The misanthrope’s advent calendar – day 12

by Pseud O'Nym

One thing I hate about christmas – and there are many – is news. Or rather the trimmed down version of news that I get.

I write ‘I’ because I’m not so arrogant as to believe that everyone else believes that television news isn’t proper news – it uses lazy, often clichéd imagery to save the reporter from providing a coherent explanation into whatever item is deemed worthy of a three-minute inclusion.

By proper news I mean radio news, and by radio I mean Radio 4.The news on the radio is basically designed for people who’ve been paying attention to things and can retain previously imparted knowledge. This isn’t me being condescending either; watch the ‘Six O’clock News’ on BBC1 and then listen to the same days ‘Six O’clock New’ on Radio 4 on iPlayer. You’ll find it vastly superior in every way, unless you’re a mental pygmy.

However, news is trimmed back, somehow not as important at christmas than for the rest of the year for some wholly inexplicable reason. Does news happen if there’s no-one to report it? Has something actually happened? The news over christmas is neatly packaged into ten minute slots, which is insult enough, but then to add injury to it they use some of that precious time foe ‘sports news’: an oxymoron if ever there was one! It’s bad enough that the undisputed excellence of ‘Today in Parliament’ isn’t on, but going without ‘The World Tonight’ well, that’s just not on.

I should come clean about the only time I’ve written to Radio 4 to complain. A new controller had come in, and in order to signal his determination to shake things up, he’d changed ‘The Archers’ place in the schedules and in so doing, had taken fifteen minutes off ‘The World At One’ There was uproar, but only because he’d moved ‘The Archers” To me, the news is just like a soap opera, albeit one for people who want to keep informed.

But this christmas is going to be even worse than usual for news, following Monday’s ignominious goings on in Parliament. For ever since the public decided that yes, we’d rather like to be shot of the E.U, the BBC has had a succession of self-inflating windbags discussing how much of a disaster it will be. I mean, has anyone explained in clearly understandable language that an adult of average intelligence might comprehend exactly how and why the current proposal is so bad? Quite possibly it is, but equally possibly it may not

The BBC has been recently promoting the idea that the public have somehow shot themselves in the foot. Yesterday was a good example of this, discussing the consequences of something to do with Brexit. I think how a second referendum might happen was one of them, a general election another, and the sky falling in an increasingly likely possibility, despite the fact that, as far as I can tell, the only people who want a second referendum are the people who lost the first one. Guardian readers, who believe in democracy, but only if it gives the result they want.

I used to marvel the mindset of families and friends who’d fallen out because of the bitter divisions the Scottish Referendum unleashed.

Not any more.

Is news.