Wednesday, 15 April 2009

St George banned during two day St George celebration!

Yesterday this blog covered the Daily Star's blatantly untrue front page and wondered whether it gets away with it because no one takes the rag seriously. The problem is, the Star doesn't just limit its crap to 'sleb' TV and Royal tittle-tattle.

Today's front page has a small teaser story headed 'St George ban anger'. Its continuation inside reads St George banned but it's okay for Muslims to abuse our troops.

And just about everything about this story is provably untrue.

Let's take the headline. St George has not been banned. Indeed, there is a two-day event celebration taking place at Wrest Park. Two days from 10am-6pm. That's a lot of St George if he's 'banned'. And as this and this shows, there was a similar celebration last year too.

The story begins:

Patriotic Brits blasted a council yesterday for barring a St George’s Day parade – after letting Muslim fanatics abuse our soldiers. Anyone wanting to stage an event in Luton, Beds, has to seek permission from the council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG). But while fanatical Muslims were given the green light to gather and scream insults when the Royal Anglian Regiment returned from Iraq last month, an application for a St George’s Day celebration this month was turned down.

Later on in the story, as you usually find with these sensationalised stories, the truth comes out. A Luton Council and Bedforshire Police spokesman said:  

“The SAG was unable to comment on the application because of a lack of information such as detailed route plan, full risk assessment, and timings of the event.”

So these 'patriots' are so interested in holding a parade, they can't even say when it starts and ends and where it will go. On top of that, and this was curiously omitted from the Star story, is that the applicant was a man named Paul Ray who runs a blog called Lionheart (I won't link to his wretched site) and was arrested in 2008 over inflammatory comments on his website. A man who sought political asylum in South Carolina.

A quick look at the blog sees him supporting the BNP in a post called 'Jihad against our children'; another reveals the 'Horror of 21st Century Britain'. In another he asks: 'Do you want your children to become Pakistani Muslim drug and sex slaves?' Why a man who wants to leave Britain or constantly tell you how awful it is is regarded a patriot, I don't know.

But if the Star wants to throw its support behind a St George's Day parade organised by a BNP supporter, then it should be more open about the people involved.

There was a protest against the decision to dis-allow this parade on Monday 12 April. The Star reported on this too, with a story beginning:

Police broke up a march yesterday by British people wanting to “reclaim” their streets from Muslim fanatics.

This is a typical Star 'them and us' tactic - notice how 'British people' want to reclaim the streets from Muslims, as if a Briton can't be a Muslim and vice versa.

It's hard to verify the facts of this protest because no media outlet apart from the Star appears to have reported on it. They claim the gathering was 'stopped and then broken up by police' and a protestor called Craig McKoy claimed he had two teeth 'smashed in by a policeman's truncheon during the event'. Maybe he did, and in this post-G20 period, accusations of police force should be taken seriously.

But the Star's own story makes it clear that 'Monday's rally was stopped because there had been no application to the Safety Advisory Group,' and was therefore illegal. And Bedfordshire police's own statement says the protest 'ended peacefully' and they had enough warning to ensure it 'remained a peaceful event'.

[EDIT: Thanks to Richard at Bartholomew's Notes on Religion, who has also discussed the Luton protests and the Star story. He points out that Bedford Today did report on the 12 April protest, but didn't mention the two missing teeth, but did mention someone throwing a brick at a policeman. This wasn't in the Star story either. And was also something the Muslim Luton protestors didn't do...)

What is so disconcerting about all this is the way the Star is fuelling the delusional hate-filled rantings of people like Paul Ray with stories like this. The story is clearly supporting his agenda in the way it is framed. It pushes a false claim about St George being banned despite a weekend long event dedicated to him and sets up a 'them and us' clash against Muslims. The Star sides with Ray, Ray sides with the BNP. So where does that leave the Star?

(As an aside, a man called Glen Jenvey is a member of Paul Ray's 'St George  D-day in Luton' Facebook group. Is it really him?)


  1. This reminds me of the fiasco in Birmingham when a tabloid suggested that the council had banned Christmas in favour of "Winterville". Someone I know was adamant it was true and when I showed him the front page of the Birmingham Council website and counted out 23 mentions of the word Christmas he said, "They obviously haven't updated their website, have they?"

    Confirmation bias... don't ya just love it?

  2. Great post. It is shameful how tabloids are trying to create racial tension where very little actually exists. I really do wonder what attitudes would be like if no tabloid press existed.

  3. Yes Dave - and I think there was a similar false story around events in Oxford last Christmas.

    Thanks Uponnothing. The Star is far more blatant than the others. I recall a front page last year which was along the lines of 'They've taken all our jobs' - really emphasizing the 'them and us' line.

  4. A similar thing happened up in Bradford and what the tabloids failed to mention is that the St. George's Day parade was jointly organised by Muslims to improve race relations.

  5. Is it really him?Yep, the one and only. I've blogged a bit on this - see here and here.

  6. Shafiq - do you have more details on this? I'd be interested in hearing more (I will email you)

    Thanks Richard - I see you have gone into quite a lot more detail - the March for England link seems interesing. And I appreciate the link to Bedford Today article - I will need to edit my post accordingly.


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