I hope Sir Harold Evans – one of the English speaking world’s most respected journalists – is right in his assessment that Rupert Murdoch might well sell his British newspapers, because I miss my Sunday Times. Always given, of course, the new owner respects the traditions of a great Sunday journal.
I knew the Murdoch empire was powerful and feared but I had always judged it enjoyed the fruits of success legitimately earned.
I swore off ever buying a Murdoch newspaper when the News of the World telephone hacking scandal revealed the corrosive effect the organs of the world’s biggest media baron had had on those pillars of the Establishment – politics and the police – and the depths to which they were prepared to infringe the personal privacy of everyone from celebrities to a murdered schoolgirl.
I’d never been a Sun reader or that of the six-day-a-week Times. But the Sunday Times was my newspaper and had been for the last 30 years.
I can reel off the writers I would look out for each week – Bryan Appleyard, Dominic Lawson, Cosmo Landesman, Sir Max Hastings, A A Gill, even Jeremy Clarkson and Michael Winner; Waldemar Januszczak (ok, I had to look him up). The Culture section alone was worth the cover price.
The problem is none of the rival newspapers I’ve given a try since dropping the Sunday Times comes close to its quality and scope – even if I throw away half of the supplements unread.
Evans – a former Sunday Times and Times editor – believes now that Murdoch’s influence on British political life is broken (he says the man had a “collusive relationship with Tony Blair”) and with the Times losing money, it’s possible he will sell his British titles.
I wish he would hurry up and do so. It would end the dithering in my local newsagents every Sunday allowing me to return to an old friend.