As we go to Press, the queue forms to buy the Mirror Group. In it are Lonrho's Tiny Rowland and Frank Barlow, managing director of Pearson, which owns the Financial Times. Lonrho needs a new stream of UK earnings, but we are surprised that the thoughts of Tiny, now 74, have turned again towards newspaper publishing. The Observer, celebrating its bicentennial year, has been useful. It has flattered friends and flattened enemies, without influence from Lonrho, of course. But, we understand, Tiny was finding the paper, whose circulation has fallen from 778,207 to 579,045 in five years, more burden than benefit.
Indeed, he recently offered it to (wait for it) Frank Barlow. His board declined, fearing the pink un's credibility might suffer from The Observer's political pinkness. Obviously, it thinks the Mirror worth a blush or two.