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Like a sieve

When I was too young to read the newspapers, one of them carried a single advance of a single item in the forthcoming budget. Hugh Dalton, the hard-pressed Chancellor in Attlee’s government, had made a casual remark to a journalist and a report appeared in an evening paper before he had finished speaking. He had to resign. Today, all the headlines are out there hours before the Chancellor stands up. Are we better as a society because the media are given advance information on matters that the people’s Parliament should hear first? Are we hell, but in the days of the 24-hour news cycle, the people come a distant second, behind the BBC, Rupert Murdoch, the Guardian and what used to be the noble Daily Telegraph, but is now a daily heap of crap, and an insult to the memory of William Deedes.

(By the way, when Dalton resigned as Chancellor, he was replaced by Stafford Cripps, a name you couldn’t make up, an which, even now, I have to struggle not to misspell.)

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