LETTER from THE EDITOR

Share
Do you conclude, from reading your newspaper and listening to the radio over Christmas and New Year, that there is a particular propensity around this time for dumping babies out in the cold, getting lost on mountains, or vanishing tragically after going off in search of a bag of chips? Do people, overwhelmed by the stress and strain of enforced jollity (when in fact they feel desperate, or scared), prove more susceptible to personal disaster?

The answer is almost certainly no. The only difference about this time of year is that there is rarely anything else to report. The normal political and cultural mayhem is at an ebb; even politicians and celebrities need to spend at least a few hours with their families every year, as do their PR staff and spin doctors. For once, the happy(ish) and healthy(ish) segment of the population is hidden quietly away at home, doing the proper thing and minding its own business. In consequence, terrible individual events that, in fact, happen unreported every day and everywhere suddenly rise to the top of the news editors' lists, and you get to hear about them.

In a way, although sad, this seems rather a good thing. It reminds us that our sense of what is going on in the world is always slightly artificial. And there may even be a fortuitous seasonal value. We should, after all, perhaps recollect at Christmas that for many people the holiday serves only to emphasise their isolation or dismay.

Which leads neatly on to our Christmas appeal. In recent years one of my most gratifying tasks (first as managing editor, now as deputy) has been to organise appeals. First, the good news. Hundreds of you have responded to this year's appeal, which is on behalf of the NSPCC's work with abused children. By midday yesterday we had very nearly reached pounds 20,000, every penny of which I have no doubt will be gratefully and well used by the charity. As ever, people's generosity has taken me aback.

So do you detect a note of disappointment? To be frank, yes: though grateful to those who have contributed (often very large sums) I had thought we would raise more. Three years ago we raised more than pounds 300,000 for Bosnia charities; last year we raised well over pounds 100,000, again for former Yugoslavia. This year we deliberately chose a charity close to home, and one that is working in a field where the paper has been busy uncovering scandal. Is it possible that Independent readers respond more positively to giving money to people suffering abroad, rather than round the next corner? That would be curious, if true. Either way, I would love to know whether you feel an annual Christmas appeal is a worthwhile exercise, and perhaps hear suggestions about what we might consider next time. And, of course, you can still catch up. Just send a cheque, made out to the Independent/NSPCC Victims of Abuse Appeal, to our usual address.

Like many other parents I spend a large part of Christmas playing children's games, talking children's talk, watching children's television. This occasionally leads to minor journalistic revelation, such as the acquisition of a whole new cultural vocabulary. My youngest daughter (aged two) has just discovered the Big Friendly Giant and his disgusterous muddled words. So, from the back seat of the car earlier this week, Daddy having cracked some feeble joke, she cackled flatteringly and shouted out: "Oh Daddy, you're just bonkerous!" This is a word I am willing to loan to headline writers everywhere. Indeed, I can think of several papers further down market who might have a regular use for it.

Have a bonkerous New Year. Colin Hughes Deputy Editor

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Larry Fink, the boss of fund manager BlackRock , is among those sounding the alarm  

Not all discounts are welcome: Beware the myopia of company bosses

Ben Chu
Cilla Black lived her life in front of the lens, whether on television or her earlier pop career  

Cilla Black dead: A sad farewell to the singer who gave us a 'lorra, lorra laughs'

Gerard Gilbert
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen