Many of my fellow journalists, when they sign on to Twitter, add a little rider to their biography which states: “Views are my own”.
As well as avoiding a potentially ruinous libel suit for the paper, this helps makes the distinction between what is editorial policy and what is a personal opinion. We do a version of that in i.
Our main comment piece is called “My View”, and, as the name suggests, it’s an individual, rather than a corporate, opinion. So when, for instance, Johann Hari writes in a critical fashion about the Duke of Edinburgh (as he did last week), he’s speaking from a personal standpoint. No matter.
Many of you have written to express your own view that this was a scurrilous piece to run. “In parts of this country, your punishment merits hanging at Tyburn or a good battering in the public bar,” wrote Philip Turner, one of our more moderate readers. “I find your arrogant, privileged and chippy views boringly predictable,” added Chris Miller.
However, just as many correspondents thought that Johann was spot on. “Thank you for shining a light on all this slavish drivel,” wrote Richard Burt. “More Johann, please,” said Richard Meyrick, who added that this particular piece was thought-provoking and uncomfortable reading, “but that surely is the point of the ‘My View’ column.” Exactly. The clue is in the title.
While we’re at it, I’ll tell you my own experience of Prince Philip, whom I met at a reception at Windsor Castle a good few years ago.
Duke: Who are you?
Me: Editor of The Independent, sir.
Duke: Independent, eh? Surprised you could be bothered to come!
Me: Well, I’d just like to say thank you for the invitation
Duke: You didn’t have to come! And with that, he went off to talk to someone more interesting (Piers Morgan, I think). You’ve got to hand it to the old nonagenarian. He’s got class!