Anyone want a fight? The Spectator is the place to find one. And
I’m not talking about the sort of choreographed scrap that draws the
mink coat and mobile phone brigade to the ringside. These guys are
heavyweights and the wounds they inflict aren’t susceptible to a bit of
old needle and thread.
The other week someone tried to land a punch on Jeremy Paxman. A
response was swift and deadly. Remember Hamilton versus Bell? Or Aitken
versus Rusbridger? On each occasion, Spectator readers found themselves
with the best seats in the house.
It’s partly the witnessing of these semi-private bouts (which derive
from The Spectator’s exceptional ability to attract contributors) and
partly the courage of the views that compel. Such writers’ impulse is to
fly in the face of the conventional, accepted view.
And if you are in the business of understanding and, more particularly,
predicting public opinion, this is a must-read publication.
The Spectator has committed and loyal readers. Perfect for advertisers
but a disadvantage if you want to update a design inherited from the
last editor but one.
So what we have here is the sort of change-by-stealth operation deployed
by The Telegraph. The effect of The Spectator’s own stealthy changes -
smart colour headlines, the occasional illustration - is effortlessly
greater than the sum of the parts.
For this sort of access to that most desirable of target markets -
opinion formers and AB groups with great stashes of disposable income
(15 per cent of readers earn more than pounds 100,000) - the ad rates
are meagre. The Spectator is an unmissable bargain.
Penny Furniss is the co-founder of the media relations consultancy,