No one should be celebrating the end of the print editions of the Independent and Independent on Sunday titles from the end of March. Despite the inexorable and irreversible decline of the print industry, it is a reduction, albeit a small one, to the plurality of Britain’s newspapers. Although in common with almost every other British national daily, apart from the Guardian and the Mirror, the Independent told its readers to vote Conservative in the general election of 2015, I still regarded it as a good newspaper, capable of intelligent thought and good journalism. Now it’s going to be on-line only. I cannot imagine many people will read it.
I am probably to blame for the Independent’s fall since I have refused to buy a single edition since it came out for Cameron (and Clegg) last May, so angry was I with the obvious editorial interference by owner Evgeny Lebedev, who, by a complete coincidence, is very friendly with David Cameron. To see the Independent – it isn’t – lining up alongside the hateful Mail, Express, Sun, Telegraph, Star, Times and their Sunday equivalents in order to see the Conservatives returned to power was the end of the road for me. I have stuck with the Guardian, despite their ill-advised dalliance with Clegg in 2010 and I hope they have learned from what happens when the Lib Dems are allowed near government. True colours and all that.
Newspapers will die out when their readers do. There is no generation below the likes of me who want to buy a newspaper. Go into any newsagent and everyone who takes a paper does so because they always have, a kind of comfort blanket and expression of habit. I am no different. I read my newspaper but no one else in this house does. Much of the content is on-line so why bother to pay for it?
If the Guardian goes to the wall – and it is currently spending its cash reserves at a rapid rate of knots as the losses pile up year on year – then that will be it with me and all newspapers. I would not dream of using the Mail even for toilet paper or to line a cat litter tray, the Sun has too much evil history to match its current right wing nastiness and even the so called left leaning Mirror has more celebrity tat than is good for anyone.
Soon, all content will be on line and it will be free. Newspapers, from local papers to nationals, will be condemned to the history books and young people will wonder what on earth we were doing, chopping down rain forests in order to allow bigots to write and read about all these horrible immigrants and so on.
I won’t miss the Independent, nor what it eventually stood for, and whilst I feel for the journalists I don’t feel for Lebedev.
We are still in the stone ages of computers and soon most newspapers, if not all of them, will be on your computer, not on the news stands.