No boycott of the Indy
Many people, fresh from the glow of the election results and happy
(or relieved) about the quality of RESPECT's vote were bemused to find
that RESPECT is calling for a boycott of the Independent.
The article, which is currently the second item on the front page
"The Independent was top of the list
of national newspapers attacking (and ignoring) Respect. They refused
to print our news and even letters to the editor despite promising to,
the new Labour lickspittle in charge did not respond to a letter from
George Galloway asking for fair coverage, columnists like Johann Hari
and Nick Cohen poured on vitriol, and on the morning of the election the
paper described us as ‘a motley collection of extremists’.
"It’s time for payback. We aren’t asking for flattering coverage but we
do demand that the power of a newspaper is not employed to unfairly
denigrate – all right, lie about us! – and in a democracy the best way
of demonstrating what we feel is to boycott the newspaper. Its finances
are fragile enough. Join us and vote with your pocket. Bust the
Independent. We’re having the tee-shirts, badges and stickers printed
now. Boycott the Indie"
This article can be found at the site;
[subsequent note; this link now goes direct to the
front page and the article is no longer available from the RESPECT
This is a massive mistake and should be withdrawn. Perhaps due to
post election exhaustion this error is not 'party policy' as it were,
let's hope so - but to spend RESPECT resources on this kind of petulant
campaign is idiotic at best and down right counter productive at worst.
Let's be clear, the Independent is the clearest, most consistently
anti-war daily newspaper in this country. It's circulation is increasing
and it carries columnists like Mark Steel who have been vociferous
against New Labour's betrayals of working class people. Will we be
asking Mark to give up his job perhaps?
To boycott this publication would be madness. Whoever wrote this
piece (it's not signed) needs to take a step back and think about what
they are doing. They call for the Independent to be driven out of
business - well, what a step forward for the anti-war movement that
would be. What are we meant to read instead? The pro-war Guardian? The
tittle-tattle in the Mirror?
But there's more - a boycott won't work and will only drive potential
supporters away. This weekend more people than ever will be visiting the
RESPECT website - many of them Independent readers, wondering about
RESPECT and wanting to know more. Is this what we want them to think
To see that RESPECT is calling on a boycott of the best anti-war
paper available will reek of small player sectarianism. In the very
moment that we have a chance to step up into the big league of politics
let's not make ourselves sound isolated and politically naive.
RESPECT has surpassed expectations, it has proved that a broad
progressive organisation can gain a hearing from a larger audience -
let's just make sure that what we call for is worth the trouble of