Every morning on his way home from his shift at the pit, my father would collect the Daily Mirror. Apart from the Daily Herald it was the only newspaper allowed in our home in Wigan. It was the newspaper of my childhood and I continue to buy it.
Now, more than ever, Labour needs the Daily Mirror — a national newspaper to challenge the Conservative-dominated media and coalition.
We must rescue the paper from the clutches of a greedy, asset-stripping CEO.
For over 100 years, the Daily Mirror has been the paper of the left.
It is the paper that helped build support for the NHS after the world war.
It gave us the dynamic and radical journalism of Marjorie Proops, Paul Foot, Roy Greenslade, Alastair Campbell and Piers Morgan.
It was the only popular newspaper to speak out from the start against the invasion of Iraq.
It was the only paper to back Labour in 2010.
Now, under cover of the new Con-Dem government, the Mirror Group chief executive, Sly Bailey, is killing off a newspaper read daily across Britain by Labour’s supporters.
Last week Trinity Mirror announced that 35 per cent of the journalists working across the three national titles would face redundancy.
Bolstered by her 66 per cent bonus rise in 2009 — knowing Labour is distracted by a leadership election, and sure of support from the Con-Dem government — Sly Bailey is killing off Labour’s link to millions of readers.
Even though the axing of 1,700 staff, the freezing of wages and the disposal of 30 publications in 2009 helped Trinity Mirror stay comfortably in profit.
As the Wall Street Journal has noted:
“Her strategy of delivering shareholder value doesn’t seem to extend to much beyond culling staff when the going gets tough.”
Today’s limited staff work 15-hour days to produce the newspaper.
So there is no slack to cut, if the paper is to maintain its relevance, radicalism and popular appeal.
A tiny skeleton staff will fill the paper with wire reports, like the Daily Express.
Mirror journalists will no longer have the resources to challenge the government, to oppose illegal wars, to investigate wrongdoing or to stand up for the rights of working people.
If stripping the paper of its journalistic assets were not bad enough, Sly is squeezing the Mirror’s Labour-supporting readers dry.
Abusing readers’ loyalty, she has bumped up the price of the paper to 45p — more than double the price of the Sun in parts of the country. If Richard Desmond’s threat to cut the price of the Daily Star in July materialises, the Daily Mirror will cost four times the price of the Star.
So Bailey expects Mirror readers to pay a premium for a product that she is hollowing out of good writing talent and experience.
Join us in calling for the resignation of Sly Bailey — and fight for investment in the journalists that have built a great national Labour daily.
Anni Marjoram was adviser on women’s issues to Ken Livingstone (2000-2008).