How to save the Guardian leftwingily

  1. As a Public Limited Company (plc) in the unusual position of having a single, non-profit shareholder (The Scott Trust Ltd), the Guardian Media Group can fairly straightforwardly ‘un-PLC’ itself and, via itself or via the Trust, submit an application to the Financial Conduct Authority. under the provisions of section 115 of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, to become a Charitable Community Benefit Society
  2. This done, the new Society is in a position to draw up and issue a prospectus for withdrawable shares to its readership (and then to institutional investors). This will need to be based on a business plan leading to a small (let’s say 2%) return in investment, and can lead to an inital raising of funds sufficient to put off the the current proposed job losses*.
  3. Withdrawable shares, regulated under Society Law, are different from the usual shares, regulated under Company Law in that the shareholder is not getting into the shares buy-and-sell business — they cannot be sold on, only withdrawn. This means that small investors, like out readership, can get involved more easily.
  4. Vitally, a Community Benefit Society must operate on a one shareholder- one vote basis, so someone with a £3 holding gets as much say as someone holding £10,000 of shares.
  5. So to cut to the quick, we see the digital begging bowl, in which the newspaper asks readers for subscription income but gives no say in the journalistic output, replaced with a model in which readers have a financial interest in the papers’ success, and control over how that might be achieved. e.g. by carrying less Nick Cohen articles and more be me, as well as seting rules around journalistic ethics e.g. to line up with the NUJ’s long-established, often ignored, code of conduct.

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Paul Cotterill

Paul Cotterill

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Secretary General, Habermasian Labour (UK). Indefatigably focused on the promotion of ethical discourse in the public sphere, except when there's cricket.