Weekend papers December 20-21, 2014
'Twas Sunday before Christmas and all through the Street, not a robin was stirring, not the hint of a tweet...
Three sprigs of holly, a woman in a Santa suit and one Merry Christmas ribbon are about as festive as our papers get today.
There's been little joy in evidence all weekend: more NHS problems, the obligatory assault on foreigners, a bit of travel, a couple of marriage break-ups and a lot of television. Quite apart from Strictly, Downton, the Apprentice and EastEnders in the "news" space, the puffs see the papers competing to see who can shout loudest about another medium's Christmas offerings. Sixteen of the twenty papers on this page have TV guides as their main selling point. Strange times.
Maybe I'm looking at the past through Baileys-tinted spectacles, but papers on the last weekend before Christmas used to be a mix of good cheer, concern for those less privileged and a healthy dollop of fun all served under a titlepiece dipped in snow. We've always had "jingle tills" and drink (now drug) tests for drivers, but politics usually took a holiday - if not for quite as long as the Westminster crew who decamp until the snowdrops are well established.
Today, though, we have another NHS crisis, the doubling of ambulance waiting times and a GP black hole.
Most dismaying of all is the Sun's splash. It's a real jaw-dropper of an exclusive.
Far and away the strongest news story of the weekend, it is also the one almost nobody would have wished to see.
Happy Christmas everyone.
Saturday 20 December, 2014
By any yardstick this is a big story. But not, to judge from today's front pages, as big as the NHS populating hospital wards with foreign nurses or slightly cheaper petrol. Indeed, the possibility of life on Mars is more compelling for the Telegraph than the reality of loss of life on Earth.
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