Somewhere in my attic there is a fading, yellowing scroll with a candle-wax seal handed to me for signature in 1982. It detailed a bargain between me and South Essex Recorders, part of Home Counties Newspapers, trading in this instance as the Newham Recorder in east London. I’m still not sure who got the best of the deal: for five years they couldn’t sack me – unless in extremis – and I couldn’t leave.
Like many journalists of my generation, I was an apprentice. I didn’t go to university – I had the grades, I just didn’t want to study any more. I did a year at college and then learned from a roomful of brilliant, crazy, boozy, massively supportive older journalists. I’m for everyone who wants to go to university. Journalism now is full of those who did so. But I’m also for apprenticeships.