific laws.

Q. Well, what about the Telegraph's circulation? Should I try to get some sex and violence into the Telegraph?

A. God bless your little cotton socks, that's been happening for years. The Daily Telegraph reports sex and revenge cases from the courts in more lubricious detail than even the Law Society Journal. Even better if they involve an erring Army officer. Sex? You'd be amazed how many fashion spreads the Telegraph commissions, with very skimpy lingerie and see-through summer clothes, and bikinis, all worn by the most mouth-watering models...

Q. How much will it cost me to buy The Daily Telegraph?

A. More than you can possibly afford, I'm afraid. You will have to sell lots of your other papers to raise the money.

Q. What if I haven't got any other papers to sell?

A. If you haven't got any papers to sell, you are a time-waster! Nobody ever buys a newspaper unless he already has far more than he needs in Canada or America or Germany or somewhere! Hollinger would never take you seriously.

Q. Who's Hollinger?

A. My God, you are a time-waster! This interview is now concluded.