If you ask me, although there has been some internal resistance to this cheaper, slimmer, quality newspaper that The Independent is launching today – "but I don't want to be cheaper," the quality columnist Johann Hari has protested, "or slimmer" – it is certainly a genius idea for the "time-poor". The time-poor can't be expected to read right through a newspaper, quality or not. Chances are, the time-poor don't even get far enough into the Daily Express to know that shoes are available in triple-E-width fittings, or that you can buy special inserts to expand the waistband of your trousers. You can generally tell the time-poor by the way they hobble about in shoes that pinch, and keep undoing the top buttons of their trousers.
It is certainly a rich man's world, time-wise. You may even say the time-rich have never had it so good, particularly since the advent of Eddie Stobart, Trucks and Trailers (C5, 8pm, Fridays). As one time-rich person says: "If I were time-poor, I would query if this was even television. I would be railing, 'Why is this television? Why, why, why? It's only lorry drivers making deliveries.' But as I am time-rich I seriously worry whether Jim is going to deliver those cream cakes by 4pm and, if so, in what condition? Might the load be rejected?"
There are some parts of Birmingham that are so divided the time-rich can't even potter aimlessly around in their comfortable, wide-fitting shoes without fearing one of the time-poor will brusquely hobble past them, shoving them out the way. As for the time-poor, they are largely expected to just get on with it. "Although, you'd think," notes one, "that someone would at least come up with a newspaper which would mix quality with brevity at a very reasonable price. A small thing, but it would make life much more bearable. I'd buy it if it were, say, 20p."
Who knows where this new venture will take us. I can only tell you this: if it doesn't get to the Tesco depot in Birmingham by 6pm, we've all had it.