I see that poor little Polly Toynbee is making an impassioned plea on behalf of her employer—the hypocritical, tax-haven company-generating, general tax-avoiding Guardian Media Group.
It is, of course, the usual load of insufferable bollocks, but it is rather lovely to see Polly hoist by her own petard
But the cover price accounts for only 10% of costs and GMG says advertising revenue has "fallen off a cliff".
You see, Polly has been bitching and moaning about mega-rich companies—many of whom prop up these newspapers by, y'know, buying advertising (mainly because they are the only ones that can afford the rates)—and the damage that they are doing to society. She has whined about the high pay of executives, and the increasing wealth gap, and corporate tax avoidance...
... and now the corporates are avoiding spending their money with GMG. Now, I know that Polly is not tremendously au fait with the oh-so-complicated concept of cause and effect, but do you think it just slightly possible that her attitude, and that of her fellow commentators, might possibly have led to these companies feeling—during these turbulent times, when costs need to be cut—that GMG, whose employees constantly attack said companies, can just fucking whistle for their business?
But newspapers are in trouble, and what is Polly's solution? Can you guess, children?
To protect share prices the depth of this disaster must not be admitted.
So real progress may only be possible when many of them go undeniably bust. In truth, while some local papers are excellent, some are dross, not worth saving with a penny of public money.
Public money? Not a fucking single one of them is worth pouring public money into, Polly, you disgusting, rent-seeking harpy. That is our money and if we do not wish to spend it on your fucking rags—which, quite patently—people do not, then why the fuck should you be able to tear the fruit of people's labour from them, by force?
But creating worthwhile local news is under discussion, using various funds. Bring in the money available from awful ITV local news.
What? GMG's advertising revenues have "fallen off a cliff" and so you think that you can just wade in and cannabalise another company's cash? Fucking hellski...
Add in some BBC money: their local news is shamingly bad too, partly because the area covered is too wide.
Which rather implies that using traditional media to cover small areas is just not cost-effective (although, of course, were the minimum wage not in force, and taxes not so high, perhaps these locals rags could still be going concerns. How ironic, eh?). And, once again, Pol, you are stealing money from the pockets of everyone—but most especially the poor.
Then oblige local councils to stop wasting money on their own Pravda sheets, and to buy space in clearly defined zones in their local news trusts. It might need a small subvention from council tax, too.
I thought that you were on the side of the poor, Polly, and yet now you wish to use their hard-earned cash to prop up your peculiar profession. Two words, Pol: "fuck" and "off".
Instead of picking the pockets of workers, Polly, there is something that the newspaper industry itself could do to solve the problem. In fact, there is something that you can do...
But this is an emergency. Battalions of journalists with local knowledge are being sacked and newspaper expertise lost.
Might I suggest, Pol, that you take a great, big pay-cut? You are paid roughly £120,000 per year to write two factually-inaccurate, ill-informed, history-defying, self-contradictory, pig-ignorant columns a week for GMG—is that justice?
GMG could hire five full-time junior reporters on £24,000 per year for the money that you are paid for those two columns per week. If you are really worried about regional reporters, they could hire six at £20,000 per year. Actually, given the general desperation of those wishing to enter the journalism profession, GMG could probably easily fill seven posts at £17,150—or even ten posts at £12,000 per annum.
So, sack yourself, Polly, or take a colossal pay cut and you can make a very real difference—you can halt those "battalions of journalists with local knowledge" from "being sacked"; you can ensure that there is considerably less "newspaper expertise lost".
Wouldn't that make you happy? After all, last week you wrote...
Has the horror of it all struck Westminster with full force? Two million people have no job, with a million more to follow soon. Never before have so many lost jobs at such a rate. Of those frantically sending out sackloads of CVs, many will never work again.
Worse still, how many of the 600,000 leaving school this summer will never get an interview, let alone a job? When things pick up, those much younger will emerge as better prospects, untainted by years adrift. As in the 1980s recession, another generation is at risk of being washed up, never being connected to working life, watching children growing up as lost as them. Professor David Blanchflower, the one man on the Bank of England's monetary policy committee who called this recession right, spelled out on these pages all we know about the dire social consequences.
Your chance has come, Pol; this is your shining hour, your chance to make a real sacrifice in order to assist these unfortunates. You could help a few, just a few, of those poor people who have lost their jobs, or who might never get one: but every little helps, eh?
You, Pol, could quit your job and allow GMG to hire up to ten reporters—eager people who will go and find actual news rather than sententiously regurgitating their worthless opinions in a newspaper column as though their outmoded, inaccurate, authoritarian views had any value whatsoever.
You could even sell your Tuscan villa and donate the proceeds to these poor unfortunates; who needs a second home, Pol? Sell it, and help close the equality gap. What do you think?
Polly? Pol? Bueller...?
No, Polly's tactic is to appeal to our better natures and our charitable instincts (and not, strangely, to our self-regard).
Meanwhile, the national press risks following American newspapers to the great spike in the sky. Britain without the Mail or the Sun would be a happier place, less biliously nihilist, less miserable, angry and afraid. But democracy without the scrutiny of good journalism is unthinkable. In the end, it's up to you. If you always read this on the web, go out and buy a copy, skinflint. Use it or lose it.
Lose it? Jeepers! Just think what would happen if GMG went bust; just imagine the desolation facing mankind if The Grauniad went down the toilet!
Luckily, you don't need to imagine, and it's best if you don't: making shit up is Polly's job. Instead, as a service to us all, the poor little Greek boy has spelt out the full horror of this publishing Armageddon...
Don't say you haven't been warned, friend. You'll wake up one morning, maybe not too long from now, and they'll be gone; no Polly Toynbee, no George Monbiot, no Seumas Milne; no Joseph Harker, no Richard Gott, no Jonathan Steele. They'll all be gone, and it'll be your fault.
Do you really want that on your conscience?
Um... Fucking hellski. That really would be a world-changing event.
So, tell me: where do I sign up to hasten the end of this piece-of-shit newspaper and its ludicrous comment-whores?
UPDATE: someone has set up the near-inevitable Facebook Group: Don't tell me, show me, Pol—you can join up and urge Polly to quit and create, quite literally, some jobs.