THERE’S a rule we journalists are obliged to bear in mind when first we commit ourselves to paper.
It is that for every 1,000 people who read what you’ve written, only 100 will remember a single word once they’ve put the newspaper down.
Of that 100, only 10 will be moved either to agree or disagree with it.
Only one of those 10 will be moved to communicate with the author, and nine times out of 10 the person who is so moved will be critical of what s/he has read.
I don’t know how true this is statistically, but all journalists teach themselves to live daily with this sobering thought.
In asking readers to join a revolution over the nonsense of many aspects of modern justice last week, I expected to be standing on the barricades on my own.
There was never much of a chance, was there, that others would feel they way I do?
“If you let me know when and where the revolution starts I’ll be there,” wrote Judy Taber.
“Sorry this response is so late – been looking after the grandchildren and baking for the church coffee morning.
“Viva the revolution – hope there’ll still be time for tea! Good luck.”
Regular Examiner correspondent Richard Huddleston added: “Well said, John – just about everyone I know says these things all the time. I guess you can kiss that dream job with the Guardian or BBC goodbye.”
“Just read your ‘Revolution’ article,” emails Phil Hewlett.
“I think the vast majority of people will totally agree with you but, of course, that makes us not PC so people are scared to voice their opinion in our own country.
“Yes, it is very much time the worm turned so I suggest you send copies of your article to every politician in the country, particularly to Mr Cameron, and ask ‘What are you going to do about it?’
“Yes, by all means enlist your readers as revolution members but, before membership is issued, ensure they can answer one question ‘Do you know and keep track of what your kids get up to of an evening?’”
My kids, all being well, Phil, are looking after their kids. We silver surfers man the barricades only by beating our zimmer frames into AK-47s, metaphorically speaking.
Company director Bob Knowles wants to join ‘my’ revolution.
“What an article! Brilliant! To the point! Brave! Yet, sadly true.
“I meet people from all walks of life through my business of designing and retailing fitted furniture and the conversations during the survey regularly turn to current affairs as per your article.
“Almost all the customers I speak to hold your views. I hold your views and applaud your candour.
“I agree with everything you have written. Maybe you should run for Parliament as you would get my vote and, I’m sure, many others.”
This sort of praise won’t happen again in my lifetime, so a huge thank you to everyone who took the trouble to agree this is a topsy-turvy world and that it’s high time we did something drastic to turn it back on its feet.