Editorial: Will you forgive or forget the Standard?

Sorry seems to be the hardest word everywhere but at the Evening Standard.

No sooner does the paper complete its move away from the Daily Mail & General Trust and into the ownership of the ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev than it starts publicly apologising for its bad old ways like a prisoner in the dock at an old-time Moscow show trial.

Ads by McCann Erickson say sorry for losing touch with its readers, sorry for taking them for granted, sorry for being complacent and sorry for being predictable.

But even if it has seen the error of its ways, readers will not easily be won back. Even if rival freesheets disappeared overnight, people wouldn't necessarily start buying the Standard again. And in News International, the owner of thelondonpaper, it faces an opponent with huge resources.

Let's hope the title doesn't suffer the equivalent fate of many of Stalin's victims. However many times they said sorry, they still faced a firing squad.

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