Read the "precarious" Guardian's plea for readers' money (not mentioning it has £850m in the bank)

Polly's plea.

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Could the Guardian get any more Guardian

The self-styled "precarious" broadsheet (which has £850m in the bank) is begging its readers for money, via a heartwarming plea from its columnist Polly Toynbee (salary: somewhere north of £100,000; second home: somewhere in Tuscany).

In a smug full-page ad for the Guardian membership package, it preys upon its readers' brotherly munificence – "There is an instinctive bond between Guardian readers – we almost nod to one another as we read the paper on the train" – with tales of oligarchal evil and financial adversity.

The Guardian’s life has always been precarious because we don’t have an owner or a corporation propping us up. We don’t have a press baron or oligarch ordering us to take their political or commercial line. We swim along in a dangerous world of media sharks, our independence precious and unique

Polly's plea for readers to become members, essentially an invitation to spend more money on the brand by attending its events and masterclasses, is a little cheeky considering the paper received a massive financial boost after selling Autotrader last year. Press Gazette reports that it currently has cash reserves of £850m. Also, the paper's ability as a trust to operate at a loss (running to around £20-30m) probably makes it the least "precarious" national broadsheet in Britain.

Here's the ad:

Dear reader, swim clear of the real "media sharks"...

I'm a mole, innit.

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