Over the past few weeks some Grandads have reported spotting a newspaper on sale that brought back memories from twenty or more years ago.
The European was launched by Robert Maxwell in May 1990 with the aim of being the paper for supporters of the integration of Europe. Much the same aim as The New European except now the language used is much more cosmopolitan – a pop-up newspaper for a zeitgeist moment in British political and social history … with an enthusiasm and love for Europe … that gives voice to the values of the 48%.
Now this first European did get good initial support; reaching a circulation of over 200,000 by early 1991. But sales started to slide as interest in matters across the Channel faded. Then by the end of that year Maxwell was dead and his empire in tatters. New owners took it on-board in 1992 but by December 1996 it had accumulated reported losses of £50m. It struggled on until December 1998 when its last issue carried the ironic front page leader – Europe aims to be superpower of the 21st century.
The first time around many who are now Grandads thought that One money for Europe was a good idea, along with customs-free travel, unrestricted trade and common standards. But seeing how a federalist clique has taken the reigns of political power since then has changed enough minds for them now to be in the 52% majority.
It will be interesting to see how long the New European survives beyond the ripples from its zeitgeist moment. But it seems unlikely to attract much in the way of subscriptions from those with memories of that, much more appealing, earlier European dream.