Today I am bringing you a bit more of the extraordinary case in the High Court in which a newspaper reader is taking his own favourite paper to court. George BR Higgs claims that the Daily Post is no longer a newspaper in the real sense of the word and should not be allowed to call itself such.
Higgs has just taken the witness stand.
Counsel: Now, Mr Higgs, you have been reading the Daily Post for how long? Higgs: About 20 years. Counsel: Have you noticed any changes in the Daily Post over those years? Higgs: Yes. It has acquired a Property section, a Motoring section, a Jobs section, a Media section, an Appointments section, a Travel section, a Holiday section, an Education section, a Gardening section . . . Counsel: Just a moment, just a moment. What is the difference between a Jobs section and an Appointments section? They sound the same to me. Higgs: Oh, they are, but one is downmarket and one is upmarket. The same with overseas sections; Holiday is downmarket and Travel is upmarket. Cars is down, Motoring is upmarket . . . Judge: Up which market? Counsel: The marketplace of public taste, m'lud. Judge: Ah. Has the public got any taste? Counsel: No, my Lord. Judge: I see. Carry on, and try to make it easier to understand. Counsel: Now, all these sections which have sprouted in the Daily Post over the years, what do you do with them? Higgs: I throw them away. Counsel: Why cannot you use them for drawer-lining or fire- lighting? Higgs: I cannot line drawers or light fires as fast as the Daily Post can produce sections. Counsel: Hmm . . . So what do you have left when you have thrown away the other sections? The news, surely? Higgs: This used to be true. But there is no longer any news in the paper. Counsel: What do you find instead? Higgs: Columns of opinion. Columns of commentary. Letters from readers. Obituaries. Reports of sports events. Counsel: Surely sports reports are news items? Higgs: Occasionally. But most sports items are merely speculation about the future. "England have good chance in West Indies". "Ian Wright doubtful for big match". "`We can do it,' says Seve." It's not news. It's useless gazing into a clouded crystal ball. …