LETTER from THE EDITOR

Share
We need some more enemies. I am now approaching this editing business in a scientific spirit and my researches suggest that newspapers are defined as much by their natural enemies as anything else. Thus, the Daily Mail hates liberals, Channel 4, shifty foreigners; The Telegraph hates Irish republicans, European federalists and people who have had abortions; The Sun hates certain football managers (I can never remember which ones), women with their clothes on ...

And The Independent? Well, we are primly promiscuous in our disapproval. Our political and commercial foes are legion, from Tory nationalists to Rupert Murdoch. But we are, it must be confessed, a little short of proper, blood-summoning, sinew-stiffening enemies. Paul Johnson won't do; hating him is over-fashionable. Michael Howard would be a popular choice among readers; but he would be far more worried if The Independent didn't consider him an enemy: give him a favourable mention and it would do him such damage with the right that he'd probably sue. The same is true of many other obvious targets.

What about picking some wider group to demonise, then? Who could we treat as our version of single mothers? Utility chairmen? Purveyors of combat knives? Cult leaders? The designers of Legoland? Men who wear moustaches? You see the problem - it's all too pointlessly easy. And in some of these cases, the spasm to be fair ruins what would otherwise have been a promising campaign. In an editorial the other day we took a savage pop at media studies, the sociology of the Nineties, and thus at professors of media studies. No good either; they only smiled knowingly and ... analysed us back. I think the only answer is to seize randomly upon some previously innocuous-seeming group and attack them relentlessly until circulation soars. But since this is purely a commercial, branding exercise, it must be a unique enemy - some group no one has yet found an excuse to attack. Canadians? Manicurists? The people of Chelmsford, with their goatish lusts and dark philosophies? All suggestions gratefully received.

I only took this job in order to be glamorous. I thought I'd go to all these swanky parties and exciting receptions, arriving late and smoking with the latest news, before dropping a few tinkling epigrams and causing famous authors to choke with admiration. No go. Apparently, the job of newspaper editors is to edit newspapers - they never made that clear at the time - and this makes it difficult to get out in the evening.

This has been a typical week. I was invited to the launch of Andrew Neil's book, arrived just too late and was refused a drink. Then there was an incredibly glitzy Vanity Affair affair - Tina Brown, Harold Evans, Michael Jagger, Salman Fry, Stephen Rushdie, etc, etc. Too bad; stuck in traffic.

Never mind. I did finally make it to lunch with Granta magazine, however, which is glamorous in a literary sense. A long taxi-ride prepared me for a grand entrance; the restaurant doors swung open,;I had an epigram ready to spit ... but there had been a mix-up and there was nobody there.

Finally, a word from James Gilmour, who writes spiritedly from Kilmarnock, strongly attacking this paper's ``fence-sitting'' attitude to party politics: ``The British newspaper-buying public really don't appreciate `fairness' ... what they like is pure unashamed prejudice.'' Mr Gilmour, I think you may be right. Chelmsford had better watch out.

React Now

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

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux / Redhat / Solaris / Puppet / SAN

£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Silhouette of clubber dancing Hacienda nightclub  

A comedian has opened an alcohol-free nightclub. Is he having a laugh?

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
A doctor injects a patient with Botox at a cosmetic treatment center  

Why do women opt for cosmetic surgery when there is such beauty in age?

Howard Jacobson
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape