A bought a copy of the very last edition of the Independent newspaper yesterday as a little bit of history has been made with the passing of the print edition.
I don’t usually buy newspapers but when I have done it has usually been the Independent.
Most people buy newspapers that reinforce their own strongly held prejudices. Hence the Daily Mail is so popular even with people who claim to be left wing. I can’t get my head around that but I am drawn back to a telling remark made to me by a young Labour Party member back in the 1980’s. He said quite chillingly that you would find more racists in the Labour Party than in the Tory Party, or words to that effect.
My point is that many people who vote Labour do so because they see Labour as being their tribe not because they have left wing views. Indeed Labour’s dilemma is that they often look right wing and act right wing because their support base is partly right wing and and they read the Daily Mail, Express etc.
But I digress the demise of the Independent is a worry because it means that the printed press automatically becomes even more right wing as another paper which is radical, progressive and left of centre has gone.
When I walked into a local newspaper shop yesterday two things struck me. Firstly, the huge piles of Daily Mails. There must have been 10 times the number of any other newspaper on sale. Secondly, the age profile of those buying newspapers – I watched for a while and saw no one under say 55 buying one.
I also mused on the fact that in the Sefton Central Constituency where I live the middle class voters have returned a Labour MP with a massive majority whilst at the same time many of them are reading a diet of the right wing Mail and Express! Funny old world.
An avenue for the expression reasonable/rational/open minded debate was closed off yesterday by the demise of the printed Independent but it died because virtually no one under 55 buys a newspaper these days and those that do, mainly the over 55’s, want their prejudices fed not free thinking informed and open minded debate. So yes a sad day but not a surprising one.