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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Don't Buy A British Lie

"Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Geraldine Adams • 8 July 2004

"Don't buy a British lie" was the call of republicans in the 1980s in their campaign against the gutter press. The Sun, the News of the World and other rags should be boycotted, the community was told. They were the enemy of those fighting oppression.

They lied day and daily about republicans and the war. They demonised those who challenged the status quo - hunger-strikers, IRA volunteers and their supporters, anyone who rebelled against the system. They distorted or silenced radical voices.

They were despicable yet dangerous. They fed the masses a diet of tits and trash to numb their minds. They served the establishment's agenda in their squalid, slimy way. People were urged not to buy these newspapers.

Today 'Don't buy a British lie' applies to the Andersonstown News. It has just been revealed that the British government has funded the Andersonstown News Group to the tune of £560,000. Yes, that's right - over half a million pounds.

The details were released not in the Andersonstown News - unsurprisingly it never made them into a front page exclusive - but in the House of Commons. It is the unlikely figure of Lady Sylvia Hermon - not the Andytown News' intrepid hacks - we have to thank for bringing these figures into the public domain.

She asked a question of the British Secretary of State about the newspaper group's funding. The money has come from, among others, the Stormont Department of Finance and Personnel and the Stormont Department of Social Development. No wonder the Andersonstown News has been so keen to bring back Stormont!

Greed is running amok at Teach Basil. Rather than being grateful for what they've got, it was revealed the Andersonstown News Group has made further applications for almost £500,000 of British state funding. If granted, it will make them British government millionaires.

Lady Sylvia is of course outraged. But in her reactionary, unionist response she completely misses the point. The British government is not funding a radical republican newspaper. It would never be writing cheques for the Sovereign Nation or Saoirse. It's funding the Andersontown News Group because these papers, their management and journalists, have been bought off.

They're no threat to the British state or its agents. They're totally tame.

If the Andersonstown News ran an editorial saying it supported the right of any Irish man or woman to challenge British rule in Ireland by any means necessary, would the Brits still fund the paper?

If the Andersonstown News called for a radical campaign of civil disobedience in support of republican prisoners in Maghaberry, Portlaoise and English jails, would the British continue to pay up?

If the Andersonstown News said that "dissident" republicans had a point - the Belfast Agreement was never what republicanism was about and Stormont is no place for the inheritors of 1916 - would the cheques still be in the post?

If the Andersonstown News stopped presenting all those who oppose the Agreement and the so-called peace process as loonies or scum, would the Brits keep making the lodgements?

If there was even a faint hint of genuine republicanism or radicalism about the Andersonstown News, the Brits wouldn't give it a penny. Because the Brits haven't changed. They're every bit as keen to destroy those who oppose them today as they were in the 1980s.

The Andersonstown News, like the rags that went before it, demonises and censors those the Brits hate. It feeds working-class nationalists a diet of inane news stories, advertisements, and pictures mainly of people in drinking clubs.

It helps ensure the Brits have nothing to worry about. It's the peace process in print. It's called the Andersonstown News Group. But it carries advertisements for the British military forces - the PSNI - and it's funded by the British government. How more British can you get?

Newspapers are meant to be about transparency, openness and accountability. Yet the Andersonstown News has hidden its half-a-million Brit dosh from its community. What does a 'principled' columnist like Father Des Wilson think of that? Will his resignation letter be in the post?

The Brits don't throw good money at nothing. They haven't made a misjudgement. A wily Andytown News hasn't conned them out of cash. They aren't funding this enterprise because of its riveting reporting, crusading journalism, or contribution to community life - (they don't exist anyway).

They're funding this newspaper group because it's doing a very good job in preserving the political status quo. It helps makes life easier for the Brits. It ridicules anyone who would even entertain the idea of rearranging London.

Forget its meaningless denunciations of securocrats etc., etc. Who really makes the Andytown News' blood boil? For whom does it reserve its most vicious and malicious words? Who does it regularly slant stories against?

The Andersonstown News' real enemies are the Brits' enemies - those who want to smash this rotten little state and its rulers, those who oppose the pacification process, those who speak out against the illegal and immoral occupation of our country.

The gutter press never went away, it's just been renamed. The slogan of the 1980s still stands - "Don't Buy a British-(funded) Lie". It's time to again shout and paint it all over West Belfast.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent


Historians and economists {subsidized by governments} are very good at creating and perpetuating myths that justify increasing the power placed in the hands of government.
- Reuven Brenner

Index: Current Articles

8 July 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

"Fury at Community Newspaper Funding"
Carrie Twomey

Don't Buy A British Lie
Geraldine Adams

Encouraging Debate
Mick Hall

Magpie's Nest
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Scargill in Ireland
Anthony McIntyre

Rev. Ian Harte
Davy Carlin

Family and Community Workers Concerned at False Reporting
Monkstown Community Resource Centre

Food, Trade and US Power Politics in Latin America
Toni Solo

5 July 2004

Can You Hear Ho Chi Minh Laughing?
Eoghan O’Suilleabhain

The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia
David Adams

On Whose Side: Stakeknife
Mick Hall

Dogs and Lampposts
Anthony McIntyre

Towards a Republican Agenda for Scotland
Seamus Reader


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