The Spectator

Letters: why not let readers buy The Spectator?

Power to the readers

Sir: I would suggest that even if the government of the UAE gives a ‘cast-iron’ guarantee not to interfere with The Spectator’s editorial line, this should be taken with a very large pinch of salt (‘The real deal’, 2 December). Why don’t you ask your subscribers to buy the magazine? With nearly 140,000 of them, and 300,000 subscribing to your TV channel, surely we could raise £70 million, enough to satisfy Lloyds Bank? (It’s called ‘crowdfunding’, I believe.)

Jo Aldenham

London SW10

To the barricades

Sir: In its leading article of 2 December, this magazine quotes John Howard’s comments recently about what makes up a functioning democracy, namely the law, parliament and a free press.

Since this article was published, the possibility that the world’s oldest weekly, The Spectator, might be sold to an American fund financed by the UAE government has, temporarily at least, been halted by the intervention of the Culture Secretary, who will investigate the sale.

In many respects, it’s that free press which is the most important aspect of a democratic state. That’s why it’s vital to prevent a vigorous and independent journal from falling into the hands of financiers dictating policy of the kind we’ve already seen in the UAE. It’s hardly a place where robust and independent thought, freely expressed, is the norm.

Everything that can be done by the Culture Secretary to stop the sale to RedBird IMI must be done, and quickly. In these populist days, and in these circumstances, even I am minded to say: ‘Aux armes, citoyens.’

Alastair Conan


Horror of the Holodomor

Sir: It was good to read Charles Moore’s piece about the Westminster Abbey service to commemorate the millions who died in the Holodomor (Notes, 2 December). So little is it talked about that almost nobody knows what it is.

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