A guest post by Samantha Baldwin
I write regarding the Sun newspaper, the Sun or Scum newspaper is not a working-class newspaper, but a far-right, anti-working-class, anti-trade union, phone-hacking, scouser hating and baiting, phone hacking, Levi Bellfield aiding, war-mongering, bigoted, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, lying, unprincipled, two-faced rag. I am not saying those things because I don’t like its political stance, or crap journalism or sensationalism. I can back them up one by one, and unlike the Scum, I will provide serious analysis of why it is all those things.
The Scum viciously condemned Labour’s plans to bring in the Minimum Wage and has said it shouldn’t rise. It opposed the Social Chapter and has backed moves to come out of it. This means agency workers, part-time workers, temporary workers will all lose rights, as well many low-paid and minimum wage workers. It condemned the postmen for going on strike in 2009, the train drivers in 1994, attacked the printers at Wapping and printed a false front page about Arthur Scargill in 1984 and backed the pit closures. It backed the poll tax, called protestors scum, and attacked the 50% tax rate on those on £100,000 a year or more, saying it drags us all down to a drab level. How many Scum readers are on that a year? It has backed Royal Mail privatisation, public spending cuts, tax cuts and breaks for the well-off.
The Scum attacked Labour’s giving GCHQ workers the chance to join a Trade Union in 1997 after a 13-year-ban. They have repeatedly attacked them as reds and said they restrict business, and even have said there is no need for them. They have launched attacks on Trade Union leaders, which have been filthy, vicious, personal and at times, inaccurate.
The Scum claims to hate the far-right BNP. Yet look at their policies. The BNP is racist. The Scum is racist. The BNP is Xenophobic. The Scum is Xenophobic. The BNP wants hanging back. The Scum wants hanging back. The BNP wants us out of Europe. The Scum wants us out of Europe. The BNP is anti-immigration. The Scum is anti-immigration. The BNP doesn’t like Trade Unions, neither does the Scum, so what are they complaining about?
The Scum referred to the mentally ill boxer “Frank Bruno” as bonkers in 2003. It has launched attacks on Asylum Seekers that the BNP propangda chief would be delighted with. It has attacked homosexuals, the unemployed, single parents.
The Scum opposed Edwina Currie’s bill in 1994 to lower the age of consent for homosexuals from the age of 21 to 18. Then it opposed the equalization bill that Labour brought in during 1999, and backed the homophobic section 28. It has tried to equate homosexuality with paedophilia. It has referred to pulpit poofs in the Church of England, lied saying that Elton John uses rent boys. It opposed civil partnerships and Television personality Piers Morgan, a former Editor of the Daily Mirror and of The Sun’s Bizarre pop column, has said that during the late 1980s, at Kelvin MacKenzie’s behest, he was ordered to speculate on the sexuality of male pop stars for a feature headlined “The Poofs of Pop”. He also recalls MacKenzie headlining a story about the first homosexual kiss on BBC television soap opera EastEnders “EastBenders”. It also said that only homosexual sex could give you AIDS.
Readers were encouraged to wear free badges with the slogan ‘Hop off, you frogs’. When in Sept 1985, Hackney Council proposed re-naming a street after Indian nationalist Shahid Bhagat Singh, the Sun headlined: ‘Lefties start a singh and a dance in the street’. When head-teacher Ray Honeyford was forced to quit a Bradford school with many Muslim pupils, a Sun cartoon (17 Oct 85) showed Asian parents in turbans, dhotis and saris perched on the school roof with a steaming pot of curry to pour on an Honeyford approaching the school. The caption read: ‘The Madras curry will finish him off.’
The Scum backed apartheid in South Africa and attacked the ANC and Nelson Mandela as terrorists. It employed columnists such as Garry Bushell who defended the racist Tory MP for Welwyn David Evans who referred to “Black bastards” in 1997 and said he was a racist. It has made subliminal references to black people and racism in the past.
Where do I start…. The Dunn of the Sun, Elton John uses rent boys, the Hillsborough article, which for me, has been the most evil headline ever on a newspaper, vicious and personal attacks on Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone, Arthur Scargill and Gordon Brown which have been dishonest at times. The Sun also did a story extensively quoting a respected American psychiatrist claiming that British left-wing politician Tony Benn was “insane”, with the psychiatrist discussing various aspects of Benn’s supposed pathology. The story was discredited when the psychiatrist in question publicly denounced the article and described the false quotes attributed to him as “absurd”, The Sun having apparently fabricated the entire piece.
The Scum attacked Benny Hill for having topless women on his shows whilst having topless 17-year-old page 3 girls. It attacked Labour’s policies up to two weeks before when the 1997 General Election was called, and then said it was backing Labour when it knew the Tories had no chance of winning. It loudly backed far-right policies up to 2001 and 2005, but backed Labour because it knew they had no chance of winning.
It said in 1983 that “Do you want this old fools to run Britain” with reference to Michael Foot’s age. He was nearly 70 then. A year later it enthusiastically backed 73-year-old Ronald Reagan’s bid for re-election as USA President. In January 1994 it attacked Benn, Galloway et al for saying troops should be removed from Bosnia. A month later, it attacked John Smith for saying more should be sent saying he was bland and no radical etc!
In January 1994 it said we were fools for backing John Major, despite vigorously backing him to be PM three years earlier and less than two years earlier at the 1992 General Election. It called Tony Martin a hero and then demanded the reintroduction of hanging.
It attacks benefit fraud and calls for welfare cutbacks, whilst News International hasn’t paid Income Tax into the UK since 1987. It backs whoever it thinks will win an election, hence its vigorous support for Cameron, and imagine its fury when he failed to win outright in 2010.
It demanded the hanging of Levi Bellfield, and supported the Sarah’s Law campaign and put up a financial reward for the capture of Milly Dowler’s killer, whilst News International hacked into her phone, and misled the police and her parents, derailed the murder inquiry and gave her parents false hopes, and helped Bellfield to go free to kill twice more and almost a third time. And hacked into a phone given to Sara Payne’s mother.
PROMOTION OF VIOLENCE
In 2000 the Scum and News of the World launched an hate campaign against paedophiles. This meant many were driven underground and a woman’s house was attacked and vandalised. She was a paediatrician. A man was punched in the face three times who was totally innocent, as he was mistook for a paedophile.
In Feb, 2003, the Sun published the mobile phone number of their favourite bogeyman Abu Hamza (preacher at the Finsbury mosque, North London), effectively inviting readers to make abusive calls to him. This no doubt happened but misdialled phone numbers also received hundreds of death threats. For example, a man from Newport, Wales whose mobile differed from Hamza’s by 1 digit, received 200 death threats on one morning from angry Sun readers.
No doubt there are many more examples, but those are the ones I can think of, and I think they perfectly illustrate my case that the Scum is all of the things I have wrote about it.
Four ways the British Public is completely wrong about the British Public – by Us vs Th3m (to which I’ve added.)
Some brilliant research by the Royal Statistical Society looked at how much the public actually knows about… well, itself. The answer? Not a lot.
They published a list of their top ten biggest misconceptions about key social issues. Here’s the four most jaw-dropping ways the public gets its statistics completely wrong:
1. We have NO IDEA how many young teenage girls get pregnant
2. We think there are WAY MORE old people than there actually are
3. And that’s nothing compared to how wrong we are about Muslims. We think there are SOOOOO MANY Muslims
4. Also we are TOTALLY OUT TO LUNCH when trying to guess how many benefit fraudsters there are
Key takeaway thought from this: excellent job, media and Tories! You have successfully convinced us we live in your completely contrived, pre-fabricated fantasy world
Images courtesy of Robert Livingstone