In view of the fact that we seem to be experiencing a kind of late
silly season this year (brought on, no doubt, by the Indian summer
we’ve enjoyed) I avert my gaze from what Press Gazette’s editor
solemnly terms The Issue of the Week to introduce a new, occasional
reader service: I intend to call it FUQ. FUQ owes its acronym to the
computer geeks who gave us FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). In my
case I offer the stickier type: Frequently Unanswered Questions.
it? Good – then here goes… FUQ: Was the media being unfair to David
Blunkett (pictured) in pursuing the Little Lad’s Dad over his purchase
of shares and acceptance of a directorship in DNA BioScience?
No. When I was editor of the Daily Mirror (before City Slickers was
even a gleam in some financial journalist’s eye) a senior executive
“confessed” to me that he held a large number of shares in a rival
newspaper company for which he had previously worked.
ethical? he inquired. I put the question to the company secretary who,
while reassuring the employee that the matter was acceptable to Mirror
Group, minuted details of the inquiry so that all would be seen to be
Moral: if red-top rascals like us saw the potential
for a conflict of interest then why couldn’t an accident-prone cabinet
minister spot one?
FUQ: I was pleased when The Sun’s page 3 totty
was relegated to the back of the book earlier this week, but why was it
back on page 3 two days later?
A: Simple, sister. Totty is as
important to The Sun as stairlifts and Dora Bryan are to the Telegraph.
Rupert Murdoch (left) was in town on Tuesday, page 3 was back in place
on Wednesday. Oi! Oi!
Moral: Women in Journalism 0, Murdoch 1.
FUQ: Are you perfect in every journalistic way, Banksy?
I confess that I was beginning to think so, particularly when I wrote a
piece about The Sun’s new Monday Morning Feeling columnist Kelvin
MacKenzie and some of his recent predecessors, including one “Fergus
That’s when the following email from the hobnailed boot
of John Patrick, one of Fleet Street’s finest sub-editors, caught me in
the derriere: “Banksy, you wombat, Fergus Linnane hasn’t worked for The
Sun in any capacity for about 30 years and is now a respected author of
books on the London underworld. Perhaps you were referring to Fergus
Cashin (although he’s dead). Or Sun exec Fergus Shanahan?
It’s all so confusing to an old timer. Regards, JP.”
Moral: Apologise to Ferguses Linnane and Shanahan for the mix-up. And FUJP!