thinking about archaeology

Dr Mr Cameron

Times Diary

I read in today’s Times that you apparently believe the Guardian is a paper fit only for burning. I’d like to think the columnist got something wrong – after all, you can’t trust everything you read in the press. But this is The Times. Did you really mean that?

I have a soft spot for the Guardian, and I admit that is not just for the quality of its international reporting. Over the years as an occasional journalist, I have been advised by several Guardian editors, and the paper has accepted more of my pieces than any other (I have had my byline in other titles, including the Mail, Express, Telegraph, and yes, the Times, but none has been as helpful to me).

So if you don’t read the Guardian, Mr Cameron, you are missing most of my informative and sometimes opinionated contributions on heritage and archaeology, and that concerns me! Please try the Guardian again!

Of course it has its silly pieces, and none of us would be surprised to know these tend to lean to the left. But every paper has its silliness. If you based your reading criteria on avoiding extremes in any paper, you’d end up reading none.

So I wonder, Mr Cameron, which papers you do read?

climate change denial

The Telegraph? The paper which recently ran a piece headed, “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever”? An online questionnaire was appended, asking, “Has global warming been exaggerated by scientists?” I voted No (you’d have to be out of touch with reality to vote Yes), but then found that of 78,850 votes, less than 5,000 had also been Yes.

The Times, perhaps? The paper in which Melanie Phillips defended torture. “There is a difference between what torturers do”, she wrote, “and what is done by democracies to protect themselves against attack. Tyrannies torture their own people and their enemies… But sometimes it is a moral imperative to use limited ill-treatment if the purpose is to save innocent lives.”

The Independent’s independent view on one of your recent electoral promises (not to raise taxes) was that it was “foolish”. Into the box for winter fires.

Or the Sun? It wants people to vote for you, so perhaps this will pass muster. But you would have to tear out the pages featuring Katie Hopkins calling migrants cockroaches, and other sillinesses.

So which is it, Mr Cameron? Or do you not read any of them?

Yours sincerely

Mike Pitts

PS Please let me know if you’d like to read any of my Guardian pieces, and I would be delighted to supply copies.

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