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Graun Aid: Don't They Know It's Christmas 2.0?

Reg readers pen charity single for troubled newspaper

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Competition Earlier this week we reported Guardian veteran David Leigh's big idea to save his job the British newspaper industry.

The Seventies throwback proposed that every broadband subscriber in the country should pay ten per cent more for their internet, around £2 a month, with money going to dead tree media based on their web circulation. The evil Times newspaper, which is experimenting with the radical concept of making actual readers pay a little bit of money for their news, would be excluded.

The idea caused something very rare on the Guardian's comment forums: complete and utter agreement - against the idea.

Long-standing Guardian readers objected to money being raised to pay for the successful Daily Mail and Sun, while almost everyone else objected on the grounds that the general public should not be taxed to subsidise the Guardian's own incompetence. Leigh's kite was ridiculed on the internet, too, where the irony of the public bailing out "The One Per Cent" was not missed.

(There are 20 million households with broadband access in the UK who would face a price increase, yet the Graun's weekday newsprint circulation is under 180,000.)

Political blogger Guido called it the newspaper's "Poll Tax Moment" while Hugo Rifkind in the Spectator pointed out there is already a poll tax for news called the TV Licence.

"One has to wonder what David Leigh thinks the Guardian will do that the BBC won't. Other than, perhaps, employ David Leigh," he mused.

Twitter wit Celestial Weazel was on hand with a solution: this crisis called for a charity single, Graun Aid if you like, and so we set Reg readers the task of penning some updated lyrics to the Geldof classic.

Thanks to Anton Channing for making a decent stab at it, but there were two outstanding candidates. First, here's Rob Lyons:

Guardian website, there's no need for you to pay
Guardian website, they'll even let you have your say
Cos in this world of trendies, let's spread those liberal views
Give it all away for free, at log-on time

Polly Toynbee, George Monbi-oh-woah
At log-on time, they'll soon put paid to you having fun
There's a world outside the window
But it's an echo chamber in here
Where the only views allowed are
A bitter stream of PC-ers
Where the falling sales of papers
Are the clanging chimes of doom
But tonight, thank god they're still not charging you…

Well there won't be King's Place parties this Christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is their jobs
Where sales figures never grow
Council job ads don't show
Do they know how the world works at all?

Here's to you, for whom this paper's made
Here's to them, leaching off the auto trade
Do they know how the world works at all?

Free those words!
(Do they know how the world works at all?) (to fade)

And here's one from Andy Harrison, down under:

It's Handout-Time, there's no need to be a maid.
At Handout-Time, just chillax, we'll all get paid.
And in your world of plenty, you can spare some pocket change
Throw all your Alms here at us, at Handout-Time

[Cue Phil Collins]

But spare a thought - think of the journalists
At Handout-time it's easy, just like readin' The Sun
There's a world inside your PC
And it's a world of freebie pr0n
Where the only traffic growing is the bots from Grayvoron*
And the Unicorn stopped grazing, 'cos grass isn't cheap to grow
[Who cares?!]  For us to-night there's steak, instead of stew

And there will be blow in King's Place this Handout-Time
The greatest gift they'll get this year's a line
[Oh ho]  Where rev-en-ue doesn't grow
Cos our ads have failed to show

Do you know it's Handout-Time at all?

Here's to us
Raise your taxes just for me
Here's to you
Just because you surf the net

Do you know it's Handout-Time at all?

Feed the press
Is El Reg getting cash from all of this?

Feed the press
[repeat until the dosh is handed over]

* Andy admits that he failed to rhyme "Toynbee" with "subside" (as stipulated), but he explains: "Be fair. Whilst you may not hear the Toynbee family-name in song very often, you don't get to hear of many towns in Belgorod Oblast, either."

So a bag of Naomi Wolf-brand artisan pasta is on its way to Mr Lyons and Mr Harrison.

Thanks to all who entered.

And cheer up Guardian staff - a great newspaper may be about to disappear, but you're the undisputed pioneers of News 3.0 using an Open Platform API. ®

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