You may not have realised, but there are local elections in Bristol on June 4th.
This is the Post’s coverage of the announcement of the list of candidates from May 13th.
You’ll notice that of 14 paragraphs the Post feels it necessary to dedicate seven to the fascist BNP: A party which has 0 seats in the city and is fielding eight candidates out of a possible 23 seats and who’s highest share of the vote at the last election was less 20% in St George East with 560 votes.
The article’s top headline “BNP fields more candidates than ever” is an interesting choice, too. Why not “Greens field more candidates than ever before” and report how the Greens (who already hold one seat and may pick up another this time) are standing in all seats for the first time. Or, “Respect party fields more candidates than ever”?
And why does Ian Onions feel it necessary to give us four paragraphs of detail from the fascists’ manifesto and no mention of any other party’s policies?
Are the Post actually trying to big-up the fascists’ chance of doing well in the election by giving them disproportionate coverage?
If they are going to give the BNP disproportionate publicity why not mention their links to terrorism and Nazi-criminals? Why not point out the recent revelations about their links with the KKK and a South African racist murder? Why not mention the fascist ideology of the BNP and it’s lineage through the National Front to the British Union of Fascists? Why not quote the BNP’s founder that “Mein Kampf is our Bible”?
In fact, the Post seem pathetically scared of upsetting the BNP. We’ve recently seen a copy of a letter sent to the Post’s editors by a local antifascist campaigner asking why the Post refuses to print letters or statements from ant-racists which expose the BNP’s fascist heritage and ideology. The campaigner claims that the Post regularly edits out of letters any mention of the criminal convictions of the BNP’s leaders and those Nazi quotes that Nick Griffin wants us all to forget about. What’s the matter, Post? Have you fallen for the BNP’s propaganda that they are a normal, respectable political party? Are you scared of upsetting those BNP supporting readers?
It certainly seems from recent coverage that the Post is almost hoping for success for the BNP; not because the Post’s journos and editors support the fascists, I’m sure they don’t. But rather, because it makes an interesting story; a bit of controversy and conflict, a bit of reader reaction to fill the letters pages and comments section of the website.
There is a problem with a local corporate rag which is focussed primarily on sales and profits. Their political ‘neutrality’ actually hides the contradictory forces at play: the desire not to upset the status quo, their powerful friends and contacts; and the desire for conflict and disruption to give them something to report, something to provoke a reaction from their readers and shift papers.
The result of this fake-neutrality is that the paper isn’t on the side of ordinary Bristolians, at all. Political neutrality actually translates into a partisanship on the side of sales and profits, and fuck the consequences for the rest of us.