Dog watches dog 04.03.05

The Sun tarts up Whitehaven News exclusive

News editor David Siddall wrote the Whitehaven News’ front page
exclusive on 24 February, that one of the seven candidates for the
Copeland parliamentary seat for Labour was a former Paris tart.

(It was the same week the paper gave away free hot cross buns…
buns and tarts in one edition!) Imagine his surprise when he picked up
The Sun the next day to find it had the very same story, claimed as an
exclusive for Robin Perrie and Andrew Parker.


Television viewers can relax – they won’t be expected to curtsy every
time the station’s news and current affairs anchorwoman Fiona Armstrong
appears on their screens after her spring wedding.

Armstrong, the
former ITN and GMTV presenter, is to wed Major Sir Malcolm MacGregor of
MacGregor, 7th Baronet, and the 24th chief of the Clan MacGregor, in

Although Armstrong, 46, will be known as Lady MacGregor
after the nuptials, she has made it known she has no plans to leave
Carlisle-based Border TV and will not be using her new title

The presenter, who met her future husband through
their common passion for salmon fishing, is herself a bit of a
celebrity in the world of clans.

Sadly, the Armstrong Clan has
been without a chief since 1611, and Fiona has duly served a period as
its chairman, and is now a director of the Armstrong Clan Trust.

the demure Armstrong: “I have been very involved in the Armstrong Clan
for the past 20 years and we were always considered the biggest and
most ferocious of the Borders clans – and the MacGregors had the same
reputation in the Highlands.

“Our family histories go back a long, long way but our marriage is bringing the Borders and Highlanders together.”


Where have they gone, the great beards of yesteryear? When men were
men and the newsrooms of Britain positively sprouted with facial hair.

Presumably consigned to the barber’s floor of history, like hot metal and decent wages.

the Beard Liberation Front, an informal network of beard wearers, has
launched a hunt for the most hirsute editor of a national or regional
newspaper in the UK to counter what it describes as “media
beardism–irrational prejudice against facial hair” which it claims will
be a “major issue in the general election”.

Its founder Keith
Flett, archetypal beardie leftie and prodigious contributor of letters
to The Guardian , claims that hairy editors will not only order more
sympathetic coverage of beard stories, but also give their publications
greater gravitas.

The BLF’s frankly rather scant shortlist so far
includes the FT’s Andrew Gowers, The Independent’s Simon Kelner and the
Morning Star’s John Haylett. However, it acknowledges its regional
press data is somewhat lacking.

So Dog can suggest chin-covered
champions such as Nigel Pickover of the Ipswich Evening Star , Perry
Austin Clarke of the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, the Rotherham
Advertiser’s Doug Melloy and Malcolm Warne of the Darlington and
Stockton Times.

Flett says: “We are determined to find the most hirsute editor and honour him accordingly.

for the clean-shaven editors, such as Alan Rusbridger at the supposedly
beardfriendly Guardian , it is never too late to grow a beard.”

To add to Dog’s Hirsute Hall of Fame, send us your nominations and we’ll make sure the BLF gets them.


The nationals went to town this week on just-released top-secret
files revealing that nearly 90 years ago Arthur Ransome – then working
as a reporter in Russia and later to become the acclaimed author of
children’s classic Swallows and Amazons – was suspected of being a
dangerous Bolshevik.

In fact, the whole story was discussed in a self-published book Ransome in Russia by Ted Alexander and Tatiana Verizhnikova.

recorded that Ransome was summoned to Scotland Yard, where a senior
special branch officer asked what his politics were. “Fishing,” Ransome

A full review of Ransome In Russia – complete with
picture of Ransome in a Russian army cap – appeared in the Westmoreland
Gazette last April.

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