It’s lucky that the Tory party is so comprehensively crap at the moment because its house journal, The Daily Telegraph, just gets better and better. As Backword Dave demonstrates almost every week, even people who object heartily to The Telegraph‘s politics and are embarrassed by its other readers take it because it is still a good newspaper.

Today’s Telegraph has the usual excellent news coverage, including a provocative story about the money Whitehall wastes on consultants (at least we don’t have to pay their pensions) and a superb front page picture that says more about the private life of the Foreign Office’s recently sacked representative in Tashkent than perhaps he would want. The magazine draws our attention to a talented figurative artist who died young and profiles an influential teacher of scriptwriting who has never had a movie made of his own work. Even the Telegraph‘s sworn enemies concede the quality of its sports coverage and the paper does a good job on tomorrow’s crunch football match. The opinion page of the main news section carries two essays. One of them is about the US presidential elections and world terror and the other is about Bridget Jones. I disagree with both, but they are well-made and and dotted with insights. Unless I am reading research by someone in the same field or reading the work of someone I can’t stand, I feel unpolluted admiration whenever an article gives me an “Oh, yes, that’s true—I’d never thought of that before” feeling. I can’t remember the last time the corresponding sheet of The Guardian had that effect on me.

The Torygraph could never be good enough to persuade me to see Michael Howard for anything other than the shameless, shallow, populist incompetent that he is, so I don’t think there’s any danger of my being seduced into joining the Dark Side by it, but I am almost tempted to start buying a daily newspaper again in the week. There’s been a discussion about the decline of British newspapers over at Chris’s place.