Kick Up The Tabloids


Every day in The Sun newspaper there is a very informative feature which unravels the complex issues behind a particular story of the day and presents it in a form that is understandable and accessible to the general public. Usually on the third page of the paper, it is called News in Briefs, where a young woman illustrates the effects of the recession by wearing virtually no clothes. At the start of this year Magenta, 22, from Dagenham, says she’s really excited about 2012 and can’t wait for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

So what does 2012 mean to you? To Christians it is 2012 AD, to some Londoners it is the year of the Olympics, to Royalists and the educationally-challenged it’s The Year of the Golden Jubilee. In the Scottish Conservative calendar, 2012 has been designated the Year of The Short Dumpy Kickboxer, while in the Chinese calendar 2012 is The Year of the Panda.

In ancient Chinese folklore, pandas were rented out at huge cost to gullible governments of small countries on the other side of the World for no obvious benefit to their new hosts. In one of these ancient myths, the leader of the small country embraced the arrival of the pandas so enthusiastically that he grew to look like one himself, developing a fat pointed head and dark eyebrows.

Fortunately, Alex Salmond has so far managed to avoid a photo opportunity with the pandas as it would be incredibly difficult to tell which was which. Of course, as with the Olympics and the Royal pantomime, we are told that this is money well-spent as it will bring in limitless amounts of tourist income. This may well be true, so we should not be surprised later in the year to see millions of Chinese tourists arriving in Edinburgh. They will doubtless be queuing all day in Charlotte Square to observe Alex Salmond in his natural habitat and to wonder when, if ever, he is going to breed.

Meanwhile, in the Labour Calendar, 2012 is The Year of Ed Miliband Coming Out Fighting. This comes as a surprise to many, following so soon after 2011 which was The Year of Ed Miliband Doing Very Little Except Saying “It’s Not Fair”.

The Labour leader has been accused of “lacking direction”. Given his performance in the job to date, one would have thought this could be seen as some kind of a compliment. However, Ed came out all defensive, said that this description of him was “not fair”, and that he is a “Real Man of Steel and Grit”. Steel and Grit? Sounds like a rather frightening prospect. Indeed, it reminds me of the state of the underside of the bodywork on my car after a few hundred miles of winter driving on the M8. Is this not what causes rust?

Miliband then went on to claim he has “a clear plan for the future”. What worries many Labour voters is that his “Clear Plan For The Future” is probably to lose the next General Election. However, credit where credit’s due – as plans go, they don’t come much clearer than that.

Of course, history will view 2012 completely differently. Undoubtedly, it will be seen as the year when the recession really began to bite. Only a couple of days into January, we heard the grim news that Black’s of Greenock were to go into administration. At a time when millions of people throughout the UK are camping out in protest against capitalism, one would have thought that a company whose core business is selling tents would be pretty much recession-proof.

2012 may well go down in history too as the Year of The Great Marmite Strike. A bitter dispute over pensions shows no sign of reaching a solution at Unilever, makers Marmite and Pot Noodles. While the Army may not have to be called in yet, it is not being ruled out.

Obviously if Marmite workers go on strike, not everybody is going to like that. On the BBC News Channel, a spokesperson for Unilever reassured the public that supplies of margarine and Marmite are high enough to withstand a lengthy dispute. Pot Noodle stocks, on the other hand, are already at a critical level. Which means we’ll soon be having student riots on the streets again in 2012.

Of course, what makes history so compelling is its unpredictability. 2010 saw students taking to the streets of London in protest, 2011 saw mass industrial action and demonstration by Public Service Workers, and the anti-capitalist camps throughout the UK. Who could have predicted that the first group to rise up in anger in 2012 would be women with fake boobs ?

David Cameron was quick to respond to the dodgy implants scandal. Having previously decided that we didn’t really need an NHS and that the best course of action was to close it down, he has now decided on a more defining role for it, i.e. patching up bodged jobs done by backstreet cowboy operators claiming to be cosmetic surgeons.

I think the real reason for Cameron’s U-turn is this: it has long looked to me as if Cameron has a massive silicon implant in his forehead. Indeed, it would not surprise me to find out that David Cameron is made entirely from silicon. Perhaps he should re-brand his party as The Silly Cons.

Surprisingly, Magenta, 22, from Dagenham has got nothing to say about the breast implant scandal. Which seems strange, as it is about the one news story in which, if not an expert, she clearly has some personal experience.