Friday, 4 April 2008

Mitigating circumstances

Apologies for the non-appearance of this blog for the last few days. The all-important pre-election issue of Freedom had to be finished and it was a difficult week with lots of late stories and change of details which meant the final newspaper looked quite different from what it did on Monday.

Stories had to be updated and others dropped to make room for later, more relevant news, and then all this had to be proof-read again - hopefully all was in order when Freedom 94 went to the printers yesterday.

As you can see from the photo above, it's the future of our children that I believe is the most important issue people should have on their minds when they vote on May 1st. The two photos are of schoolchildren from Yeovil in Somerset visiting a mosque, and children in an Easter bonnet parade organised by local BNP councillors in Broxtowe. Voters have got to decide which road they want this country to go down because in a few years time we might not be able to make a choice.

With the building of new mosques becoming an issue for many local authorities, it is vital that there are BNP representatives on councils to 'whistleblow' when the 'Old Gang' parties try to usher these applications through without public consulation.

It will certainly be an issue in Carlisle and Barrow here in Cumbria, where the local council and media seem to be working together to keep the public in the dark as to their intentions.

And talking of Carlisle, there was a corker of a meeting there last night. A packed city centre pub, 60+ in the audience and morale-boosting announcements one-after-another. The most important news is that we have nine candidates standing for the city council, that's three more than last year. 3,000 copies of the new Freedom have been ordered to supplement the campaign. Lots of new activists signed up to help with our election effort for the next four weeks and a clear and concise strategy has been prepared to maximise the impact of the literature we have available.

Clive Jefferson, our press officer here in Cumbria has no end of schemes up his sleeve and if anyone of them come off, it will get the BNP's push for seats on Carlisle City Council off to a brilliant start.

I was trotted out to say a few words and did my 'bias media' speech which I used at Maryport last week. In the past there would have been crossover of members attending both meetings and I would have had to apologise for boring them with the same talk. But last night there were only three people who had attended that meeting, all the rest were just from Carlisle.
I gave my presentation a 'Carlisle' twist and recalled probably the worst example of anti-BNP journalism I have ever come across, and I shall recount it again here.

In the run-up to the European Elections in 2004, Nick Griffin came to speak in Carlisle to launch our campaign at the beginning of May. I contacted all the media in Cumbria and invited them to the meeting. I specifically telephoned Cumbrian Newspapers which run the Cumberland News and the News & Star. I spoke to the political editor and invited him along, but he said he was going to watch Carlisle United play and didn't think there were any other jounalists available. I said I would send him some photographs and a report of the meeting, which I did.

Obviously Cumbrian Newspapers didn't think Nick's trip to Carlisle was newsworthy. They didn't send a jounalist to cover it and they completely ignored my press statement and photographs.

So you can imagine my surprise, just a few days before polling day in its last issue before its readers were to cast their vote, when the Cumberland News had as its front page story "BNP hate -man to visit city".  That was the massive headline introducing a completely fabricated story, the sole purpose of which was to have the words and 'BNP' and 'hate' in big letters on its front page. The article warned of the unrest that would occur if Nick came to Carlisle and the reporter got quotes from all our opponents stating their opposition to this 'visit'. Nowhere was it mentioned that Nick had already spoken at a meeting in Carlisle, just three weeks earlier and which then the newspaper didn't think was worth reporting.

It was a shocking piece of journalism and I still get angry about it four years down the line. The editor and his team had deliberately misled their readers in an effort to influence the vote in the European Elections against the BNP, just because they personally didn't agree with our policies.

I can't wait for mid-day and the close of nominations. I wish I could be a fly on the wall at Cumbrian Newspapers when the editorial team find out the BNP are fighting nine seats!

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