Glover and Greenslade: At odds over everything, including The Independent

Alexander Lebedev suggests that ‘lack of additional cash’will restrict his efforts to buy any more newspapers.

Hopefully, this will put an end to my hallucinations. 

For some time now, I’ve been unable to read the Lebedev/Independent-related output of either Stephen Glover or Roy Greenslade without a vision rising before my eyes.

It’s a vision of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau bickering endlessly in The Odd Couple.

For better or worse, I’ve identified Glover as the Jack Lemmon character (who plays the tidy, conservative Felix Unger). In the script that plays out in my head, Glover is constantly fending off Greenslade’s “unhinged” efforts to “kill off” the Indy.

Over the years I have lost count of the number of times rivals and pundits have informed readers that The Independent was on its last legs. It is curious how some journalists, who should in theory be in favour of increasing the number of titles, often seem eager to close them.

(Well, Stephen. . . it’s fairly simple. The Independent is symptomatic of an over-supply of newsprint in a declining market. Its demise would give everyone else a breathing space. QED, mate.)

Greenslade,admittedly, is a much better fit for Walter Matthau (the untidy sports journalist).

The untidiness in question consists of obsessive speculation about the Indy‘s future. Recently, for example, Greenslade has been spotting potential buyers around every corner: ‘So Lebedev would like the Indy too“, ‘Memo to Carlos [Slim]: Buy the Independent“; ‘The Independent IS up for sale“. 

Naturally, the parallel with Matthau and Lemmon simply wouldn’t work without some mutual antagonism.

So it is that Glover calls his antagonist ‘Professor Roy Campbell-Greenslade'(a reference to Greenslade’s job at City University and his supposed ideological proximity to Alastair Campbell during the 1990s).

In return, Greenslade calls Glover a ‘fearless media columnist and campaigner for press freedom”. (Rest assured: the metonym is ironic in construction.)

All very amusing. But if — heaven forbid — the Independent were ever to close it doors, what on earth would they find to write about?

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