“MAGGIE DEAD”, screamed The Sun.
“REJOICE!”, cried the Socialist Worker.
“Margaret Thatcher: 1925–2013”, led The Times, The Telegraph, and The Independent with rather more dignity.
News last Monday of the death of the former British Prime Minister started it all: a week in which the public were accused of bad taste, broadcasters were accused of bias, and (in my opinion) the state massively overstepped the mark.
Above it all, one phrase was used over and over again: that Baroness Thatcher is proving as divisive in death as she was in life.
What a poetic observation. And how witty. It’s all awfully clever.
But there’s something very unpleasant, I feel, about celebrating the death of somebody… anybody. Sure, she may have snatched the milk from a generation. And she may have ‘ripped the heart out of society’. Don’t mention the trade unions.
That Was The Week That Was
This week being the beginning of Lent, events I’ve attended at church have included Shrove Tuesday’s Pancake Party in the Church Hall and this (Sunday) afternoon’s Lent Lunch in the Parish Centre. With my Grade Five Music Theory exam and Maths GCSE retakes next Thursday, Friday, and a week on Monday, I’ve spent much of the weekend in my ‘learning den’ (aka my bedroom) completing past papers and catching up on other work. But I did manage a bike ride to the river with my mum yesterday (Saturday), a few hours of reading the weekend papers, and have just enjoyed a roast dinner with former St Luke’s vicar Richard Holroyd – in Maidenhead to sing at a concert at Norden Farm, which Mum, Dad, Matthew, and a large number of the St Luke’s congregation attended.
Normally, this introductory piece to the Review also includes a summary of the week’s bigger headlines. We’re in the strange position this week, though, where in addition to the continuing investigations into phone-hacking and bad press behaviour, Rupert Murdoch has launched a new paper to replace the News Of The World that he and his son killed off last year – and that new newspaper has become news in itself. It’s called The Sun On Sunday (advertised by a frankly brilliant campaign yesterday centred around the song from Annie, Tomorrow, which of course includes the line: ‘The sun’ll come out tomorrow’. The print-run for this first edition: 3 million. The price: 50p. As the BBC’s Nick Higham commented, it looks and feels like The Sun, and features a front-page splash (an exclusive interview with Amanda Holden) continued onto four pages inside.
Regardless of whether you do or don’t like Murdoch’s media control, one must commend his journalists. They’ve clearly worked hard – amid an uneasy, to say the least, environment with the recent arrests and challenging Leveson Inquiry backdrop – to get this paper out. Remember, very, very few of those still in Wapping were there during the old Sunday paper’s dodgiest days – the majority are innocent journalists, living under the shadow of those who sat at their desks before them. And yet, in spite of all this, the true hero of journalism, who’ll be remembered longer than almost all Sun hacks, is Marie Colvin (a writer for News International’s other Sunday publication The Sunday Times). She died this week after the makeshift media centre she and her colleagues were working in was, by designed attack or pure chance, bombed by Syrian forces. Fellow journalists have been paying tribute to her since Wednesday – including, rather bizarrely, Katie Price, in the first of her columns for the The Sun on Sunday.
That Was The Week That Was
So here we are at the end of the first full week of 2012. This Review of the Week idea is to become a weekly feature, incorporating but replacing the Photo of the Week style of blogs that ran during the middle of last year.
The nation and the world has been gripped by the verdict of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, which has found Gary Dobson and David Norris guilty of the racist murder of the black teenager 18 years ago, thanks to the presence of new evidence. Other news this week includes the discovery of a murdered woman on the Sandringham estate; FrankTwitchy’s video of his dancing granny going viral; and the London 2012 Olympics ticket website breaking – again.
For me, it’s been a pretty quiet week, returning to school on Tuesday after the festive period, but with a fairly pointless school trip to the Science Museum on Thursday. Due to my attendance of Taplow Youth Choir, I was only able to swim once at the Lions Club’s 27th annual Swimarathon yesterday (Saturday), contributing towards the 56 50-metre laps my Explorer Scout unit racked up. I managed to raise some decent funds, which will be split jointly between the Lions Club’s charities and the Unit.