Alex Massie

Newspapers, Mrs Rochester and a Presumption of Literacy

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Sometimes, you know, stuff appears in the newspapers that offers just a smidgen of hope. Consider this tidbit from the Guardian's account of the oh-so-entertaining revelations in Andrew Rawnsley's new book. At the time of the botched 2006 attempt to topple Tony Blair:

In the middle of the coup, the former welfare minister Frank Field went to No 10 to plead with Blair not to give way to Brown. "You can't go yet. You can't let Mrs Rochester out of the attic," he said.

Rawnsley writes: "Blair roared with laughter."

The grounds for hope, you see, lie in the fact that the Guardian doesn't feel it necessary to explain the Mrs Rochester reference. The New York Times, by contrast, does. Even on its books pages.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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