Sunday 27 September 2009

Richard Desmond and the far-right

Many thanks to Claude at Hagley Road to Ladywood for highlighting a recent Daily Star article which seemed little more than a recruiting ad for the English Defence League (EDL).

Or make that 'ads' because this began a day earlier than first noted.

On Wednesday 23 September the Star ran this:
(Pic found online, the original article has been removed but a cached version is here)

The headline stands out immediately. Could it be any more sympathetic? It's as if the Star thinks this band of suspiciously balaclava-clad men are simply misunderstood innocents.

Of course, if a Muslim woman went around with her face covered the Star would be the first to say they're up to no good. Like the 96% of Star readers who demanded the burkha be banned back in June. And when Star reporter Richard Peppiatt dressed in a burkha for a day, he came to the conclusion:

if you can’t share a smile with a stranger, then what chance do we have of living together in harmony?

But that doesn't apply to the EDL, apparently.

The main pic shows them burning a swastika flag to 'prove' they aren't fascists or Nazis.

Quite how putting on a balaclava and setting fire to something is meant to improve their image is a mystery, but the Star is doing its best to help them.

The article includes a series of quotes from an anonymous EDL spokesman, which begins with a 'some of our best friends...'-type statement:

'We are not racist. We’ve made this film with our black members, and we also welcome any moderate Muslims.'

There isn't much in the way of a counter-argument, save for two sentences, at the end, by a spokesman from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

And then there's the Star poll, which asks 'Has the English Defence League got it right?' eventhough it's not immediately obvious what 'it' is.

The EDL say they are merely 'peacefully protesting against militant Islam' and highlighting 'unrestrained extremist Islam in the UK.'

But watch this video from the recent EDL march in Birmingham, which begins with a deliberately offensive and provocative chant about Allah, and later one man repeatedly shouts 'I hate Pakis more than you'. Another skinhead is seen doing a Nazi salute and elsewhere a placard reading 'No more mosques' was wielded.

Claims from the EDL that they are not anti-Islam, or racist, are clearly not to be believed.

(See also Unite Against Fascism, Jason Parkinson, and Richard Bartholomew's post on one of the EDL's videos, a video which 5CC also wrote about in terms of their use of tabloid headlines.)

On their website homepage they have a short film about an upcoming march and you can tell how extremist they are because Melanie Phillips pops up in it.

Anyway, back to the Star and on Thursday, the results of their poll were announced - 99% of readers agreed that the EDL has 'got it right'.

So the Star and its readers are totally supporting this vile behaviour.

This was accompanied by another full page feature on the group:
(Again, pic found online)

This second article - like the first - was made up of little more than unedited, uninterrupted EDL spokesman quotes, with a token line at the end from Unite Against Fascism.

This was accompanied by yet another poll asking 'Should the EDL become a recognised political party?' Why would the Star be asking that? I don't know what the results were but it was probably an overwhelming 'yes'.

The headline takes the EDL's claim that 'All colours and creeds are backing crusade' as unquestionably accurate, although narrows it down to 'Muslims' support' online. The story states:

The English Defence League last night claimed it had been swamped with messages of support from all races... The EDL, which claims it is defending British values against Muslim extremism, received hundreds of new registrations and postings on its website.

The anonymous EDL spokesman says:

We’ve had Sikhs, Hindus, black people, Jews and even Muslims contacting us.

Of course, 'contacting' them doesn't mean supporting them. They might have been telling the EDL where to shove their Nazi salutes.

But that claim about 'hundreds of new registrations' raises an eyebrow - why would the EDL have this sudden surge of interest?

The EDL spokesman explains:

The article about our activities has produced an amazing response.

Really? So the EDL claims to have boosted its support thanks to sympathetic coverage in the Daily Star.

They must be so proud.

This nasty, racist national 'newspaper' has long flirted with the far-right and taken the line that England is under siege from foreigners. It has a completely anti-minority agenda. There have been front pages which have taken an 'us and them' line more blatantly than any other paper.

And its sister paper the Express is sticking BNP slogans on its cover the same day as the first EDL article appeared in the Star.

Is Richard Desmond now just running recruiting rags for the far-right?

1 comment:

  1. it's nice to see that they love so squeeze some support of racism in between slabs of articles about katie price.

    just a shame about the reader range this tree-wasting bile can cover due to only being 20p whilst also giving shiny offers for the daily diana.


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