From now on I'll be restricting my reading in print to the following journals – The Economist, New Scientist, Private Eye and The Catholic Herald, where you find some of the best and most intelligent writing and analysis. My daily news intake I will get online in future.
Similarly, I’m about to change habit of the past 30 years and stop listening to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme each morning. I’m just not any more sufficiently interested in its main ingredients …Westminister politics, middle class “humour” and the literary pontificating of James Naughtie.
I think Naughtie is off to offer his tedious insights in the Scottish referendum on independence soon. I won’t be listening to that, either. And while the Today programme’s new presenter Mishal Husain is actually rather good, her presence is not enough to save the show as a daily part of my life, Monday to Saturdays.
Take this morning’s offering from Today (Monday 7 October 2013). It was especially bad at the tail end. Shaun Keaveny made what was supposed to be a wry, amusing plea for the Glastonbury music festival to be switched from being a summer to a winter event.
The “peg” for that item was the likely move of the Qatar football Word Cup 2022 from a summer event to a winter one. Pathetic. Almost as pathetic as the main test for standing up a news story on BBC Radio 4, namely – “errr, has it been in The Guardian?”
Keaveny’s piece made me cringe. It was pisspoor colour-writing – formulaic and predictable. It even included a suck-up reference to John Humphries, which Humphries wisely chose not to respond to.
The only thing that the Today programme is good at these days is crashing the pips.