In my opinion: Thank goodness for the Guardian and all who read it
In the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher's death earlier this year, I can distinctly recall reading one letter published in the Western Morning News which poignantly pointed out that we learnt more about the late Prime Minister by noting that she had had a rather cosy friendship with the despot Augusto Pinochet whilst she had simultaneously regarded Nelson Mandela as a terrorist.
In a similar vein, I think we can infer more about the views of Paul Mercer of Tavistock (letters August 14) when he vehemently defends what many right-minded people consider as being the quasi-racist use of the term Bongo-Bongo Land by the UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, whilst he simultaneously uses the expression Guardian Reader as a term of abuse.
I don't really know who Mr Mercer is trying to impress with his puerile misuse of the words Guardian Reader, but it isn't witty and it isn't very clever; not is it even original. Perhaps Mr Mercer should bear in mind that independent surveys of national UK newspapers consistently find that, more than any of its national rivals, it is The Guardian which is the first choice of those in our society with the highest levels of academic achievement and is read by more people educated to university standard than any other national daily paper.
Mr Mercer would also do well to remember that unlike many other national daily newspapers The Guardian does not jump to the whims of any megalomaniac owner – primarily because since 1936 it has been owned by a charitable foundation which guarantees the paper's independence and protects it from being taken over by for-profit owners. Try getting anything other than the owner's own views in The Sun or Daily Mail, for example! Perhaps Mr Mercer would rather have us believe all the innuendo and half truths published about the European Union or migrants in other tatty national tabloids? Or would Mr Mercer have us all read The Express, a paper with ever-declining readership levels which gives the distinct impression that it is obsessed with migrants, health scare-stories and the late Princess Diana?
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Paul Mercer ought in fact to be grateful to this very same Guardian which he seemingly despises, as it has in recent times been the sole reason for the revelation that mobile-phones have been hacked by renegade elements in the national press and, more recently, worryingly revealed that the US government agencies now have direct access to everyone's private emails – including, it must be said, Paul Mercer's.
To its credit The Guardian, just like our very own Western Morning News, publishes views from all manner of people covering the entire political spectrum. If Mr Mercer can't accept that other people hold views which differ from his own narrow-mindedness or that these two publications rightfully print letters from such people, it is a sad day for our democracy.