I rarely even glance at the Times newspaper any more, let alone buy a copy.
It’s tone, worldview and content have not changed one iota for at least 20 years. It’s boring. No wonder its circulation has halved since 2000.
But needs must when the devil drives. Saturday’s i newspaper was sold out so I gave the Times a go.
Needn’t have bothered. Same old predictable consumerist bullshit as always. With the added misery of repeated pandering to the virus restrictions, which are now plainly past their sell-by date.
Every writer on paper, it seems, has do their bit of fearmongering. Though some of them are pathetically, transparently bad at it.
Robert Crampton, whose ageing portrait photo alongside his weekly column in the magazine is one of the few signs of the years going by at the paper, is one of the crap ones.
In this week’s column he wrote at length about his 25 year history of cycling recklessly – his own description – around London. Taking risks “at traffic lights, at junctions, by going too fast on the outside of stationary traffic, but the risk was self-imposed in a spirit of adventure, exhilaration and, yeah, machismo.”
Riding like a twat, in other words.
He stopped riding a few years ago because it became too popular with people whom Crampton describes, in a spectacularly un-self-aware postscript to his previous description of himself, as “nutters and poseurs”.
But now he’s thinking of getting back in the saddle. Why? Well, we can easily guess, can’t we children? Because “the virus is a tipping point” and now he’s “more scared of getting on the bus.”
This is clearly someone who couldn’t understand or respond correctly to risk if it was flavoured with ambrosia and fed to him slowly by a very patient angel.
The virus outbreak in London is on its last legs. Daily deaths are in single figures. Around one in five Londoners – nearly two million people – is estimated to have antibodies. Most of them didn’t realise they’d been infected, because coronavirus Is Not Serious for the vast majority of people, as Number 10 has repeatedly confirmed at its daily briefings:
But even though the risk of coming into contact with the virus on a London bus is already negligible, Robert proudly declares he is too scared to get on one.
As a cyclist, though, he’ll have a roughly one-in-16-million chance of dying while making a journey in the capital over the next year.
In comparison, the odds against dying in a road accident while on a bus journey in London over the next 12 months are two billion to one (based on 177 million bus journeys per month and one fatality in the 2018 data).
125 times less likely to kill you than riding a bike.
It’s a measure of how totally overblown the media fearmongering over COVID-19 continues to be that an Oxford-educated person, smart enough to hold on to a plum job in Fleet Street for many years, is happy – or foolish – enough to beat his chest in public about his decision to increase his risk of dying from commuting by a factor of 125.
Or possibly higher if he goes back to riding like a twat.