People on Twitter yesterday will have seen consternation from some quarters on an article by Matthew Parris published in the Times yesterday. The link will have taken you to the paywall; those without a subscription were/are unable to read the article and judge for themselves.
This poses an interesting question. At some level people feel we should be able to see this article, for free. But of course, not so long ago, when I was a young man, newspapers all cost something. With the advent of the internet, quality online newspapers still charged (in my memory), and then became free. And then our friend Rupert Murdoch decided to charge us to view his merchandise. So there we are today.
To solve the problem at a personal level, I went out yesterday and bought the print version and lugged it home. I found the offending article, cut it out, and placed the rest in the recycling box. I read the article, was initially incensed, and then wrote Mr Parris a letter (see links below). I then thought I needed to write a ‘Letter to the Editor’. I went online, and then of course I was confronted with the paywall. I tried to find a way to just send them an email, but could not find a way to do it (I nearly sent my ‘Letter to the Editor’ to the Editor of Time magazine; just about to click ‘submit’ when I realised it was the wrong periodical). Needs must, I bought an online subscription (details below), and sent my letter.
So what can you do to view this article?
You can go through the bins in your neighbourhood if you live in that sort of neighbourhood.
You can ring a friend, if you have that sort of friend, and get him/her to read it over the phone.
You can view part of the article via a photograph on Twitter, but you might get a sore neck.
If your moral compass will stretch that far, you can take out a subscription to the online Times. I took out the minimal pack I could; you pay £1 for the first month, and then £2 per week from then on. What they don’t make entirely clear upfront (yes, of course, it’s there somewhere in the fine print a few clicks away) is that you will be locked into paying the weekly rate for 52 weeks. Now the good news is that if in the first month you decide this is not for you, you can ring them up and cancel the subscription. And this is what I intend to do.
I am going to post a summary of the article to give you some sense of the content. Maybe it will wet your appetite enough to pay £1 as described above, or to go through the bins.
My invitation to Matthew Parris Click here