Leading article: Cash reunited

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The Independent Online

Envy is not an attractive trait, so I hope you will dismiss any hint of it when I consider the continuing success of Friends Reunited, bought by ITV yesterday for just the initial £120m. No, we leader writers long ago cheerfully forsook any hopes of material gain, preferring to sacrifice such passing trifles in the cause of proffering disinterested advice and sage counsel untainted by baser instinct.

And it's difficult, surely, not to warm to the modest couple, Steve and Julie Pankhurst, who started the enterprise in their back bedroom in Barnet, and still live modestly in Barnet, unbeguiled by all the fantastic things, such as large yachts, fancy cars, great paintings, first editions, beautiful clothes, executive boxes, life coaches, cocktail cabinets, and patio heaters, that you, but not I, obviously, might be beguiled by.

So, no sneering, please, or carping, about the occasional strife brought on by an appearance on the website. Don't blame the Pankhursts, blame the irresistible pull of the lost playgrounds, parquet and bikesheds of yesteryear, and the overheated expectations that can end in disappointment and bad behaviour, and the uncomfortable insight after the first five minutes into why it is, exactly, that you haven't met for 20 years.

Well, yes, since you ask, no one has been in touch again since we had our reunion, but I am not bitter, as that is not the leader writer's way. No, our way is to offer you a few helpful suggestions as to how you might emulate the Pankhursts. Bus Queues Reunited? Conservative Leaders and Failed Contenders Reunited? Service Station Users (Westbound) Reunited? Casual Acquaintances Reunited? You and Your Umbrella Reunited? Hmm. Perhaps you have to be in Barnet.

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