An open letter to Philip Clarke, CEO of Tesco

*Update 25th March* Since writing this two days ago it has been read by thousands of people, been featured on several blogs, I’ve given interviews, many hundreds of people have tweeted about it, and I’ve received some very nice compliments from a few. Thanks to everyone who agrees that this is an important issue.

 

Hi Philip,

Yesterday I read an article by Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail. It’s basic premise was that because Japan was rich and they were our enemies in the Second World War we shouldn’t be offering them our support (financial or emotional) in their time of need. We shouldn’t have them in our thoughts and we shouldn’t send them any aid. In the past I’ve made no secret of my dislike of the Daily Mail, but I felt this was a step too far. It was blatantly racist, reactionary, and deeply offensive to entire population of Japan, not a single one of whom isn’t experiencing pain right now.

My friend John noticed that your advertising ran alongside Littlejohn’s piece, and suggested we tweet you to let you know how much we found this distasteful. Especially given that we both spend large amounts of money with your company. In fact, Tesco receive the vast majority of mine and my girlfriend’s weekly shopping budget. I’m not here to make a rash threat about boycotting your stores, but as someone who spends a large amount of my hard earned money every week with you I feel I have the right to voice my concerns about where you advertise.

So I tweeted you.

My tweet was picked up on by many people, retweeted and forwarded on Twitter by about 100 people, so I’m sure your inbox was brimming full when you next logged in, which you did to send a tweet a few hours later. But I was disappointed that your tweet wasn’t a reply to me or the people who had retweeted me or independently contacted you. It was to talk about something you’re doing in California. So, I read back through your tweets and noticed a member of your family was ill. I’m sorry to hear this. I hope to hear they return to full health very soon. Unless of course an ancestor of theirs did something to an ancestor of mine, in which case I couldn’t care less. Or at least that would be my position if I were Richard Littlejohn.

Then I noticed this tweet.

You have staff in Japan?! And your following tweets show that you care about them. Your company is sending support to Japan. You’re one of the good guys, Philip. So why do you continue to advertise with the Daily Mail?

I run a company too. I know what it’s like juggling ethics and your bottom line. It’s not always easy. And I’m sure that advertising with the Daily Mail is an efficient means of reaching many of your target demographic. If it’s true what i’ve read, 1 in 5 pounds spent by Joe Public in the UK are spent at one of your stores. And this inevitably gives you a huge amount of power, both financially and politically. But, as someone wiser than me once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. I’m sure you have a huge Corporate Social Responsibility department who are tasked with making sure that you do right in the eyes of the communities in which you build stores. And i’d like to believe that the people who work in that department do so with huge sincerity and without the cynical approach of just keeping the local populace quiet. They do it because they believe that a company of your size has the opportunity, or indeed the responsibility, to make the world a better place. But I think that the issue of your advertising with the Daily Mail goes above and beyond moral and social responsibility.

It’s actually about what is right.

Philip, I don’t want you to think that this is an issue of Guardian readers against Daily Mail readers, Tories against Labour, wishy washy liberals versus uncaring conservatives. For all I know you may be a Conservative-voting, Daily Mail reader yourself. This is about the fact that huge amounts of your company’s money is being paid to a newspaper that gives a mouthpiece to someone who is either purposely being offensive to many, many millions of people in order to improve his notoriety (and therefore ad revenue and paypacket), or who genuinely believes in the divisive words he writes.

It saddens me to say it but, like Tesco, Richard Littlejohn and the Daily Mail have real power. Their words are read by millions of people a day. Most of them are normal working people who are just honestly looking for a bit of news to accompany them on their teabreak. They read these words out of habit. But when these words are drip fed day after day, week after week, they inevitably become part of their psyche and daily thought-processes. They start to believe what they read.

The problem is that the words of the Daily Mail are often the words of hate. They are words that are designed to make their readership angry, fearful, and full of distrust and dislike for people they don’t know or understand. They make their readers believe that the nice Polish family that moved in next door are here to steal their jobs and live off their taxes. Or they twist medical facts to make their own sensationalist headlines that cause untold (and unfounded) health worries. They make young girls think that they’re too fat and they should aspire to a size zero lifestyle. They make you believe that everything causes cancer. They tell us to be scared of Islam, homosexuality and gypsies.

The Daily Mail makes Britain a more scared, less inclusive, more segregated, more hate-filled society. By giving them part of your advertising budget you are actively supporting homophobia, racism, sexism, and many other prejudices that are casually reeled off in its pages.

Do you want Tesco, the biggest retailer in our country, to be aligned with homophobia, racism and sexism? Is that the kind of company that you, or indeed any of us, want to be at the forefront of British business?

I’d like to think that the biggest retailer in the UK (and the third biggest in the world) is a company staffed by good people who will stand up for what’s right. And as the CEO I would like to think that you would be a role model for your staff and other businesses that aspire to be as successful as Tesco. Being successful and doing the right thing aren’t always mutually exclusive.

Please, Philip. Rethink your advertising strategy and don’t spend your money with companies whose sole mission is to scare, divide, and anger.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Cocker

@neilcocker

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37 thoughts on “An open letter to Philip Clarke, CEO of Tesco

  1. Come on, Tesco is a shit company that runs shit supermarkets and treats their staff like shit. Co-branding with a racist arsehole seems like a pretty good fit to me. Just don’t shop at Tesco, their food is all mass produced shit anyway.

  2. Everyone just stop shopping at Tescos, simple, its the only way they learn, vote with your feet. Stop buying the Daily Mail.

  3. I find this attempt to persuade Tesco to use its advertising budget to influence the editorial decisions of the Daily Mail, or any other newspaper, quite worrying.
    I must admit I haven’t read Littlejohn’s column referred to here but what’s described doesn’t sound representative of the Daily Mail’s coverage of the Japanese disaster as a whole.
    While you may find Littlejohn’s comments regarding Japan offensive, and take issue with much of the Daily Mail’s content and style, do you want big companies to dictate how news is presented and what news is available to you?
    While you may be happy for Tesco to regulate Littlejohn’s comments would you agree if Tesco pulled the plug on its Daily Mail account the next time it ran a story about the dominance of the big four supermarkets – or used its economic influence to prevent it reporting something embarrassing about Tesco.
    Papers do run stories their advertisers may not like, hopefully advertisers are grown up enough to accept this.
    Commercial newspapers may not be perfect but neither is a news media policed by advertising budgets.

    1. Hi Twm,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Unfortunately I think you’re massively missing the point. This isn’t about news coverage.

      A free and open press is a brilliant thing, and the sign of a progressive democratic society.

      If you’d actually read the article you’d see how offensive it truly is. And that says something about a publisher that’s willing to publish something like this.

      Again, this is not about news. I applaud the fact that we have both a right wing and a left wing press in this country. We NEED them to keep the political process moving in the right direction.

      But when a newspaper like the Daily Mail wilfully misreports events, twist facts, and neglects to mention pertinent information (all of which is proven to do on a daily basis), then it is not news. It is propaganda.

    2. Twm – “would you agree if Tesco pulled the plug on its Daily Mail account the next time it ran a story about the dominance of the big four supermarkets”

      They already do this. Do you think advertising is a game of pin the tale on the donkey? The media buyers are given very specific criteria that include the political and moral stance of a potential advertising source, hence Barclays don’t advertise in the Morning Star and Virgin don’t advertise in The Flame.

      So what is needed is for “big companies” to choose where they advertise responsibly, with the good of society as well as with their own interests at heart.

  4. It’s also worth noting (correct me if I am wrong) but this advertising was not featured on a news page at all – it was a blog article from one of their writers, an opinion piece to stir up interest and debate, with no reporting of news whatsoever.

    Richard LittleJohn is not a stranger to creating controversy:

    http://www.butireaditinthepaper.co.uk/category/richard-littlejohn/

    1. I’m fairly certain it was a piece in the main paper. I don’t buy it though (obviously!), so can’t be sure. But I’m told that this was just an online version of the printed article.

      Regardless of whether it was an online piece or printed, news article or opinion, it’s endorsed by the Daily Mail. And with Tesco advertising with them they are supporting it.

  5. See Tesco’s quite lame response here: (Neil brings up some very valid points)

    Feel free to add your response/comment

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=112463368812803&topic=70

  6. Hi Neil,

    Sorry but I think you’re the one who is missing the point and also straying from it.

    I didn’t have the time to read Littlejohn’s piece yesterday, but that wasn’t essential as my point was to really say that advertising should have no influence on a newspaper’s editorial decisions.

    I have now read the offending column.
    In fairness to the Daily Mail Littlejohn’s column is clearly ‘opinion’. Just because you and I don’t share that opinion doesn’t necessarily make it invalid or mean that someone should try and shut it down by asking advertisers to boycott the media it is delivered through.
    I think Littlejohn raises some valid questions about ‘public grief’ that it is legitimate to explore/debate in a public arena such as a newspaper/website. I guess it’s the nature of the beast that these arguments are put forward in a particular style – maybe to provoke a strong response?
    I also don’t doubt the sincerity of Littlejohn’s believe that his (late) father in law would refuse to take part in any commemoration of the Japanese dead. That to me just underlines the deep wounds that war and its associated crimes leave on society.
    I wouldn’t describe Littlejohn’s tone here as sensitive but it is possibly going too far to accuse him of racism (although his sweeping statement suggesting all Japanese are very racist is ignorant).
    Importantly while he may be expressing sentiments, that you believe to be racist, I don’t think you would argue his words are intended to stir up hatred against the Japanese. That would be a criminal offence and something I doubt Tesco or reputable advertisers would wish to be associated with.
    You initially complained that Tesco’s advertising gave the impression that it supported or condoned Littlejohn’s comments but you have strayed from that to attack the Daily Mail in general.
    You make some general criticisms of the quality of the Mail’s journalism and I accept there is some validity in the points you make. However it is unfair to try and paint the Mail as a worthless propaganda sheet, it invests in journalism and is part of a diverse free press. It may be as you describe, but that is only part of the picture.
    From other comments I see Tesco has responded and stated clearly that its advertising isn’t meant to be seen as an endorsement of the views expressed in publications in which they advertise.
    This wouldn’t wish if Tesco was advertising on, for example, a Combat 18 website (as that can clearly be seen as a group only intended to divide people – and again, crucially, involved in criminal activity in relation to many aspects of law and undoubtedly race relations).
    If we want a free press, dependent on commercial advertising, to report the news, run opinion pieces that tackle important or controversial topics, then we must accept that companies will advertise in publications we don’t like.
    By advertising across the national/local/regional news media Tesco is supporting that free press. The more outlets it advertises in, will hopefully mean there are more diverse news sources – and yes opinions- for joe public to read.

    1. The third para from the bottom should read “This wouldn’t WASH” rather than “wouldn’t wish if Tesco was advertising..”

    2. You seem to be arguing my points for me, so apologies if I’ve misunderstood you.

      Firstly, I’ll state again: I have no problem with companies advertising in publications that I don’t agree with. We need a diverse and free press and although I don’t agree with much of the coverage in some papers, it is important that the political spectrum is represented.

      But, most importantly, the crux of your argument seems to be that Tesco shouldn’t be allowed to advertise on Combat 18’s site as they’re a clearly racist institution, and yet you’re saying that Littlejohn’s piece should be allowed because it’s opinion and not news.

      1 – You cannot remove opinion from the responsibility of the publication in which it is published. Yes, it’s not necessarily “news”, but if Littlejohn were to suddenly start advocating paedophilia, or making libellous claims that the queen beats her staff, we both know that the publisher would be held as responsible as Littlejohn. After all, anything he writes will go through the hands of sub-editors, copy-editors and others before being printed. If you were to allow newspapers to publish absolutely anything under the thin guise of “opinion” (although this appears to be much of the Mail’s modus operandi) then they wouldn’t be culpable if they were to make illegal statements like those above.

      2 – Littlejohn’s article was racist. Whether you like it or not, his assertion that the Japanese people “are militantly racist” is (ironically) racism. To attribute a negative trait to an entire race is the very dictionary definition of racism.

      So, you cannot separate “opionion” from “news” in terms of responsibility of the publication, and if you agree that Tesco should be held accountable for advertising with racist organisations (which you have said you do), then you cannot possibly agree that the same shouldn’t be true for advertising in a newspaper that wilfully prints racist statements.

      I understand the importance of advertising to as wide a demographic as possible for ubiquitous businesses like Tesco, but we absolutely must express our displeasure with them when their budget goes towards supporting racist articles like this.

      Just because the Daily Mail is an apparently respected publication and an institution of long-standing it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held to the same standards of those far-right groups which we all agree have no place in a modern society.

    3. “I didn’t have the time to read Littlejohn’s piece yesterday, but…” ROTFL!

  7. Simon O'Rafferty 25 March, 2011 — 9:06 pm

    An important function of the free press is the ability of anyone to criticise and judge what is written.

    I think it is perfectly fine to question the standards of those that fund the free press because that in essence is what makes it the free press.

    It is up to the funders to make a decision on the basis of the views put in front of them.

    Littlejohn is not a stormfront character but a “I’m not racist but…” character.

  8. Comment FAIL!

    >Twm

    >I didn’t have the time to read Littlejohn’s piece yesterday, but…


  9. Neil – I like the way you’ve tried to turn my own words against me, you might even be offered a job at a top selling mid market newspaper with such skills.
    Basically I don’t think it’s fair to suggest the Daily Mail and Combat 18 are of an equal standing. On Littlejohn’s particular column I think it can be filed under ‘tolerable’.
    I think the Mail has acted ‘responsibly’ in publishing Littlejohn’s column because they have presented it as comment and people are free to agree or disagree with it.
    Again I must state a crucial point is that I don’t think anyone would argue Littlejohn is seeking to promote racial hatred, which is a criminal offence.
    Obviously the editor has the right not to print Littlejohn’s column if he finds it unsuitable – but newspaper columnists are giving their own opinion not necessarily that of the paper they are writing for or their employer.
    My point is that the opinions and editorial decisions of newspapers should be of no concern to their advertisers and that, Matt is why I was happy to comment on Neil’s letter without having, at that time, read Littlejohn’s column.

    1. Twm,

      I’ve in no way turned your words against you. All I’ve done is demonstrate that your arguments were incorrect.

      I’m not suggesting the Daily Mail and Combat 18 are the same. I’m saying that they should be accountable to the same standards.

      You could perhaps semantically argue that his column isn’t promoting racial hatred, but that isn’t what’s being discussed. His column is racist. That’s what’s being discussed.

      And the fact that his publisher may not share his opinion is utterly irrelevant and missing the point entirely. It’s about whether his publisher, and by some extension their advertisers, are *responsible*.

      So, “tolerable” racism, huh? Nice idea.

    2. Twm,

      Ask yourself this – as editor of a paper why would you allow racist ‘opinion’ to be published in your paper?

      As a multinational company why wouldn’t you try to follow some ethical guidelines on racism? Like not paying them advertising money.

      Associating yourself with racists can’t be a position that’s sustainable in the 21st century. At least I hope not…

  10. Ive just skimmed through Littlejohns piece. Its pretty odd and just doesnt make much sense to me.

    I think he would find it very useful to watch this segement of a documentary named “The Fog of War”. The film is an interview with Robert Mc Namara who was Partially in charge of some of the bombing operations during the second world war.

    As far as Tesco advertising on the same page as his column and their reply to you…its pretty weak.

    1. the reply wasnt to you but I read it on a related facebook page to this blog entry.

      Hi Paul,

      We advertise in a great many places including websites, magazines, newspapers, radio and TV. Our advertising is never intended as an endorsement of the views expressed in any of the places where we advertise. Our advertising is solely intended to raise awareness of our products and services

      Zoe-Customer Care

    1. What other companies have done in response to a similar situation in the USA. The overall comment is that they do not support and never have supported the show, and that their advertising is part of a bulk buy, BUT they will ask for it not to shown on Glenn Becks specific show, yet continue to air ads on Fox.

      When Wal-mart are taking a more responsible and higher ground than you, best you have a good look in the mirror.

      Travelocity: “We did not specifically place our ad on the show. We buy ads in bulk and then they are placed somewhat randomly. However, we have now specifically asked that our ads do not appear during this show.”

      Ally Bank (a unit of GMAC Financial Services): “Ally advertises on a broad spectrum of programs to reach our potential customers. Our advertising is not an endorsement of editorial content on any program. We have ceased to advertise on the Glenn Beck program.”

      CVS: “While advertising on Fox is part of our communication plan, we had not requested time on Glenn Beck’s show specifically. We have instructed our advertising agency to inform Fox to ensure Glenn Beck’s program is not part of our advertising plan.”

      Wal-Mart: “Walmart today confirmed the retailer pulled ads from the Glenn Beck show on August 3rd,”

  11. I personally feel that while Tesco has a responsibility to maintain it’s own reputation you can not possibly judge a company based on where an external entity chooses to place adverts that are pre-paid in bulk well in advance.
    Get real, as someone who appears to hold some sort of intelligence somewhere surely you can comprehend that its is very possible that Tesco were unaware that they would be shown here until well after this had been published, I might point out further that I have clicked onto this link several times and never once have seen the Tesco advertisement other than the screenshot provided by you! I have however seen BT, M&S and Weight Watchers and perhaps more concerning The NHS blood donation advertisements. Surely if there is one organisation that should be so careful of where its advertisements go it should be the NHS! If there is one area where any affiliation with racism should be completely frowned upon it is the health care and in particular the need for blood to support our health care system? I might ask have you taken the same action out on these organisations or is it merely Tesco as you appear to have a grudge against them for whatever reason?

    While I do in no way agree with the sentiments of this article I would like to point out that TWM is quite correct, it is very clearly a point of view. It is designed to create debate which you have taken the opportunity of. The main view I have taken from this is that he disagrees with the so called marks of respect like minutes of silence at football games are pointless. I would personally like to know how much those footballers that were at those games have donated themselves. Japan does not need minutes of silence it needs action and I would find it hard to believe that these football players have given their fair support to the plight of the people affected while sat in there multi-million mansions. Don’t get me wrong there are some that do wonderful work for causes and I applaud them for that!

    You say that Tesco has a responsibility to ensure it does not fund this type of publication but if you can provide such a crystal ball for a company to understand what point of views will be published perhaps you will have a nice money earner and should look at some business opportunities!
    I would also like to point out that your comments have drawn my attention to this article and have further fueled the sensationalism this article was clearly written to create

    1. Jade,

      This isn’t a grudge against Tesco. As I’ve said, I spend the vast majority of my weekly shopping budget there. However, it’s for this reason I feel I have a right to question the placement of their ads: Some of my money will ultimately end up in the coffers of the Daily Mail.

      And while my blog has drawn attention to Littlejohn’s piece, it won’t have swelled the Daily Mail’s coffers as I linked to it using a site that uses a cached version of their pages, ensuring that they can’t leverage my (or my readers’) page views to get more advertising revenue.

      Also, the point that you and Twm have made that Littlejohn discuss the abundance of minute silences at football matches etc – have I ever mentioned it once? Have I ever expressed displeasure or disagreement with that stance once? No. It’s simply not what this letter to Tesco was about, and trying to say that it’s a valid point and therefore legitimises the rest of his piece is utter nonsense, regardless of whether it’s a valid point or not.

      Finally, I also understand the nature of digital advertising. I actuallly advertise my company in much the same way. You do not always know where your adverts end up, and you are to an extent at the mercy of the agency or organisation through which you choose to distribute your ads. And I don’t blame Tesco for their ad ending up next to Littlejohn’s bile? But I am asking them to make efforts to prevent it happening again, that’s all. And this is a perfectly valid request to make, and not without precedent. As Maf Lewis posted on the Tesco Facebook group discussion board, this is not without successful precedent….

      Allergan (maker of Restasis): “We reviewed our commercial schedule, and based on your feedback, we’ve put any programming featuring Glenn Beck on our “do not air” list. This means that you will no longer see any Restasis ads during programming featuring Glenn Beck. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.”

      Ally Bank (a unit of GMAC Financial Services): “Ally advertises on a broad spectrum of programs to reach our potential customers. Our advertising is not an endorsement of editorial content on any program. We have ceased to advertise on the Glenn Beck program.”

      Broadview Security: “Given the considerations, we have requested of Fox News not to include us in the rotation that would have our commercials running on Glenn Beck’s show.”

      CVS: “While advertising on Fox is part of our communication plan, we had not requested time on Glenn Beck’s show specifically. We have instructed our advertising agency to inform Fox to ensure Glenn Beck’s program is not part of our advertising plan.”

      Re-Bath: “…We are no longer airing our commercials on the Glenn Beck Show…”
      Travelocity: “We did not specifically place our ad on the show. We buy ads in bulk and then they are placed somewhat randomly. However, we have now specifically asked that our ads do not appear during this show.”

      Wal-Mart: “Walmart today confirmed the retailer pulled ads from the Glenn Beck show on August 3rd,”

  12. Simon O'Rafferty 27 March, 2011 — 9:08 pm

    grotesco

  13. Hi Neil and others,

    Just spotted this on the Daily Mail website. It seems a fair, and I have to trust, accurate report that also mentions, in what some readers might see as a positive plug, that usual Daily Mail hate figure the European Union.

    My question to those supporting Neil’s Twitter campaign is that if Tesco is able to exert influence on the Daily Mail not to publish a column by Richard Littlejohn why should it not then use the same threat (that it will pull advertising) to prevent the Mail from publishing this report?

    I have copied the most pertinent bits below and also included a link (or at least the url) for the original article so that readers can judge it for themselves.

    PS: Neil if the link doesn’t display or if you do not wish for your page to host a direct link to mail online please sort it out in the way you did for the original Littlejohn article as described in your above reply to Jade.
    Also just to pre-empt anyone who raises the ‘This is a typical Daily Mail science scare story’ argument I think that we can all agree this is basic info consumers are entitled to and the article does give the basic ‘two sides to the story’

    From the Daily Mail (28/03/2011)

    “Rustic breads and cakes sold in the ‘fresh’ bakery areas of supermarkets may be a little more rustic than you would like.
    The products are often defrosted and can be up to a year old, investigators revealed…
    “One of the main manufacturers of ‘thaw-and-serve’ bakery products is CSM, a Dutch company which supplies Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1370448/Fresh-baked-supermarket-bread-rolls-frozen-YEAR-old.html#ixzz1HqQxVjGN

    1. An article about out-of-date bread?

      You’re bringing a typically scare-mongering article about BREAD into a discussion about a deeply insensitive racist diatribe and suggesting the two are comparable when it comes to where Tesco could exert their influence?

      Seriously?

      1. Yes, seriously.

        Bread is presumably big business to Tesco and I can’t imagine Tesco was happy that the Daily Mail had repeated the findings of a Sunday Times investigation which could have lowered its standing in the minds of their customers, if not you Neil.
        But as Tesco has stated on its facebook page and in the Cardiffian article its advertising is in no way an endorsement of a publication’s views and the placement of adverts is a matter for the publishers.
        This would be a major step change in the relationship between newspaper advertising and editorial independence if its acceptable for Tesco to use its advertising budget to call the shoots at the Daily Mail.
        Simply Tesco should not be exerting its influence on the Daily Mail’s editorial department/contributors.
        My point isn’t about bread or race, but simply trying to say you’re opening a can of worms if you seek to hold Tesco liable for the editorial content of newspapers it advertises with.
        I understand your strong feelings about the article, I’m suggesting as it falls short of being illegal (as I don’t believe you would argue it is seeking to incite racial hatred) you should accept it’s acceptable for the Mail to publish it. I think the criminal law is a good yardstick to measure the acceptability of it by.
        Should any article fall short of this measure it would be a ‘big call’ for the Mail to publish it, and should it decide to publish an article that it knows is likely to lead to a criminal prosecution it would also likely lead to a loss of advertisers. It would be hard to complain if advertisers refuse to be associated with a publication that had wilfully broken the law.
        I hoped to have settled the ‘scare story’ issue but as you raise it Neil I think you’re just giving away your own prejudices.

    2. I’m sorry Twm, I can’t discuss this with you any more.

      You keep missing the point.

      I’m not suggesting Tesco are liable for what The Daily Mail print. And this is not an issue of legality, and never has been.

      Your hang up with what’s legal or not is irrelevant. You keep saying that it’s fine for The Daily Mail to be racist as long as they’re not breaking the law. Which also falls in line with your “tolerable” statement. It’s fine for them to be tolerably racist, just under-the-line racist, not-too-far racist. Then that’s OK?

      It’s clearly not my prejudices that are being given away here.

      1. We seem to have reached some sort of gridlock, and I was worrying that I might be boring the rest of your readers, but I think you fail to see the unintended consequence of your campaign…(I think I’ve spelt that out repeatedly over the past few days).

  14. The Daily Mail is a racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic newspaper representing the interests of big business and its owner, the serial tax-dodger, Lord Rothermere. It is therefore an enemy of democracy – and anyone who has ever tried to post on its website comments which deviate from the party line will know this. The newspaper’s main aim is to ensure that the UK is run by right wing governments committed to neo-liberal economic policies, and since this ideology runs counter to the interests of the majority of its readers (and indeed the majority of the population) the only way in which it can persuade turkeys to vote for Christmas is to exploit the social conservatism of its half- educated, lower middle class readers by appealing to their latent misogyny, racism, sexism, and xenophobia.
    It is complete nonsense to suggest that persuading large companies to withdraw their advertising from the Daily Mail, or from the Sun for that matter, is in any way anti-democratic. It is the exact opposite – and if we want balanced and fair newspapers which allow freedom of speech and inform the public rather than cynically peddle propaganda and prevent the expression of alternative viewpoints, then a mass campaign against advertisers who help them make profits is the only answer.

  15. Simon O'Rafferty 1 April, 2011 — 4:22 pm

    i would like to thank twm for making this a debate.

    i don’t like it when everyone agrees on things. it’s so boring.

    1. Agreed.

      We clearly disagree, but it’s been really useful to discuss it, if only to clarify my own thoughts on the issue.

      Also, one thing I particularly worry about with Twitter as a “campaigning” platform is that it seems to be primarily populated with liberal, secular “creatives”, meaning you spend most of your time preaching to the choir…

      😉

      1. Simon thanks for your encouragement and Neil I consider myself to be liberal and in some ways secular.

  16. Nicely written Neil. As they say – “Tesco, Every Little Hurts”…

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