Simon Kelner: The Sun on Sunday: the Screws without the stings


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The Independent Online

I always had a very clear view about office gossip: I always wanted to know what was going on without having to go to the trouble of finding out myself. A quick digest of scandal and injustice would suffice.

I fondly imagine that the majority of the i constituency feel pretty much the same about what is reported in lesser organs. You like to keep track of what passes for news these days – the latest from the world of reality television, who's having an affair with whom, and where Simon Cowell has gone on holiday this year – but the idea of actually going to a newsagent and parting with hard-earned cash for the privilege? Well, you're no more likely to do that than you are to put "Made in Chelsea" on series link.

So last week's pronouncements from The Sun that a Sunday edition of the newspaper is what the nation has been clamouring for since the demise of the News of the World probably rang a bit hollow with you. Nevertheless, the birth of a new newspaper is a noteworthy event, whether the actual product is up your strasse or not.

Luckily, I'm here to do your work for you, and so, in a spirit of selfless inquiry, I'll tell you exactly what you were missing by not purchasing the new, Sabbath version of The Sun yesterday. The first thing to say is that it looks like someone has taken the essence of the News of the World and diluted in several parts of water. There are stories about the private pain of TV's Amanda Holden and the pop singer Adele – a life-threatening ordeal in childbirth and a granny's heart attack respectively – but there are no stings, no fake sheikhs, no exposés.

The paper has introduced four new columnists – the Archbishop of York, Katie Price, Toby Young and Nancy Dell'Olio. That's probably the first time these four names have been together in the same sentence, so nobody could say The Sun hasn't covered most points on the social, cultural and political spectrum. So, as I'm your food taster, editorially speaking, this is what this quartet of big thinkers had to say yesterday.

Well, Katie admired Whitney Houston, but felt her funeral lacked class, and should have been a private affair. For a woman whose wedding night was on TV, this may be considered a little bit rich. Meanwhile, Nancy says that English women are scared to look like real women. Or like her, for example. "That's why your men love me so much," she says. Anyway, I think you get the idea.

Toby blames immigration for the woes of the NHS, tips Michael Gove to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and, oh, rails against illegal immigration. The Archbish, John Sentamu, anticipates those who might criticise him for taking Rupert Murdoch's shilling by saying that "God loves us and forgives us no matter how many times we mess up".

So that's what you missed, dear friends. Not very much, really.