You don’t need me to go all Kate Winslet on you, but there are people I want to thank in this, my last column as i editor, a role it has been my privilege to have held. Some have a presence in the paper, others toil away behind the scenes, often late into the night. Sundays too.
So: thank you Evgeny and Andy for giving me this extraordinary opportunity; to Simon, Chris and Dan for supporting me within The Independent; Carl, Jules, Martyn, Stuart and others on the backbench and subs teams, who are here so late so often, alongside designers Nick, Dan, Gordon, and the much-missed feisty Geordie, Charlotte; thanks Oly, Chris, Jon, the Katies, Fran, Larry and the rest who have put up with twice the newsdesk workload of other papers – which also applies to the brilliant sports desk and Amy on business. Thanks, in particular, to the inimitable Louis, departed Victoria and the multi-talented Rhodri, who have played such a massive part in taking i from zero to 300,000 circulation.
Nah, enough already, this doesn’t work! It’s worthy, but boring - just like at the Oscars. Plus, I have not even got on to Caroline, Darren, Ciara, John, Lenny and others in commercial. To the rest of you at i, you know who you are.
Instead, a heartfelt thank you to all i readers, particularly those who have been with us from the beginning. We have printed letters today from several of our more frequent letter writers, some of whose views I have disagreed with 100 per cent over the past 760 issues. To those who write in five times a day without hope of getting published: I guess it’s cheaper than therapy?
But that’s the i philosophy I am certain will continue beyond me: giving an equal voice to all sides of the debate. That said, I only wish I had “banned” permanently more of those self-righteous readers who wrote in to say: “I am never buying your paper again” after disagreeing with the “biased” views in a single column of Owen Jones, Dominic Lawson, Robert Fisk, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown... the list is long.
I’m sorry I never got round to featuring more rugby league or horse-racing, going out or cartoonists. We really should change some of the cities on the world weather list, and perhaps a channel or two on the TV spread (where’s London Live?). i should start campaigning more, too. And – sadly (?) some people have yet to hear of the paper, like the staff who sold me the world’s most expensive honey at my local health food store.
Then, as Kate W would say, there’s my family, friends, colleagues and other sources of inspiration for this letter. It’s six days a week, people! I have to exploit someone for ideas – especially those I neglect, because I’m always here. I hope I haven’t invaded your privacy too much. Oh, and good luck with the GCSEs, darling.
And that’s all folks. I’m off to TV land. I hope to be back on Mondays, but not as editor. Until a new one is appointed, Rhodri will hold the fort. Expect less Fulham FC, food and Italy, more rugby and Wales! Time to share some bubbly. It’s good for you, don’t you know (p2)? I’ll leave you with one last of my Ma’s Italian aphorisms: better to live one day as a lion than a lifetime as a sheep! It’s been... emotional.