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January 29, 2013


Shackleford Hurtmore

But what I don't understand is why it is the only British newspaper I can easily buy here in New Zealand? Is it because people who have emigrated want to remember the "old country" as a shit-hole they were lucky to escape (to validate the decision they have made), or is it because Dirty Desmond is the only crackpot to throw money at printing over here? Personally, I'd much rather have the Independent, the Grauniad or even, god forbid, The Telegraph than the bloody Express.
Also, if anyone finds this message, please send proper tea bags.


The Daily Express has been going downhill since they ceased having Princess Diana on their front page everyday.


My sister & brother-in-law emigrated to NZ 20 years ago; it was mainly his idea, and if you asked him why they were doing it all he'd ever say was "This country's finished - there's nothing here for us" or words to that effect. I never found out what he meant by that - and, with no actual jobs lined up and with only British qualifications, there was sod-all for them in NZ, particularly post-Rogernomics. (They stuck it out, though.) Maybe it's a general thing, and NZ appeals to Brits who are generally embittered about everything. ("Think the country's gone down the tubes? Sick of never seeing the sun? Afraid the Aussies would call you a whinger? Then come to New Zealand!")

chris y

The Daily Express has been going downhill since they ceased having Princess Diana on their front page everyday.

Surely the Eye was calling it the Daily Getsmuchworse for longer than that - since the 70s at least.


That said, have you ever met a New Zealander you disliked?


The 70s Express consistently appealed to horrible know-nothing reactionary sentiments, the Sunday Express even more so (remember John Junor?). I always preferred it to the Mail - it wasn't so clever; you felt it was written by genuine ignorant bigots, not by cynics framing stories to appeal to ignorant bigots. (That was the enduring fascination of Sir Jonah, as with Peter Simple in the Telegraph - horrible stuff, but you always felt there was a brain in there somewhere.) As such it had a very different look and feel to the contemporary paper, which is starting to look like a cynical rip-off of the Mail.

But the other thing that's changed is the readership - the fearful lower-middle-class pensioners of the 1970s aren't buying papers any more, so the paper's got to pitch to their kids' generation. It's a bit like Radio 2.

Charlie W

Can't see much clear blue water between the Express and the Telegraph, tbh. The main difference seems to be that the Telegraph gets a few more of those things onto its front page at once. There's always a pic of Kate Middleton, a Battle Of Britain or army related story (could be an obituary), something about cars, something about Europe. On odd days of the month: something about a health scare.

Health scares are also the principal stock in trade of the Mail. Although I have to admit that the Mail's web site is actually innovative, if horrible, and I'm told they've gotten a US readership.

Charlie W

Had another go on the Mail's web site just now. Scroll down (and it's a long scroll) at a reasonable rate, and you'll likely get slightly dizzy and nauseous. Think it's the massive clickable headlines that have bold words RIGHT IN them. Get all the way to the bottom today, you'll find a nice story about volunteers filling in Google's map of North Korea.

Richard J

That said, have you ever met a New Zealander you disliked?

Actually, yes. But mainly because she never did the fucking washing up in a shared flat.

I do remember an actual Express book review from the 80s of a rather trivial book about the topic of 'Can elephants feel emotions?'. If memory serves me right the review in its entirety was pretty much 'Don't be so bloody silly; I shot plenty of them, and I never saw another elephant look upset.'

Richard J

And, the Express's current John Junor, Leo McKinstry's books on the Spitfire and Lancaster are surprisingly non-swivel eyed.

Chris Williams

There was a great time in the 1990s when the Telegraph's military obits were working their way through people who had been Majors, Lt-Cols, Commanders, etc, in WW2: this was an education, since there was often a chance that their big day was the kind of event that didn't make the cut for most histories, but were nevertheless quite significant. By now we're largely at subalterns, Pilot Officers, etc, whose big days were quite obscure.

Richard J

Well, the median age for a WW2 veteran is now 92, and even a 14-year old with a bicycle and a Panzerfaust , be, what, 83 or so now?

(AIUI, about 700 US veterans die every day these days, which compares interestingly with the daily average combat+non-combat deaths in the war itself of c. 300)

Barry Freed

Old age is the new Omaha Beach.

john b

"Sick of never seeing the sun? Then come to New Zealand!"

This would be an unfortunate logical step.

Also, some of the very most unpleasant people I've met in London (as well as the nicest) have been Kiwis. In Sydney, the extremes seem far more blunted.

Shackleford Hurtmore

Okay, I feel the need to defend the move to New Zealand now. Similar job, similar money, similar taxes, similar language; just more living space, friendlier people, and better weather. Plus married a kiwi so not much visa paperwork involved compared to Canada.
Also, if you want people from New Zealand to dislike, we've got loads of South African immigrants who seem obsessed with owning Mercedes cars and driving like pricks.
The parallels between the National Party in NZ and the Conservative Party in the UK are startling, apart from one major difference. In the UK, everything is blamed on "lazy immigrants". In NZ, everything is blamed on "lazy Maoris" who were actually here first. Surprised the Maoris don't wave placards saying "Pakehas go home" at protests to be honest.


Yeah I actually have no bloody idea why the hell we get the Express. (Although hang on wait a minute. If you're standing at the checkout in Browns Bay Foodtown and you think, oh, I really want to buy a paper, but I don't want to get the Herald then (a) you're weird and old because who buys papers? and (c) you're too reactionary and crochety for the Herald, which is a pretty slim sliver of a market.


Hmm, from the sounds of it we might be able to organise a B&T meetup downunder before the London one happens...

Did you miss out a (b) there Keir? Frankly, NZ newspapers are terrible, although the regional papers seem pretty good on local stories.

Shackleford, I don't think even the most extreme Māori activist is interested in kicking out the Pākehā. Waving placards like that around would be massively counter-productive for them. Tino Rangatiratanga is a hard-enough goal as it is, and frightening enough to middle NZ for those who want to cause a ruckus.

That said, there used to be a strong anti-immigration tendency within Māori politics, including some of the more radical branches. No doubt still is; I'm a bit out of touch, but the impression I have is that "The Chinese" are the go-to scapegoat for unpleasant people of all varieties these days.


I didn't know McKinstry was an Express man; I thought his Spitfire book rather good, and his Hurricane book perfectly ok. I've not read the Lanc book, but will pick it up if I come across it. The major thing that marred his books for me is his cargo-cult approach to referencing; there's about 40 pages of scholarly apparatus at the back of each book that is entirely useless, because he doesn't give page numbers when citing a source.


I personally prefer Mikael Laugesen's Ekspres.

But who remembers Rosie Boycott's short reign, where it relaunched as a Labour-supporting affair? (To be as The Mirror to The Sun, so to speak.) I think it lasted about 3 months?

I saw a copy once and thought it was surprisingly good - so the loyal readership must have been haemorrhaging and the old lag hacks going mental.

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