The tentacles of the Stop Funding Hate campaign reach far and wide. En route to the station, I would sometimes stop at a café, reading its copies of the Sun and Daily Mail over a coffee. The cafe gets most of its trade from mums on the school run, and you wouldn’t think this quintessentially suburban setting would be fertile soil for political activists. However, the owner was advised by an assertive middle-class woman that he should not be taking the Sun. Inappropriate, she explained, as children might be exposed to sexual objectification. A few months later, after more hectoring, the Mail disappeared too. The Guardian had been suggested as a worthy substitute for Right-wing refugee-bashing, but at three times the price, Gilberto decided on a cheaper option: the sterile (and free) Metro.
Stop Funding Hate claimed victory after Paperchase apologised for offering free wrapping paper in Britain’s biggest selling Saturday newspaper. Here was another success for the supposedly liberal but actually totalitarian class of social justice warriors who absolutely despise the Daily Mail. Although they never read it, I hear constantly from students that this mainstream tabloid is racist, sexist, transphobic, etc. An indoctrinated younger generation seem to think that mass immigration – arguably the biggest change in Britain’s social history – is off-limits for commentary (unless it’s celebrating multiculturalism).
According to founder Richard Wilson, Stop Funding Hate wants to ensure ‘a media that does what we all want it to do’. Three of the most popular publications (including the Brexiteering Daily Express) are cast as ‘divisive’, and consequently fair game for direct or indirect harassment. But as Wilson and fellow campaigners deny that their group is politically motivated, I lay down a challenge for them.
Here is a newspaper that deserves their attention. It is blatantly divisive; in fact it boasts about it. The New European is for ‘the 48 per cent’, expressing unbridled hostility to the 52 per cent who voted for Britain’s independence from the EU. Launched in the aftermath of the referendum, the New European has rich backers, so it survives despite low circulation. Writers include Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, Chukka Umuna and other illustrious Remoaners, but the single copy delivered to my newsagent remains on the shelf until the next edition arrives.
Since Alastair Campbell was appointed editor-at-large, the weekly dose of antipathy has increased from 48 to 64 pages. The bitterest Blairite, Campbell is ideally suited to the job, using the platform to savage not only Brexiteers but also the Corbynite loons who have taken over his beloved Labour Party. He is proud of the paper’s provocative front pages, which typically abuse cherished icons of our heritage.
Exhibit A is a reworking of the Jolly Fisherman, a classic poster of the steam train era drawing holidaymakers to the Lincolnshire coast. Instead of ‘bracing’, the message is ‘Skegness is so Brexit’, and the mascot has morphed into Nigel Farage, his top adorned with the slogan ‘GO AWAY’. The town’s MP, who voted Remain, criticised this attack on his constituents. Here was class snobbery emulating the infamous Times article by Matthew Parris after Clacton-on-Sea became the first UKIP seat. Forget these people, Parris had written, for they are of the past, and will soon die out. Provoking an inevitable outrage with the Skegness skit, New European editor Matt Kelly chortled in derision: ‘Ha ha, another bloke from the Mail doesn’t like it’.
In the year of the Dunkirk commemorations, Exhibit B is a smug disparagement of the older, patriotic folk who remember when Britain stood alone against dark forces from the continent. The BBC series Dad’s Army, depicting a proud but pathetic Home Guard battalion, is forever known for its theme tune and the accompanying graphic. For the New European front cover, however, the Swastika on the arrows of threatened invasion were changed to Union Jacks, all heading into the sea. The distasteful headline ‘Dumbkirk’ jarred with the respectful anniversary of the evacuation, probably the last when rescued and rescuers are still alive.
This is satire, say the provocateurs. And to double the insult, Daily Mail readers don’t understand it. The liberal-Left, as with all those condescending comedy shows on television, has licence to mock. ‘Punching up’ is the justification. But the chasm in society since the referendum has exposed Remainers as the privileged people who are punching down. This was epitomised by Bob Geldof’s luxury Thames cruiser, its deck packed with progressive Europhiles, teasing a flotilla of fishing boats. These not-so-jolly fishermen had steered for hundreds of miles in their rusty old vessels to protest against Europeans plundering our coastal waters, an EU travesty that has devastated the livelihood of places such as Peterhead and Penzance.
Noting the dearth of advertising in the New European, a sop article by media writer Ian Burrell suggests that businesses should embrace the marketing opportunity. Matt Kelly tells him that the paper has ‘absolutely the best quality audience you could imagine; they are all AB, they are all high-earners, and they are all completely self-defined in their position on Europe’. And so self-assured in their belief that a democratic vote should be overturned, and that the Leave majority can be characterised as thick, provincial bigots.
If Stop Funding Hate is serious about tackling media-fuelled hatred within our society, it should consider the evidence against the New European. Advertisers are being earnestly pursued, and the anti-Brexit rag may soon be graced by companies seeking the rich man’s wallet. This paper has a right to exist, of course. But as the cry of a metropolitan elite that can’t accept the will of the people, it’s a Remoanstrosity.