Alex Massie

You’ll Never Beat the British Journalist

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American readers may (or may not!) be comforted to know that the newspaper responsible for this masterpiece (written, I'm pleased to see, by Andrew Malone) is one of the two most powerful papers in the country.

Even by the Daily Mail's lofty standards, this is a classic, and I'm indebted to John Rentoul for bringing it to my attention. As is his wont he concludes that the answer is - as tends to be case with any headline that ends in a question mark - 'No'. But surely this shows a sad lack of imagination upon his part?

Then again, I'm also pleased to see that Mr Malone was able to find just the right kind of expert who could sum up the whole strange tale perfectly:

As one expert said: 'Even if Gottlieb wasn't involved, he'd wish he had been.

'The chance to drive a whole bunch of Frenchman crazy with drugs would have been a dream for him. He was a classic evil genius. He'll be laughing about it - in Hell.'

Brilliant, you will agree.

If Mike Tryson's declaration that "I never hurt anybody until somebody hurt one of my birds," (he's referring to pigeons, not broads) is an obvious candidate for Best Magnificent, Too Good, Not At All Engineered or Anything Tabloid Quote of the Year then "Even if Gottlieb wasn't involved, he'd wish he had been" is a candidate for its sister bauble, the Sly, Premise-Undermining But What the Hell It's All Good Fun and Who Cares Anyway? Tabloid Quote of the Year.

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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