Letter: Self-defeating criticism of this damp rock we call home

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The Independent Online
Sir: How kind of Brian Appleyard to share with us his menopausal anxieties. If, as he suggests, we have become a nation of self-haters, then the new aristocracy must consist of journalists and media people, for who hates us more than them?

The examples he gives are unfortunate disasters given disproportionate attention by an unprincipled and profit-seeking mediarchy. I would like to offer, for the sake of balance, some alternatives: perhaps the Olympic gold medals our oarsmen won by sheer determination and hard work (but with an unfortunately un-newsworthy lack of crowd trouble), or a national event such as the Lord Mayor's Show, unrehearsed and consisting mainly of amateurs, but executed with a peculiarly British mixture of precision, efficency and good humour.

A celebration of a proud democratic tradition that pre-dates Parliament, and of a world-class city, home to international markets as it has been since Tacitus described it as 'a busy emporium for trade and traders'. It is sad that only when things go wrong do these things become 'newsworthy'.

The new aristocracy has seen fit to vilify and banish from its ranks people who speak out against its code and attempt to spread cheer or inspire hope. But, strangely, these mediacrats don't leave. Could it possibly be that like me, they remain clinging to this damp rock because they love it?

Yours faithfully,


London, N14

21 July