Coffee House

The strange tale of Evgeny Lebedev and the Independent

12 February 2016

1:20 PM

12 February 2016

1:20 PM

What sad news that the Independent is closing. In September last year, I did an investigation into the strange, celebrity-orientated world of the paper’s young owner, Evgeny Lebedev. What was intriguing was that, although Indie journalists were willing to talk — off the record — about Lebedev’s eccentricity, almost everybody I spoke to was keen to stress that, on the business side, Evgeny had done a great job. And in Amol Rajan, it is generally accepted, he had found an innovative, daring and original editor. The Indie’s losses had been dramatically reduced under the leadership of the younger Lebedev and his father, Alexander, the oligarch. Did the money dry up? Was the downsizing and flogging off of the i paper always part of the plan? Will we find out in the coming days and weeks? At any rate, a bad day for British journalism.

You can read the original Spectator Life article here

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Show comments
  • Ipsmick

    The press in this country generally amounts to little more than a propaganda machine for the government. Yet only 25% of the electorate voted conservative. This makes it a very minority administration, and suggests that those who think for themselves are not the materialistic, brutally nasty, selfish individuals that the neoliberalism espoused by Cameron and Osborne supposes that we all are. The Independent is to be mourned, not least because it publishes the best foreign correspondents in the country, and not least because we are sliding into a one-party state where it will become dangerous to express views contrary to what it is taken to be political orthodoxy: as the potential jailing of environment protestors reveals.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    As an internet correspondent banned by the Independent, I have difficulty in feeling any sympathy at all.
    I was also banned by the Daily Telegraph.

  • Muttley

    Bye bye that boring rag.

  • Old Fox

    The Independent started off as genuinely liberal – old liberal, not today’s “commie-“liberal” – but it drifted to the left with the climate of “elite” opinion; that is to say, in common with other centrist or neutral institutions, it has been colonised and taken over by the reds. Despite these malign developments, it has retained to this day a smattering of distinguished contributors such as Dominic Lawson and Howard Jacobson, who were and are prepared to challenge the mindless group-think of the “commie-“liberal” bubble.

    • Number 7

      It was launched as The Independent and, as it said on the box, gave both sides of an argument.
      In that form it was quite a good paper – worth buying. It has since morphed into some sort of radical hand-out , something like a student ragmag.
      There is a plus side to it though – T. Alibi Wotsit is out of a job.

    • Mr B J Mann

      Genuinely liberal? Drifted to the left?! Centrist or neutral institution?!?!?!!!!!

      I seem to recall in its early days it gave away a free paperback, not a leaflet,
      or a pamphlet, or even a booklet, but an actual small paperback in the
      run up to a general election advising for every constituency in the land
      who best for Labour voters to vote for to get Labour in or keep the
      Tories out.

      And another advising Liberals who to vote for to get a Liberal in or to, ermmm, keep the Conservatives out.

      Strangely, they never produced one for Conservatives advising who best to vote for to get the Tories in or keep Labour out.

      Nor for Liberals who didn’t want Labour in.

      That’s Independence for you!

      Or am I getting them confused with some other neutral “independent” centrist paper?!?!

  • rhodaklapp8

    I’ve never bought it. I used to buy the Guardian once a year on Christmas Eve to get the King William’s College quiz, but that’s online now. There has been nothing good in the regular daily since they lost Araucaria. Whose stuff is also online now. I find I never buy a paper and rarely a magazine. I don’t think I’ve ever even read a copy of the Spectator. Is it any good?

  • Frank

    Sorry to pour cold water, but the Evening Standard is a shadow of its old self – now it is just page after page after page of quasi-advertising guff.

  • Frank

    Boris weekends in Italy?

  • douglas redmayne

    At least that scum Tamsin Alibi Brown has less of an outlet for her treasonous views.

  • Tamerlane

    Oh too bad Yasmin Alibaba Bonkers… that’s the end of your platform… champagne anyone?

    • realfish

      If only it were true. I’m sure that the BBC will always find a seat for her, in front of one of their cameras.

    • Todd Unctious

      Ted . Help, theres an Iijit!

    • Caviar luvvie

      I’ll bring the zionist smoked salmon!

    • Todd Unctious

      Who in the name of Croesus are you trying to insult , shill?

  • Fencesitter

    As soon as a publication takes itself off the newsstand it risks irrelevance. Which isn’t to deny that most people read online.

  • Duckworth Keats

    No. The Indie is no loss at all. A dreary compendium of Guardianesque platitudes and virtue signalling.

    • Mary Ann

      So you prefer to have a press which is totally right wing and owned by some of the richest people in the land, and you think they are going to put the interests of the ordinary man first, dream on, they will continue to campaign for what they see is best for them. I suspect that leaving the EU will only benefit the richest which is why the right generally favour it.

      • DavidL

        Don’t worry. There’s still the Guardian, the BBC and the online media such as Huffpost. Plenty of outlets for your views.

      • rationality

        ‘I suspect that leaving the EU will only benefit the richest which is why the right generally favour it.’

        Such poor political awareness. Are you unaware of the corporatist lobby funding Project Fear? Are you unaware of the TPP and how it will turn us into a corporatist state with the big companies running things.

        NEWSFLASH: Us righties absolutely despise crony capitalism and want the slave masters running this behind bars. This is not true capitalism that encourages and rewards hard work.

        • Duckworth Keats

          I don’t think Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner, Gisela Stuart or Kate Hoey are exactly right wing.

      • Duckworth Keats

        I don’t think Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner, Gisela Stuart or Kate Hoey are exactly right wing, but because they realise the significance of genuine parliamentary democracy they are solidly anti-EU.

  • jim

    Quite happy to see all the rotten old establishment media crash and burn…

  • Whyshouldihavetoregister

    Since ‘The Independent’ became a misnomer for ‘The Up the Labour Party’s Bum’, I have not paid any attention to it, and am delighted to learn that it is to close.

  • Chingford Man

    What about the strange tale of the Tories being investigated by the police for not declaring by-election expenses? Or are some stories just off-limits?

  • James Chilton

    Why not a merger of the Independent with the Guardian?

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments……..

    • Number 7

      They have a number of things in common – including a rapidly falling readership.
      However the Grauniad does have a trump card (apart from offshore ownership), – continual financial support from the taxpayer funded BBC!

      • James Chilton

        I didn’t know that the Graunie is subsidised by the BBC. How long has this been going on?

        • Number 7

          Ever since the beeb decided to put ALL their job adverts in the Grauniad.

        • Mr B J Mann

          They buy a phenomenal number of copies, even after having had to reveal how many and cut back, as well as giving the Guardian all their job adverts!

          • James Chilton

            Presumably, everyone who works at the BBC gets a free copy of the Guardian every day?

            • Mr B J Mann

              Did I say that?

              Presumably everyone who works at the BBC gets free access to all of the Guardian, plus such comments as they freely publish under the articles that readers are free to comment under, online every day?

              And yet they have increased the number of paper copies bought to 80,000 a year at a cost of £130,000 pa!

              And, no, that doesn’t include it’s Sunday sister, the Observer, which is another £17,000 for another 7,600 copies!!!

              Compare that with the Times, which is the UK’s paper of record, and is behind a paywall online, on which they spend 78,800 on 77,000 copies!

              Oh, and they also spent 73,200 on 61,300 copies of the Independent, which again, is available online!

              But note that as the Guardian itself admitted in 2012:

              “First, the facts – as revealed in a freedom of information request: between 1 April 2010 and 28 February 2011, the BBC bought 59,829 copies of the Guardian compared with 51,384 copies of the Times and 48,968 copies of the Daily Telegraph. The Daily Mail came in fourth (45,553) and the Financial Times was eighth (33,721).”

              Note those figures are for 11 months.

              However, though the BBC initially reduced the number of copies of the Guardian it bought it

              • James Chilton

                I’m puzzled by your opening question – since what you say isn’t inconsistent with giving everyone a free copy of the Guardian every day of the week.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  Eh?

                  Are you arguing that the Beeb employs a phenomenal number of people, and therefore if I’ve said they buy a phenomenal number of copies then I’m saying there’s one each?!?!?

                • James Chilton

                  Arguing? I was asking you a simple question. But never mind; forget it.

                • Mr B J Mann

                  And I was asking you a simple question.

                  But you seem to have forgotten your earlier ones.

                  As well as my previous posts.

  • MirthaTidville

    Good Riddence..I hope it takes the Grauniad with it soon

    • Shorne

      If you are so sure that you are right about everything, and right wingers usually are, why are you concerned about a publication that takes an opposing view?

      • rationality

        I used to read it for years and I wasnt aware how dangerous cultural Marxism is. Progressive values have replaced the clergy and presented as quasi Christian morality. Banging on about racism, homophobia, lying about the wars in the Middle East, no free speech in Comment is Free, promoting Islam against the will of the people is bad bad news.

        Doesnt the left ban us as ‘far right’ and ‘neo Natzi’? What is good for the goose after all…

        • Shorne

          Cultural Marxism’ rightly described as a ‘snarl word’ for anything that Reactionaries don’t like, usage originated in Germany in the 1930s where Cultural Bolshevism was used as a political term of abuse.
          If you want to see ‘Progressive values’ read Matthew 25: 35-46, especially in the context of immigrants and food banks.
          ‘No free speech’ to some means ‘Why can’t I say what I like?’
          Using phrases like the ‘will of the people’ points to delusions of grandeur when in reality you are as powerless and politically impotent as the rest of us.

          • rationality

            I think the ‘will of the people’ is clearly for leaving the EU. Its unusual but a sign of the times that the people want a very different direction from the government.

            Yes I am powerless but the resentment is very real and if we organised perhaps we could get somewhere.

            • Mary Ann

              Actually it’s about 50/50 and we all know what happens when it comes to change, we don’t like it. Especially when we have no honest answers as to what will happen if we leave, People talk about making our own trade deals but the USA has already say it won’t deal with us, the EU is a much bigger market.

              • rationality

                Well most sane people look at the ‘refugee crisis’ and see the lies as an invasion is allowed and are horrified. Why on earth arent you?

                Most sane people dont care, they see rapists, criminals, unskilled, people who dont know how to use the toilet and want out of the EU regardless of the consequences. And the US is a declining empire, the sooner we unshackle ourselves from that monster the better.

                • Mary Ann

                  Don’t know how to use a toilet, where on earth did you get that from, by the time the refugees have got an EU passport they will have lived in Germany for at least 5 years, learn the language got jobs put their children into schools made friends etc. why on earth would they want to come to a country that appears to hate foreigners. And the inners are accused of scaremongering.

                • rationality

                  http://shoebat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/1601102358030100.jpeg

                  Ive posted a link to show you the no pooping signs. I cannot believe you are unaware of something that will have such a massive impact on your society. Your ignorance scares me. I think you should be visiting Breitbart because you really need to know what is going on.

                  Why are we obliged to take these people when we have enough problems of our own? Such as no and expensive housing, creaking infrastructure, Islamification, money being spent on newcomers before our own? I thought being left meant that you cared about the downtrodden in this country. But of course there are only a few billion in Africa and beyond but dont worry as long as it makes you feel better and sod the consequences for people like me and millions of others.

                • Mary Ann

                  Breitbart, no thanks, I will take your word for the no defecation signs. I suppose that is what happens when you grow up in a society that doesn’t have mains drainage, using a toilet doesn’t take long to learn. Doesn’t it make you realise how underprivileged some of these people are, or how lucky we are to have been born in Britain.

                • rationality

                  Why are you taking me at my word for the signs? They are a fact and allowing people that dont know how to use a toilet does not bode well for society does it? Many cant even read. I was talking online to a girl staying in because she was taharrushed. No concern even for other women. You are so compassionate!

                  Still waiting for your response on how this affects millions of people here negatively. From your silence on this you confirm you have none. So how many do you think we can have here?

                  No sense, no compassion and no understanding that the refugee crisis is an engineered population displacement. Why dont you go to HuffPo?

      • Mary Ann

        Some people don’t like having their values questioned.

        • PaD

          you’ll be spared the inquisitiion then,.’values’ spouted by the guardian and other british-hating rags..arent actually values.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      And the Telegraph.

  • Brazen

    The main problem with the Independent is that it isn’t!

    • James Chilton

      Quite.

    • post_x_it

      Neither are ‘indie music’ or ‘independent films’.

  • thetrashheap

    The paper dishonest twonk rubbish that made the nation a little bit dumber.

    Not only did it create a false reality but it demonized those who spoke the truth.

    I for one will not miss it.

  • WFC

    Perhaps the replacement of real journalists with people like YAB, Laurie Penny and Owen whatsit, and their tendency to belittle their diminishing readership with snide remarks about the sagacity of their commenters wasn’t such a good idea after all?

    What do you think, Speccie?

  • bergen

    I always liked it although I never understood how it kept going . So many hotels give out complimentary copies that the actual sales must be very low. If they make a success of it being on-line only, I wonder if it’ll be followed by others.

  • rationality

    This is mainly about print based newspapers on the decline, as the Independent will remain online. We will see more print titles closing of course but you would think that news moguls or shareholders would be a bit concerned that they are losing readers hand over fist due to their cultural Marxist agenda. No one wants to be told that they’re racist, homophobic, Islamaphobic or whatever on a daily basis. All the better to b#tch about elsewhere!

    That is an impressive beard by the way. I could never get anything quite as good as that.

    • aspeckofboggart

      You have to stay in the closet to grow such beards.

    • post_x_it

      “This is mainly about print based newspapers on the decline…”
      Well, exactly. In this day and age there is absolutely no point in printing hundreds of thousands of copies of yesterday’s articles, at a time when everyone already has access to today’s articles via the web edition. I haven’t touched a printed newspaper for at least a decade and see no reason ever to do so again.
      Funny how nobody is suggesting that the HuffPo isn’t a proper news organisation because it doesn’t print paper copies of its output.

      • rationality

        I gave up on Private Eye after 25 years earlier this year and I am about to give up on a physical copy of the Sunday Times. Its mainly because of these publications agendas that I just cant be bothered with the cultural Marxist agenda. I would like to read a physical newspaper where there isnt a globalist agenda but are there any left?

        No one will mourn the end of newspapers due to the alienation of their readership. What a sorry end.

        • Airey Belvoir

          The Times has done itself no good with its week-long all-out attack on UKIP, involving a front page plus two inside spreads. well over the top.

        • Mr B J Mann

          I periodically used to reply to the right-on, trendy-lefty, bleedin-heart, environMental, anti-car claptrap spewed out by the Eye’s “Transport” correspondent “Hedgehog” in his “Road-Rage” column (doesn’t that tell you all you need know) pointing out all the errors in the article.

          Did any get published?

          No, either the editor emailed me back to tell me how wrong I was and how right the Hedgehog was……..

          Or he’d pass the email on to Hedgehog to do it personally!!!!

          • rationality

            I always thought they were good with responses and I expect thats a facade so it looks more credible as an anti establishment publication. I bet Peter Cooke would be into alternative media nowadays.

            I havent seen anyone really talk about Private Eye at all so thats interesting, There are still laugh at loud cartoons and features but the articles are so boring I was skipping most of it. Still got high circulation figures. Maybe its because it has no web presence, no real rival and therefore unique.

            The last straw was an anti Trump cartoon.

          • PaD

            Hislop another Common Purpose denier

        • PaD

          online..breitbart london..though i suspect you know this.

          • rationality

            I couldnt find a copy of Breitbart in my local newsagent.

            I mean a physical newspaper. Similar to the Washington Times. That may sound like an establishment paper but its the only one in the US that is not culturally Marxist.

            • PaD

              you probably wont find such a thing…as i mentioned..breitbart online ..its very readable and doesnt pull punches…i read the LONDON ED.

              • rationality

                I spend way too much time on Breitbart, Its fantastic and informs us of all the problems and allows a lot of freedom on the comment boards with some great insight.

                I am looking for a paper or website where I can read about sport, culture, gigs, reviews as well as opinion and news that is not in any way slanted by progressive deceit, Even the Sunday Times uses the book review for political and manipulative reasons. Every second week theres a new book on the holocaust, discrediting Europeans or how dangerous conspiracy theories are. Its got to the point where I cant trust a single word in the MSM and what sort of sick society is that?

                • PaD

                  Can I recommend the Spectator for some of your reading needs?. it’s ‘to the right’ of things and has columnists like Douglas Murray who is highly intelligent and writes incisively..others like Rod Liddle.(though id give Brendan O’neill a miss because of his connections with Institute of Ideas..a ragbag self important bunch of ex-and present RCP wallahs..
                  im considering a subscription….comments section im sure to your liking.

                • rationality

                  I like the Spectator and think the comment boards are among the best. The culture section is so so though as we see feminist and CM memes sticking their head in, Im a massive fan of Rod Liddle. One of the few journalists to completely get it. He says the same thing in the Sunday Times.

                  But there is Conservative Party bias here and Im sceptical of that. There is so little trust between the press and the people since the refugee crisis which is self inflicted, Who knows what happens next? But thanks for your response. Maybe Im too fussy!

                • PaD

                  Ive had a change of mind about spectator..of all the images available,.they published a hideous photo of Nigel Farage today…and we all know what that’s about..ill still read douglas murray and r.liddle but the management can f…k off with their agenda

                • rationality

                  Its rather like Guido’s blog as that trades itself as being anti establishment but its just Tory party news in an irreverent blog but with swearing. I like the Spectator as really its the best there is despite the ludicrous pro Tory op eds.

                  Ive given up on ever having my own CM free newspaper. It isnt going to happen and I can spend more time on books.

    • Mary Ann

      They are probably talking to those who are not racist, homophobic,or Islamaphobic

      • rationality

        Wow. You are severely brainwashed and genuinely dont realise that those concepts are political tools to be used against us to deny us control over ourselves.

        Noticably fewer and fewer of those you are talking about for some reason.

  • Vian

    I do wonder how many of the journalists lamenting the closure of the Independent as some kind of national tragedy book all their travel online. The relevance? Because that put thousands of travel agents out of work. The public voted with their wallets, and the business model they possessed was outdated for the rise of the internet. Some adapted, focusing on quality and value for money, and they still exist. Newspapers need to find the right model just as any other business does, but what grates is the apparent belief amongst many journalists that they, and they in particular, are owed a living.

    • Makroon

      None of the online editions are worth a fig if you require news and analysis.
      They survive by reverting to the old, tried and tested, coffee-house model of scurrilous rumours, sleaze, fashion and stories of ‘the tarts and rakes’.
      Congratulations to the Spectator for getting there first (or indeed, never leaving there in the first place).

      • Chingford Man

        Funny how none of the hacks here bothered to do what Crick has done and go through declared by-election expenses.

        After all, there were rumours even at the time of the Newark by-election that the Tories had spent well over the legal limit, and the Speccie hacks could surely not have failed to hear them. Where was Seb? Where was James? Where was Isabel? Where was Fraser?

        • Todd Unctious

          Trying to hush it up.

  • davidofkent

    If the online version of the Independent is anything to go by, the end of this well-left-of-centre newspaper will be no loss at all. The paper is almost rabidly anti-Tory and seems to encourage anti-Tory comments from under every stone. I occasionally glance through the website to read what the loonies are writing on the day.

    • douglas redmayne

      I look forward to the closure of the Telegraph which is suffering similar problems and all of its Tory turds losing their jobs.

      • Atlas

        Irrespective of the Telegraph’s ideological viewpoint it is becoming increasingly pointless as the current editor works tirelessly to dumb it down. The quality of the journalism has collapsed and its stories are often now plagiarised from the previous day’s Daily Mail and just presented in a buzzfeed format.

        • douglas redmayne

          Indeed: it us rubbish.

        • post_x_it

          Spelling, grammar and syntax have gone out the window as well. People used to laugh at the Grauniad, but at least its standards have been constant, whereas the Telegraph has entirely given up on proofreading.

        • http://www.ukipforbritain.co.uk/ ukipforbritainwebsite

          The decline of the Telegraph over the last 18 months is the biggest story in journalism. It’s absolutely shocking – I can’t believe they were in such desperate straits that they had to abandon all principle and commonsense to try and get more readers. There must surely be something more to it than that?

          • MathMan

            The Economist is also following a Left-Wing agenda that will see it disappear down the pan.

        • Mary Ann

          The Times went the same way when Murdoch took it over. Those who read it every day don’t realise it but I would only read it about once every six weeks, noticeable then.

    • JimmyWall

      The Indie supported the tories at the last election.
      I fear you may be getting high on your own supply.

      • Mr B J Mann

        You mean the Blairites!

        • Mary Ann

          There isn’t a lot of difference between Cameron and Blair, but at least the Labour party got the waiting to see a specialist for cancer treatment down to two weeks, now waiting times are going back up. Which is daft, not only does it mean more working days lost for those who are unwell, with things like cancer they get worse and therefore cost more to treat.

          • Ralph

            There’s a big difference, Cameron has never lied to take us to war.

          • PaD

            pity labour secretly and without consent opened the floodgates to a million and a half eastern european immmigration in space of 3-4years…bet the waiting lists got altered with that..
            thats the thing with con/lib/lab politicians they actually think they OWN the country and can do what they like with it…regardless and i mean REGARDLESS of how their decisions affect the rightful inhabitants of the uk..and this will be their undoing

    • telemachus

      Soon there will just be Murdoch and the Barclays
      *
      If you exclude Dacre’s comic

      • Todd Unctious

        Dacres comic staffed by illiterate children

        • telemachus

          Ordinarily I am not in favour of censorship
          But after Quentin Letts on AQ last night, the Mail should be proscribed

      • Mr B J Mann

        So you’re saying in this revolutionary “progressive” country where the left are going to win the next election, yet again, there is only room for right wing rags?!?!

        • telemachus

          Fox, Murdoch, the Barcleys and Dacre have been clever
          They have now killed off the Indy

          • Mr B J Mann

            Wot? They hired Alibliar-Brown to infiltrate it?!

            Genius!

    • Ralph

      Sad thing is that in the beginning it was generally centralist but the less people read it the more it went left wing and that market is dominated by the Guardian and funded by tax avoiding.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Generally centralist?! WENT left wing?!?!

        I seem to recall it once gave away a free paperback, not a leaflet, or a pamphlet, or even a booklet, but an actual small paperback in the run up to a general election advising for every constituency in the land who best for Labour voters to vote for to get Labour in or keep the Tories out.

        And another advising Liberals who to vote for to get a Liberal in or to, ermmm, keep the Conservatives out.

        Strangely, they never produced one for Conservatives advising who best to vote for to get the Tories in or keep Labour out.

        Nor for Liberals who didn’t want Labour in.

        That’s Independence for you!

        Or am I getting them confused with some other “independent” centralist paper?!?!

        • Mary Ann

          Funny isn’t it, so many right wing papers and yet you get upset at the idea of a paper isn’t right wing. You don’t support censorship of left wing views, do you? Actually you do see non left stories in the Indy, the only true leftie paper is the Gruniad.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Where did I say I got upset at the idea of a paper that isn’t right wing?

            In fact, if a buy a paper it’s usually the i (and when I was a naive youngster I was a Guardian and Observer reader).

            What does upset me is a left wing paper that advertises itself not just as “The Independent”, but that it actually IS independent!

            I don’t support censorship.

            But I certainly don’t support lies!

            By the way, did you actually bother to read my post before making your personal attack?!

          • Mr Moo

            Nowhere in the known Universe has a newspaper been more wrongly named.
            This is a good news story.

      • Mary Ann

        Your source of information?

        • Ralph

          Books mostly but the occasional use of an online source.

      • DavidL

        The Independent set out to be a “newspaper of record”, and had a very good circulation. But when Murdoch challenged it, with price-cutting, it lost its nerve and went left. The circulation has been falling ever since. It should have stood its ground. It didn’t, and it’s lost. Sic transit …

    • andytheonlyhammer

      It did however urge people to vote for a tory government during the last election. Yes it is socialy liberal but economicaly it is right of centre.

      • Mr B J Mann

        You mean Blairite?!

        • andytheonlyhammer

          A fair analysis. Blair was hardly a trot.

          • Mr B J Mann

            But even more hardly Tory.

            Who saw the ending of the presumption of innocence, habeas corpus, double jeopardy, free speech, ownership of pistols, and effectively most rifles, by the common citizen, appeal to the House of Lords, Common Law rights and responsibilities………

            Plus politicisation of the police and the military used for politics rather than defence.

            Strengthening of cultural Marxism’s grip on the country.

            And support for fasc!st left-wing revolutions around the world?!

            • andytheonlyhammer

              I am not going to defend blair . He had very few morals if any. There are things worth arguing about blair but i would like to think we can both agree he was scum.

    • Mary Ann

      It makes a refreshing change from the majority right wing press.

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