22 JANUARY 1972, Page 16


The extraordinary hubbub on the Guardian that followed last week's revelations about the Women's Page editorship, makes one wonder how their staff have time to produce a daily newspaper at all. The following remarkable missive was received:

To the Editor The Spectator

Sir: As a freelance journalist, I have no wish to be Woman's Editor of the Guardian or of anything else. Especially having got rid of the

Woman's Guardian' label above my column over a year ago. (Or hadn't you noticed?)

Jill Tweedie

Sir: I do not expect to be appointed Woman's Editor of the Guardian, nor did I join the staff with this in view.

Linda Christmas

Sir: I am not Features Editor of the Guardian. Nor do I expect to "commission out" the post of Woman's Editor. (I don't think I'd know

how). Peter Fiddick

Sir: I am, and nor do 1.

Peter Preston Sir: As secretary to Woman's Guardian, one of my more boring tasks is replying to readers who say, "Why call it a women's page when so many men read it?" Any further move to attract male readers, whether by Mr Fiddick or anyone else, therefore seems to me unlikely. Rhona Kirkwood Sir: Does the absence of inaccurate gossip about us in Bookbuyer's paragraph indicate that we are about to the appointed Woman's Editor of the Guardian?

Christopher Dodd, Elisabeth Dunn Sir: Apart from the comment about myself, which, I of course cannot deny, was there anything right in Bookbuyer's alleged revelations? Mary Stott Bookbuyer must regretfully point out that the substance of last week's story was absolutely correct. The supposition that the editorship is unlikely to go either to Jill Tweedie (who would be unlikely to accept it) or to Linda Christmas (who would) is born out by a haystack of straws in the wind, including the Guardian's known penchant for collective staff responsibility and Mary Stott's own muttered comment at the last Guardian party — "Oh God, the Woman's Page is going to be taken over by a whole lot of young men."

The young man will, in fact, be Peter Fiddick. Mary Stott's remark will take several Guardian old-timers back to her original appointment when Brian Redhead (then Features Editor and now Editor of the Manchester Evening News which keeps the Guardian afloat) didn't like the sound of female competition and inserted, in Mary Stott's letter of approval, the word Page between Woman's and Editor, thus retaining overall control.

Another amusing Guardian story (since, willy-nilly, Bookbuyer's attention has been drawn towards Gray's Inn Road this week) concerns Peter Jenkins, the late political columnist, who now appears to have been replaced by Barry Norman, Jenkins was originally planning to go to the United States towards the end of March. First, be was going to go on a tour of Vietnam and the Far East. Unfortunately for everyone, except perhaps Polly Toynbee his wife, the Guardian discovered that they had spent so much money covering the sufferings of Bangladesh that they can't afford his fare.