Offended of Kensal Rise Trumps Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells


What the blazes am I to do for a newspaper after Brexit and Trump?

Costa Rican ones very between po faced publicity for the party which lost the last election and photographs of the sheets covering victims of murder and traffic accidents – not forgetting the obligatory girl not quite showing her all while striking a pose which would puzzle an Olympic gymnast and the imprisonment of Cuba Dave for promoting sex tourism in Costa Rica contrary to the Human Trafficking Law of 2013.

Personally I do not think that he is singlehandedly responsible for the (mostly) North American men in muscle shirts frequenting what are euphemistically known as ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ in Gringo Gulch in San Jose, but it would be tactless to close these establishments as otherwise well connected Costa Rican gentlemen not wearing muscle shirts would have nowhere to go in the evenings.


I still occasionally read my old local rag from France….well kent faces beam from the group photographs of the class of  1958 about to set off for a day trip into the unknown some fifty kilometres away, or it might feature shifty looking maires inaugurating something built or repaired by their brothers in law. As one of them once said to me….

As long as the name is different they can’t say it’s favouritism…’

I’ve given up on Le Figaro and Liberation….the former is obsessed with finding the right wing candidate capable of defeating Marine Le Pen of the Front National and the latter obsessed with working out how the Socialist Party is ever going to survive having Francois Hollande as President of France.

Most of my French friends are more worried about how France itself will survive the presidency of Francois Hollande…..the only penguin known to advance on thin ice bearing his own flamethrower…

U.S. newspapers? The New York Times has a good cookery section but otherwise the national level spectrum seems to be obsessed with bemoaning the sheer damned cheek of those who voted for Trump when told by those who know that they should not.

There may be exceptions, but I am not well enough acquainted with the sector to have discovered them.

So, back to the U.K. newspapers….

Growing up there were always newspapers in the house …I even had my own copy of ‘The Children’s Newspaper’ delivered to the house alongside my father’s (then) ‘Manchester Guardian’  – for information – and ‘The Daily Mail’ – for the horse racing tips, but which afforded me the pleasure of the strip cartoon ‘Flook’


I had become fond of strip cartoons when visiting my mother’s mother who had stackpiled copies of ‘Chick’s Own’ where ‘big’ words were hyphenated,  from the 1920s and issued them to visiting children when the weather was too wet to sit in the garden.

I can still see – and smell – the formal room with the horse hair filled leather sofas, from whose slippery surfaces the comics would slip to the ground and have to be restored to pristine order before adult disapproval was manifested.

I know that ‘The Daily Mirror’ entered my grandmother’s house  – probably down to grandfather’s influence – as I remember not only ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’ but also the later strip cartoon of ‘The Perishers’ whose annual highlight was the holiday by the seaside where the crabs inhabiting a rock pool had built a whole religion around the appearance of ‘the eyeballs in the sky’ as Boot the dog peered into the depths.


Religious dissidents, or those who attempted to forward a scientific explanation for the eyeballs in the sky, were silenced by the high priest with the threat of ‘a cakehole full of claw’….

As time went by I began to read the newspapers…the ‘Manchester Guardian’ became ‘The Guardian’…’the Daily Worker’ became ‘The Morning Star’…’The Socialist Worker’ made a brief appearance…and I took ‘The Times for the Law Reports.

At that time, though each newspaper had its policy preferences, they did manage to report news. The reaction to such would appear in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column, whence the generic term for choleric supporters of old fashioned moeurs – ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ – a town popularly supposed to be peopled by half pay colonels of the Indian Army and their memsahibs,  sniffing the wind for the least hint of subversion of established morality.

But things have changed.

In return for electoral support, governments have allowed foreign ownership of the national press…and as that foreign ownership has acquired global power, the politicians make their first kow-tow not to the people who were mad enough to elect them but to the press barons upon whose organs (to use the phrase beloved of ‘Private Eye’) they rely to maintain them in power.

Power has shifted from the politicians – the political parties – to the press, whose interest is that of maintaining their proprietors’ power.

News? Properly reported?

Forget it.

The readership is plied with tarts, tits and totty in the manner of a modern Eatanswill in the press aimed at the lower orders – in moral, rather than economic terms – and with flattery, foodery and fart arsery for those who believe themselves to be superior to the masses.

Thus ‘The Guardian’, made independent by ownership by a trust, stood out.

It was never a newspaper of the left despite the years in the 60s where it displayed a conscience; it was always a newspaper of the soi disant enlightened bourgeoisie who kept their hand on their halfpennies while giving lip service to moral causes.

But it was all there was…so it was the first newspaper I turned to for news and opinion.

Until opinion overtook news, just as had happened in the organs of the press barons.

The Brexit campaign brought out ‘The Guardian’s version of Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells…but now the disgusted were not the readers but the columnists….those who were busy ‘gentrifying’ the suburbs of London like Kensal Rise where Edwardian terraced houses became desirable residences – once they had been stripped of their character – and where the local shops had been taken over by ‘organic’ butchers and high priced coffee shops.

These columnists were disgusted that it was possible to think of an alternative to membership of the European Union…those who opposed them must be part of the Great Unwashed…the very people whose interests they and their type had ignored for more than a generation: the people whose children had suffered a diminution in educational provision: the  people whose trade unions had been broken: the people who could no longer rely on a job which paid well enough to bring up a family in stable conditions.

News? Properly reported?

Forget it.

So tell me: where do now I go for news…real news?


49 thoughts on “Offended of Kensal Rise Trumps Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”

  1. I’m at a total loss. I can tell you not to bother with any of the newspapers nor news channels here …. and I can’t abide a single rag in Britain. I started my career on Fleet Street in 1980 but those days, the days when journalists wrote reports and goaded comments from Disgusted or his brother in law Exasperated are but distant memories. French reporting is no better and my brother in Australia relies on Private Eye as his only source of sanity which given that it is by definition satirical says a lot. Social Media has bred a wealth of experts who know no more than how to look at the first three words of a headline, believe it and vomit it back to their clamouring audience in 40 character sound bites. I know not where to turn and I am seriously considering going off-grid and growing a foot long beard in a cave.

    1. I know that newspapers have political agendas…I could read the old Telegraph with that in mind as I could The Guardian….but I deeply resent the feeling that i am not being informed of events because they do not suit the proprietor’s agenda.
      If you must retire to a cave forget the beard and make Roquefort….

      1. Done! Roquefort would suit me admirably. As for the newspapers of old, yes they did purvey the news but now – it’s all financed propaganda (and we in the West denounce dictatorships). Depressing, very depressing as my father would have said.

  2. When Trump was elected I figured facts are finished and they may be; my sister tells me that many Americans think of Facebook as their primary news source. Yes, Facebook, really. So can you blame the Guardian and the rest for letting opinions take over? They may well figure that it’s that or no paper at all.

    I read Charlie Hebdo. I am learning a lot of interesting French. Questions like ” Honey, what does ‘me fait chier’ mean?” guarantee laughs at the breakfast table. And when the Wall Street Journal starts arguing that Trump’s only ethical option is to sell his assets and put the money in a blind trust, it’s hard to resist at least taking a peek.

    I don’t know, Helen. I don’t see many grownups acting like adults right now. I think our newspapers reflect that.

    1. You could try – for a variant –
      ‘Qu’est-ce que c’est ce custard qu’on fout partout?’ thus marrying English literature and its mastery(?) of the French language…
      I disliked Charlie Hedbo….I found it crude and preferred Le Canard Enchaine – until it chained itself up again when Hollande was elected. I’ve lost track of it since as it is not online and though visitors bring me back numbers that is more nostalgia than information…
      I’m a grown up[ (most of the time). I want a grown up newspaper.
      By the appeals for dosh from The Guardian its idea of producing clickbait articles hasn’t worked….and I bear it a peculiar resentment for sacking a super cricket commentator while continuing to pay droopy louts of both sexes to insult my intelligence.

  3. Sorry, I got a little side-tracked when you hit my memory with the Children’s Newspaper (Arthur Mee, I think?) and dear old Wellin’ton Boot et al.
    Um…reportage. Oh yes! or ,rather, oh no! Laziness on the part of those who like to style themselves “journos.” Time was, a journalist served his time as a cub and maybe, eventually, gained a by-line on a good paper.
    Now? Any lame-witted prat who can’t string a complete sentence together qualifies to front the tv cameras, umm-ing and ahh-ing and mispronouncing words all over the place.
    Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells.

    1. For a while The Independent pursued investigative journalism, but its new owner decided against such a radical proposal…..The Guardian seems to have reached the same conclusion…The Times and the FT are behind paywalls which I have no intention on breaching…The Telegraph is just a wind machine for the brothers from Sark….
      But what worries me is that even when there are journalists capable of turning in a good piece of work, the editors seem to prefer to use material submitted by prats who only look with the eyes of the newspaper proprietor.
      Poor perversions of Speaker Lenthall:
      “May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here”.
      Substituting readers for’ your Majesty’ and Rupert Murdoch for’ the House’.

  4. I know what you mean. It’s dispiriting to say the least, isn’t it? I go to the DM for laughs and entertainment. The Times is behind a paywall, and I dip into the others sporadically.
    Otherwise, you could try the list of ‘fake’ news sites as written by some unknown college prof that’s been cited by supposedly non-fake news sites unquestioningly, and includes ZeroHedge:
    and on the subject of fake…

  5. You’ll have to go to the blogs, until they get censored or legalised out of business. Facebook, Google and Twitter all seem to be going down the toilet. Gab might be a possibility.

  6. Have you tried the Daily Beast? Mind you, I haven’t looked at it for a while so it has probably gone the way of the Guardian that you disapprove of. I tend to skim the headlines of the Guardian and read one or two articles a week. I used to do the same with the Daily Beast and will probably do so from time to time again. Try it. It often has good hard reporting as well as insightful opinion pieces.

  7. Last night I heard someone squawking on the wireless that 48% of folks get their news from facebook! I was shocked until I realised where the other 52% get their news.
    You are right about the UK media, the Scots versions are worse in that they spew out the Westminster unionist line at all times. Journo’s are being dumped (The Scotsman etc are subbed in Sheffield!) and all too often it is ‘workies’ the non paid young thing learning a trade before being kicked out who produce the words.
    I have tried the new online press ‘The Ferret’ ‘Wings over Scotland’ ‘The Canary’ ‘Newsnet Scot’ and the like. Some interesting stories but all too often just too far left for me. ‘Prospect’ magazine looked worth a read but then they asked me to pay….
    The BBC news is biased, ITV’s not worth watching but Channel 4 news can be good, some journalists there still.
    The nation is being led by the nos by dying papers. The ‘Telegraph’ editor admitted he had taken it downhill to make cash! It is still losing sales like the rest.
    ‘Children’s newspaper’ appeared at primary school when we all tried to become journalists for a week. Comics were important, they helped me to read and still do! ‘The Perishers’ was written by a Christian and that explains the excellent ‘Woof’ stories,the only thing worth reading then in the ‘Mirror.’
    Independent journalism is hard to find and then slanted to their political outlook so it is not that independent really. The owners have taken over the nation and we have not noticed, where have we seen that before…?

  8. I’ve given up with newspapers so read the Spectator and the New Statesman then Private eye – I get a general idea of what’s going on and at least it makes me smile rather than cry.

    1. I remember The New Statesman from years back…in the days of the Gang of Four….but I’ll give it and The Spectator a go… Private eye is not available in full online…another Canard Enchaine thing…

  9. It has made me feel literally sick reading so many Brexit/Trump supporters comments, along the lines of “Now we’re goanna get all the dirty [fill in your own foreigners] out and kick you soft headed liberals into the dust and make this country great again” to “suck it up you losers, cause we’re goanna do what we want from now on.” I don’t want the people that these yobs and bullies support to be in charge, no matter what else they say or do. The only papers that stand up for decency and rationality seem to be the Guardian, and (sometimes) the Times, and the FT and BBC seem to do their best to be impartial. But their comments boxes are always full of abuse and jeering from yobs who say they support Brexit and Trump, and so, since the yobs will never convert me to their cause, and because I find it really depressing to read it all, I have completely stopped with all media, but financially support the Guardian.

    1. I won’t pay for access to The Times or FT – my money goes elsewhere – so i can’t comment there, but as far as The Guardian is concerned I was saddened by the pre Brexit nature of the paper….the newspaper I was used to would not have adopted Project Fear: it would have argued, not hectored.
      I agree about the nature of the comments….again, it is saddening that people think that this is a way of expressing themselves.
      I would like to see The Guardian find its way again, but do not feel it is very likely.

  10. I read everything I can stomach, and let it roil around, like Huckleberry Finn’s barrel of vittles. And, I don’t use FB. The press has gone to pot–but perhaps it always was gone.

    1. I do try to read across the spectrum, but am depressed at the lack of reporting as opposed to giving an opinion.
      I use FB to keep in touch with friends who are on it…but you do see the weirdest things on there!

    1. I don’t mind a newspaper having a stance on issues…i can cope with that.
      I do mind a newspaper not telling what it doesn’t want me to know and telling me how to think.

      i’ll give it a try…thanks!

  11. What do you mean after Trump? It’s only just begun! 😉 Talking about the drama and press articles. It’ll be endless for the rest of our days. lol Good question – where does one go for news. Believe it or not, The Christian Science Monitor, is pretty newsworthy. Happy Sunday and hi to the hubby and rubbie for the furballs.

    1. That will have the family eyeballs rolling when I take the Christian Science Monitor…but why not! I’ll give it a go!
      Thanks for the kind wishes….the rain is about to start again so all the furballs are tucking themselves up to keep cosy – except the little pups who are still enthralled with exploring under the bed….wild squeaking noises and heads – and tails – emerging momentarily before plunging back again…

      1. Actually in the past the Monitor’s correspondents were often heard on the World Service and elsewhere. I considered them OK at the time. Rather American but I will also have a look again.

  12. For European news I use Revolting Europe. Bit sporadic at the mo though. Good on left-wing politics/analysis. Written by Tom something, he is/was on M Star or Socialist Worker. One or the other.

    Digression: when I worked at HSE, Morning Star was regarded as the most objective reporting on any H&S issues. Despite their obvious bias, they didn’t add any opinion to news reporting.

    I’ve seen some Daily Beast things. Not sure. Al Jaz was meant to be good initially but that seems trite shite now too.

    The Grauniad columnists drive me spare. Who does Polly Toynbee think she is? (a guardian columnist for a zillion years I guess). Joan whatsherface (Smith?) is ok and so is An… Ch… can never remember his name. Sounds Indian to me.

    What is annoying, for the most part, is the banality of the writing. They are churning out something I’ve either read on a blog, thought about beforehand or already written it. So, so, predictable and kindergarten.

    And I loathe that please please give to the poo Guardian pop-up. Ok, should have been poor, but poo fitted as well.

    Bbc? More worthless soundbites.

    Whichever commenter mentioned blogs is right, there are often better researched articles with links on blogs. Because … time is money. Even before I left my last journo job, the paper was talking about bringing in a target of x main stories and x NIBs (news in brief) a day. I cringe at current day journalism. When I were a junior reporter, tramping up and down t’ streets … eeh, things were different.

    If you have specific interests, that might be the way to go. So as well as Rev Eur, I also follow Feminist Current (Canadian I think), and Digamesomething for my local Spanish area. Gib papers are terrible although I haven’t bothered telling the editor of the main one as he lives in my block.

    Should you do find anything decent and FREE please do share 🙂

    1. I certainly will. I’ll follow up all the suggested leads: it will be worth if if i can find something that just gives me the news, albeit with a stance, rather than a mishmash of rubbish designed to tell me what and how to think.

  13. I read the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Independent. They do have a lot of useful information along with the celebrity gossip, the awards ceremonies, the fashion pages etc. You just to be aware of the hidden (and not so hidden) agenda lurking in the background. I’m already sick of the obsessive coverage of Trump and Brexit, most of which is pompous speculation and tells you nothing new. The rest of the news has vanished or been relegated to page 94. It gets harder and harder to find out what’s really happening in the world beyond the screaming headlines and yet another picture of a photogenic young actress with eye-catching cleavage.

    1. That is the problem…a load of hogwash on Brexit and Trump…while the world rolls round unnoticed.
      That’s not exactly fair, but as you say, you have to dig to get at anything worthwhile.

  14. I cannot remember when we last bought a newspaper. We both just check the headlines on the computer these days. Nigel does watch the news on TV as well though I tend to avoid it. I pretty much avoid the TV full stop other than the odd programme!
    Word has it around here that Marine Le Pen will get to the second round then they will be all out to make sure she gets not further. It could be interesting. After Brexit and Trump I can believe anything may happen.
    Hope Leo is picking up a bit, wishing yo both all the best, Diane

    1. I like to have a newspaper…i suppose in the same way i like a physical book rather than a Kindle.
      Yes, I saw the polls…but with their current record of getting everything wrong, who knows!
      I remember the election when Chirac stood against her father… those who loathed both of them but Le Pen more than Chirac were going to vote with pegs on their noses – and one man went dressed up in a deep sea diver’s costume!

      Unfortunately Leo is not at all well at the moment…we’ll hope that a change of pills might help.

  15. When I was a child my grandfather always read the Daily Herald. It closed when I was 18 and since then I’ve mainly read the Guardian and (until it went behind a paywall) The Times. Being, as you know, a firm opponent of Brexit, the Guardian’s stance wan’t a problem for me. 😉 The Independent was good when it first started, but since the print version closed it seems to have become pure clickbait, sadly. I too have heard good things of the Christian Science Monitor. Good luck with your search.

    1. I can only imagine that the Daily Mail’s racing tips were better than those of the Daily Herald, whose existence I remember, but little more.
      I too liked The Independent when it was…but, as you say, with the end of the print edition it is no longer worth a look.
      I was disappointed in The Guardian, not just for its partisan views, but for the hectoring tone adopted by its main columnists.
      I’ve been somewhat occupied since this post…but will be taking up all the suggestions shortly.

  16. Is it possible that, as with governments, we deserve the one(s) we have? How great is our attention span and don’t we all just want our own prejudices confirmed?

    For me, once a week or so, as well as various sources online, like Spiegel or Focus from Germany, it’s still the Guardian. As least the Guardian’s opinion pieces suit my opinions. My first regular paper when I came to the UK was the Daily Mirror, but that stopped when Maxwell took over. Andy Cap and The Perishers! Now there you have reminded me of cartoons I searched for right away upon opening it.

    I have no advice for you other than possibly, still, the grand old BBC for as long as Murdoch is prevented from getting his sticky fingers on it.

    Unfortunately, even the BBC is now utterly parochial, world news hardly ever gets a mention during the ordinary bulletins.

    1. How could I have forgotten Andy Cap!
      Those who run the BBC need to grow a pair and get on with what the BBC was supposed to do – inform,, educate and entertain – in that order. The BBc might then have the support it needs to resist threats to its operations.

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