The BNP is calling on its supporters to threaten to boycott businesses which advertise in News Shopper.
Following an article we ran about Paul Golding, a BNP councillor in Swanley St Mary’s, supporters of the party have contacted three of our advertisers saying they would have no further dealings with them if they continued to use your favourite paper to promote their businesses. The article concerned quoted several residents and councillors saying Councillor Golding had “done nothing” for the community he was elected to represent.
Despite repeated attempts to contact Cllr Golding for him to have his say, he never returned our calls. Yet shortly after the piece went on our website, a comment appeared from a Cllr Paul Golding calling the article “bilge” and suggesting he was always available for a comment.
As part of the BNP’s Operation Fightback, an email was sent to BNP supporters claiming to be from party leader Nick Griffin, called Time to Fight Back Against News Shopper Lies! The message said News Shopper was “a particularly venomous anti-British left-wing propaganda outlet” which had “spewed lies for years”. It then singled out three companies which advertise with us — Wise Bedding in Broadway, Bexleyheath; double glazing suppliers Camelot, based in Maidstone Road, Sidcup, and Wellingtons Electrical, of Bexley Road, Erith, and Westmoreland Road, Bromley.
When News Shopper called Cllr Golding about this, this time he answered his phone and admitted he had created the message. He said: “I am not speaking to the News Shopper as we think you are a bunch of lying scumbags. You are poisoning the minds of south-east London and north Kent with a lot of Labour-created nonsense. You’re a vilifying left-wing gutter newspaper.”
When asked whether urging people to boycott businesses during a recession would be bad for the local economy, Cllr Golding said it was “absolute nonsense”.
We contacted the three companies targeted by the BNP. They had each been inundated with calls and emails from the party’s supporters.
Derek Mountney, managing director of Camelot, says hurting News Shopper would hurt local businesses. He said: “I think it’s bad if they have an issue with the News Shopper and pick on certain companies in the paper to try and stop them advertising. If the BNP does not agree with what was in the paper their issue should be with News Shopper and not with innocent companies which advertise in the paper at a difficult time in all industries.”
The two other businesses declined to comment.
In his comment on our “smear article”, Cllr Golding called Councillor John Underwood who was quoted in the story, a “cretin”. Cllr Underwood, a Labour councillor for the same ward as Cllr Golding, said: “I have been called worse. He's saying I’m a cretin because I have criticised him. It emphasises what sort of person he is. As BNP, that's the sort of people we are dealing with.”
Councillor Philip Roy McGarvey, a Lib Dem councillor for Farningham, Horton Kirby and South Darenth, said: “My personal reaction is it is despicable. This campaign is purely vengeful and I’m sure people would not take it seriously. If the only thing he says is this kind of vengeful attack on your paper and retailers, that speaks volumes for the man. If I was to launch a hate campaign against any company which upset me I would look very foolish. If he's going to enter politics he needs to take the rough with the smooth and he has not learnt to take the knocks yet.”
Gerry Gable, the publisher of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, says the BNP’s “bullying tactics” had “shades of Nazi Germany”. He said: “The BNP is very good at organising people to email local newspapers in protest, but those who do email are largely not from the area. This is typical of far right extremist organisations. The first thing they want to do is silence the media.”
The BNP says the party used a similar method of “fighting back” against the Manchester Evening News (MEN), which it said “worked wonders”. The MEN told News Shopper it ran a series of articles about the BNP during the recent European elections, but the party’s campaign of calling on supporters to boycott the paper’s advertisers did not have any effect.
Hillingdon and Uxbridge Times