Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Creature of Habit

I am a creature of habit. Each morning, after a quick visit to the washroom (normally), I sit and read The Edmonton Journal online (it takes just a few moments, since there is rarely any news of interest), the BBC World News and UK news/politics, the Toronto Star and the Daily Telegraph. Of these, the Telegraph is the richest and most meaningful.

With the Telegraph, I begin with obituaries (Lord Aberdare died this week - I knew him through my long involvement with the University of Wales - he lived on his estates in Duffyrn in Dyfed, a most beautiful part of Wales and was a former conservative Minister with Sir Keith Joseph. His son Alistair and I were friends, and he now succeeds to the title). Then I read their accounts of the news, in particular their views of British news and Prime Minister Tony Blair (known more commonly as Bliar or Blurr). I have always found the writing in the Telegraph to be of the highest quality - clearly biased, conservative and sometimes reactionary. Its book reviews, analysis and commentary are amongst the best. Now that The Times has dumbed down to the point of resembling The National Enquirer, there are just two choices of sound newspapers - The Independent and The Daily Telegraph left in Britain. The Guardian, which some would argue is another choice, is just so annoyingly "correct" and liberal, that I find it increasingly unreadable.

The difference between news reporting in the UK and in Canada is significant. With the possible exception of The Toronto Star, our newspapers in Canada are focused on reporting rather than analysis; on telling the simplest story rather than offering an interpretation of the story. There is also a "herd" instinct in the press here - Bush is wrong, for example - where there is more variety of views in the UK press. Most importantly, writing in the British press seems to me of a higher quality.

My other morning habits are coffee, checking email and listening to CBC before doing anything serious.

Weekly, I read The Spectator - Britain's oldest political/arts magazine, now edited by Boris Johnson MP (garralous, brigand like intelligent MP who also writes for The Telegraph). Its a wicked, right wing, clever and insightful analysis of what is going on world-wide with views that usually shake the grey matter. Well worth the cost.

I often wonder, especially now as I get older (Lynne has become eligible for senior discounts at the wine store and gymn and I can't be far behind), whether these habits will persist. Hopefully, I am creative enough to invent new habits. We'll see.

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