Reading the online Guardian these days feels a bit like accepting a drink from someone you know is on the road to bankruptcy; behind the jovial bonhomie and the devil-may-care cameraderie lies a mess of red ink and unpaid bills. You wonder if you're doing better going along with it, to maintain morale, or whether you should icily decline with some pious words about frugality. The new censorship that has earned the paper so much opprobrium is, I'm sure, part of it; even the cost of employing comment moderators is bleeding the loss-making concern to death. Soon the paper's few remaining columnists will have to moderate their own comments.
The Mail on the other hand is going from strength to strength. Dominic Sandbrook's lengthy and considered piece this morning on the absurdity of Federast aspirations parks the paper's tanks firmly on the Telegraph's lawn. If the Telegraph is still paying Boris £250k a year for his columns, someone needs to tell them they're not getting much bang for their bucks. He's become like those castrated new Chinese fireworks that meet the noise regulations, offering a sort of muffled 'pop' instead of the air-splitting crack and blast you were hoping for.
The Guardian's headline piece supporting Assange, 'Sweet victory soured by British and Swedish rejection' declares that Assange is being 'arbitrarily detained' and offers the Guardian's full support for his position. The editors have hidden a far more sensible piece by legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg deep in the opinion section; Rozenberg says the British and Swedish are quite right, that Assange has imprisoned himself. Some 1,600 comments support him. It's actually something of a miracle that his piece, headed 'How did the UN get it so wrong?' appears at all under the new censorious book-burning regime. I bet it's not there for long.
Now I wonder if the Mail's A&R men aren't already making discreet approaches to Rozenberg, and to Heffer also for that matter, with a view to improving the pedigree bloodstock even further ...