22 JANUARY 1972, Page 5

Nasty winds blow

There are nasty winds blowing down Fleet Street. The Daily Mail has advertised its average circulation for the second half of 1971 as 1,753,846. Its average circulation for the same period in 1970 was 1,814,331. But during that second half of 1970, the Daily Mail also had a sister paper, the Daily Sketch, with an average sale of 764,187. Thus, sofar as the Harmsworths' Associated Newspapers is concerned, they have lost the entire Daily Sketch sale. I understand that the current circulation of the Mail is now under 1,700.000.

Last May, in the course of a discussion on Panorama, when Robert McNeil talked with Vere Harmsworth (who had by then succeeded his father, Lord Rothermere, as boss of Associated Newspapers), Daily Mail editor David English, and executive Brian Henry, Henry said, of the Daily Mai , "In the long term we would be very happy with a steady average sale of two million. If we went below 1,810,000 we might be in some difficulty."