LETTER from THE EDITOR

I increasingly suffer from bodicephobia, a strong aversion to television wenches, bonnets, men in stockings, and Palladian seats
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The Independent Online
Speech of the week, for any newspaper editor, has to be Lord Wakeham's. Milord is chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, which oversees the self-regulation of British newspapers. What self-regulation, you may ask? In fact, there is a detailed and tough code, covering everything from intrusion to chequebook journalism, which we are all signed up to; next week I'll print all the key parts in the paper, so that readers are fully aware of it.

Wakeham warned us about confusing public interest with what the public happens to be interested in,. The alternative to the PCC is, of course, a privacy law, either made piecemeal by judges or enacted by politicians. If it properly distinguished between sex and money - in other words, keeping journalism out of the bedroom, except where gross political hypocrisy was the issue, but ensuring that we could investigate potential corruption, theft and so on - I could live with that. The problem is that MPs framing a privacy law would think of their own failings , and make it a system of personal protection. All comments welcome.

Regular readers of this letter may remember that I became editor as part of a desperate attempt to become glamorous and interesting, and that I seem to be failing. Nevertheless, during a relatively glamorous dinner at the BBC, I did get to meet Peter Flannery, author of the best TV drama this year, Our Friends in the North. Wonderful stuff - well, it was about us, the modern British, and so much high-profile TV drama isn't. I increasingly suffer from bodicephobia, a strong aversion to television wenches, bonnets, men in stockings, and Palladian seats. (Sorry, Moll Flanders, but that's just the way it is.) In fact, it turns out that Flannery has just completed the script for ... aargh ... yet another historical TV drama. But lo! This one promises to be hard-edged, political and chewy: it is about the English Civil War. Will it do for Cromwell what the recent film did for Collins?

The other highlight of the week was the inaugural meeting of The East London Communities Organisation (Telco), one of a growing number of self- run community organisations that are springing up around the country. I'd expected a couple of hundred people, at most. In fact at least 1,200 packed into a hall in Bethnal Green. I've been to scores of party conferences but here there was an inspirational tingle lacking in official halls. Long-bearded Muslims sat wedged beside young black activists; livid-jowled trade unionists were grouped with beaming vicars; nonchalant Buddhists chatted to wimpled nuns. Unlike other papers, The Independent has reported on this strange new politics. But it is a difficult phenomenon for journalism. There seem to be no mad, power-crazed leaders, little hierarchy, a sad lack of splits. How will we cope?

Finally, you may have noticed our new tabloid-section competition which derives from a confusion in the paper about Michael Bogdanov (theatre director) and Peter Bogdanovich (film director). One reader suggests that, in addition, we should reprint all the missing last lines of Independent stories - there is a gremlin deep in our technology which occasionally destroys a final line in the printed paper. I am doing my best to track it down. But meanwhile, here are those missing words in full: ``trousers

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