Thursday, October 19, 2006

Two little letters that guarantee I won't read on

I'll read anything. No, really, I will. If I'm having breakfast, and there's nothing else to hand, I'll study the ingredients on the back of the cereal packet. But one thing I never read is anything headed with the letters MP. If it's by a serving (or recently retired) politician, I'm just not interested.

The obvious explanation is that I don't enjoy being lied to, but actually, there's a bit more to it than that. I could probably put up with bare-faced untruths; but what I can't stand is the crushing sense of predictability when politicians hold forth. Before you've read a word, you know precisely what they are going to say. Whatever the issue they are writing about, they know the party line, and the chances of their deviating from it are roughly comparable to those of Wayne Rooney announcing his intention to leave Manchester United, in order to study Renaissance Art at the Courtauld Institute.

Writing which holds no possibility of surprising or enlightening us gives us no reason whatever to read on. Not even those of us who are hopelessly addicted to the written word.


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