Friday, April 28, 2006

Big story, please

You are probably as unmoved as I am by the rage and rumble surrounding British Home Secretary Charles Clark, and the lesser pileups of the outraged over Patricia Hewitt and John Prescott. What's more interesting is the tone of news reports and interviews. There's a barely suppressed eagerness to see something 'big' happen, continual anticipations of what will be decisive in bringing about the big event, feverish imaginings of what it may all lead to. The unspoken question colours all - is this the end? for Blair? for the government?

I'm sure there's a natural lifespan for a government, one that passes from ham-fisted vigour to measured control and so to accident-prone self-decapitation. I'm sure there are many sophisticated means of analysing this. But there's one factor that is not often mentioned, but that must play a huge part: boredom. The public get bored with the same faces on TV, the same tone of voice, the same campaigning phrases. More importantly, the hacks get bored and, quite apart from the ever-present imperative to tell a 'big' story, just want a change so they can tell a different story.

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