Letter: Don't blame the Germans: the fault lies with the British PM and his Chancellor

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The Independent Online
Sir: May I echo more strongly Bruce Marshall's sensible appeal (letter, 17 September) for more press help in understanding this financial crisis? People are losing homes and businesses, being put on the breadline. Yet how this arises still confuses about 80 per cent of readers, I should think.

Behind the disaster, I feel, there is some big failure of journalism going on. Yes, your economics writers sound as clear-minded as any. As usual, your other scribes produce excellent vignettes, such as Jim White's picture of the NatWest trading floor. But the larger picture eludes most of us.

This turns all us voters into mere punters who have to bet on races without understanding the form. Should John Major be turfed out?

With limited understanding of these matters, I do not know what he could have done differently.

I think journalism, if it is to deserve the title of the Fourth Estate, should include a process of demystification, not simply investigative stories, however compelling. It is a big part of democracy to know just why you're voting for this and not the other.

I know it is quite a task. Years ago, I worked for a Sunday newspaper with a brilliant editor, who, a rarity, always had simplification much in mind. He got our best columnist (I will call her Katharine, for short), who could make anything readable, to tackle a whole page explaining devaluation. Poor woman] I helped bring the smelling salts and medicinal brandy. But she faced it: good on her.

Intellectual newspapers have a fear of making themselves look too unknowing. I would welcome a Peter Rabbit column on economics. I would not find it patronising. Try me.

Yours faithully,


London, N5

17 September