Letter from the Editor: It's 'Morning all: the backlash'. And this time I'm ready

 

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The Independent Online

Last week, when I wrote here that I was dropping the introduction “Morning all”, I hoped one or two of you might write in to defend it. In fact, the letters streamed in – and not all of them full of affection, let me tell you.

David Small of Headington in Oxford was among the more generous. “Dear Mr Rajan,” he began. “Morning sir. I do not want ‘my’ editor to be bullied, particularly by grumpy old people who get ‘very irritated’ by trivia, can’t spell or use the plural ‘all’ incorrectly. I guess you can’t please them all. Like Dr Ann Kendell, I’ve bought The Independent every day since the first issue and enjoy your Saturday Letter. But I like ‘Morning all’ and agree that it conveys an informal, inclusive tone which I appreciate. We should definitely celebrate affable eccentricity… Restore ‘Morning all’ next week!”

Others were less positive. “Dear Sir,” began Terry Walsh of Sileby in Leicestershire. “It depressed me considerably to read your explanation of why you have dropped the salutation ‘Morning all’ from your Saturday column. Or rather, to read of the frankly witless reasons advanced by some readers. I thought that the greeting was innocuous and chummy without being too familiar. It also served as a sphragis, an individual touch.” He then launched into a justified tirade about sloppy standards in writing and sub-editing. And John Dakin of Toddington, near Dunstable, spoke for many in saying: “Frankly, I rather liked it; and my worry is that he has not considered that the correspondents who wrote on this may not be representative of the readers as a whole. Like several readers, I wrote last year against Nigel Farage’s column; Amol wrote defending his decision to retain the column, and I respected his judgement… I am frequently irritated when I read the paper, especially by columnists… A paper which I agreed with all the time would be unconscionably dull… By the way, George Dixon’s greeting was ‘Ev’ning all!’”

My thanks to all who wrote in. I know my job is to lead rather than follow, and that complainers aren’t representative. So I have to pick my battles. For instance, I have tested the patience of some readers by giving Farage a column, as Mr Dakin says. In my view, that was – and is, at least for now – worthwhile, because of his influence in British democracy. On “Morning all”, I felt that the benefit in using a phrase I (and some of you) liked was outweighed by the cost in annoying a few other readers.

Talking about picking your battles, this newspaper led the opposition to the Iraq war, and we’re leading the way again today with a special report that dares to go where Sir John Chilcot doesn’t (yet). I hope you enjoy that – and all of today’s edition.

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