At our recent meeting we got on dangerous ground when one of our members asked what we thought of our local newspapers and was there anything we could do to improve them.
As usual we heard stories about what it was like in “the good old days”.
We appreciate that the problems of the newspaper industry in general are bound to affect our local ones as well.
Someone stated that the papers were still the best - for lighting fires and for keeping fish and chips warm.
But we didn’t feel that was a major contribution to our cogitations as to how we could liven up the content.
Then someone said that he used to buy the paper that had the topless lady on page three but has stopped getting it now because his glasses always steamed up.
There were the usual suggestions as to what he should do, none of which were relative as to how we could improve the papers.
Then at last there was a major breakthrough when someone suggested a column of “Ask the...” and you could insert a variety of subjects such as: doctor, police, council, solicitor or STD clinic.
This was then refined to be called the agony aunt column similar to the one presided over in the past by Marjorie Proops.
Not only was this suggestion approved by all but we agreed that we had enough experience to be able to deal with most of the problems ourselves and could save the papers much time and possible expense if they let us do it.
An example of how capable we might be came up during the meeting when one member said he had a problem.
He explained that the date of his golden wedding anniversary was coming up soon and he didn’t know what to do.
Quick as a flash he was asked what he did on his silver wedding and it was suggested it would be nice to do something similar.
He said that on his silver wedding he had taken his wife to visit her sister in London.
After a few moments’ thought he thanked us for our help and then announced that he knew what he was going to do. He would go to London and fetch her back.
The main question asked though was whether we get the full story from most of the articles appearing in the papers or are we just getting one side’s spin.
There was a recent article from the police explaining what they would do if you had a break in.
Answer — tell you how to prevent it happening again.
Response please from people who have been broken into.
There are statements from the council telling us what they are doing about this that and the other.
Response please from people who know the areas where they are doing nothing.
We read about the wonderful work the agencies have done with the flood alleviation scheme.
What about a picture of the black streaks down most of the recently built stonework?
Could someone ask them why they didn’t ribbon point the top of the walls?
And why the small lakes on Rochdale Road when it rains?
There are of course many people who do write letters to the editor, some nearly every week, and those in particular have become entirely predictable.
But the paper prints numerous implorations to send in your views on a wide range of subjects.
We should not complain, but sustain to maintain.
Over to you.