It all happened quietly and without fanfare but for those of us who care about such things history will recall that this was the week the the Independent bowed to the inevitable and dismantled their subscription firewall, having finally come to appreciate what us humble bloggers have been saying all along; that the value in being talked about freely far outweighed the (presumably) meagre sums of money that the Indy were eeeking out of their pay per view system.
The upside to this new arrangement should be immediately obvious – if you’ve a few minutes to spare, go and catch up with the musings of the excellent Matthew Norman and the ascerbic wit of Simon Carr immediately, you won’t regret it.
It also means, joy of joys, free access to possibily the best serious columnist currently writing in any of the upmarket dailies; Dominic Lawson.
Dominic Lawson? Praised by a lefty? Has the world gone mad?
Not as far as I’m concerned.
I like reading Lawson’s columns for the Indy, not because I necessarily agree with his opinions (often I don’t) but simply because I find his to be a writer who invariably puts up a good argument based on a strong, logically constucted narrative. I respect that and, reading his work, am always left with the impression that one could have a very good, if challenging, debate with Lawson. A real debate. An exchange of ideas and genuinely, and forthrightly, held opinons.
Its that which makes his columns so appealling, even if one disagrees with his views.
It certainly hasn’t hurt his standing in my eyes, either, to discover this in his current column:
I rather enjoyed the retort of the blogger known as Mr Eugenides, who commented: “Personally I find it pretty grotesque that a couple of dozen Cabinet ministers can spend £550bn of hard-working families’ money between them. I think we need a debate about that, not the bonuses paid to some private-sector bosses. Their remuneration, however exorbitant to the rest of us, is none of Peter Hain’s fucking business.”
Not only is Lawson aware of bloggers, always a good start, but he’s actually read and is quoting, in his own article, the estimable Mr Eugenides.
That – other columnists take note – is how to begin a new era of online openness on the right foot.