The Independent, after a long decline, passed away today [March 25th 2010]
Never a healthy child, The newspaper began life as a frail but precocious infant fighting for survival. It survived the tricky period of infancy showing signs of imagination and courage. The laws of the jungle prevailed, as the weak upstart became a target for powerful Canadian and Australian rivals. Despite a range of innovations, some of which were to be imitated by those rivals, the paper went into a terminal decline. Loss of circulation eventually became terminal.
The remains have been acquired by Alexander Lebedev whose offer follows a similar charitable gesture for the Evening Standard in 2009. Press reports confirmed that
The Independent will be the second British newspaper purchase for Lebedev, a former KGB agent, who purchased the Evening Standard for a nominal fee from the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) in January 2009.
As it entered into the last few years of life, The Independent became increasingly disturbed. It began to present a cause for the day, every day of the week, hurling itself into the fray behind evocative front pages. In this election run-up it maintained its cherished independent stance, although, perhaps, showing a few signs of tolerance of the Liberal Democrat position in general, and Vince Cable in particular. It will be remembered as the first broadsheet to have been launched in the UK in the 20th century, and one whose radical design and shift from broadsheet to tabloid format were copied by its competitors.
As peparations for its interment began, The Independent was revealed as having assets of precisely £1, the current cover price of a single copy.