Ten headlines and what they said about the tabloid media and the British public.
1. “All Change” – Britain’s switch to a decimal currency. It said: The British enact change with a stiff upper lip, emotional repression and an enduring stench of tweed suits.
2. “World War Two Bomber Found On Moon”. Sunday Sport tall story. It said: Sport editor Tony Livesey is perhaps the funniest man alive. In his own mind; or at least that part of his mind that isn’t a rancid cesspool of pornography, lies and delusions.
3. “Down and Out” – Mike Tyson knocked out, Nelson Mandela released. It said: Some people do regard sport as more interesting than politics.
4. “Vile” – The Mirror get duped and accuse British soldiers of maltreating Iraqi prisoners. It said: If you’re going to be duped by a transparent hoax make sure that you temper your front page outrage or else your editor will get the sack.
5. David Mellor making love to Antonia De Sanches in his Chelsea strip. It said: A fat, ugly, bespectacled Tory waddling around the bedroom while ogling a young-ish woman in the belief that she’s courting him for his looks still is far more dignified than every single atom in Peter Kenyon’s body.
6. “Charlie’s girl” – Diana Spencer is photographed in a see-through skirt. It said: The hounding of Princess Diana, part one. The press, manifested as a sniper, finds a comfortable plot of grass to lie on.
7. “Oh no they elected Kenny” – Ken Livingstone becomes London mayor. It said: If you want to mix subversive cartoons with politics, please don’t do so to prop up the lame candidates from the political establishment’s efforts; especially when they lose to the most subversive politician in the land.
8. “These evil bastards” – Lord Mountbatten murdered by the IRA. It said: As ‘Bastards’ was employed exclusively because the tragic victims were members of the aristocracy, it was apparent that in the late 70s the spilling of blueblood was still far more emotive than any of the thousands of others who had died in the Troubles.
9. “10 heroic lions one stupid boy” – David Beckham sent off in the World Cup. It said: Find a scapegoat to excuse England not winning the World Cup. Of course, if Beckham hadn’t been sent off our proud nation would have swept to the Stade De France to play the hosts, Jerusalem bellowed by a beery choir of tanned yobbery and lifted the World Cup. With David Batty in midfield.
10. “Do you seriously want this old man to run Britain” – Labour leader Michael Foot’s career is torpedoed. It said: A cheap stunt to discredit a politician who hasn’t had the spine of his moral spirit snapped by being coerced into wearing the working man’s coffin of a smart suit and tie. If stylists existed in Christ’s time and were crucified, their main concern would be to wear red cufflinks so it didn’t clash with the blood pumping from their wrists.