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Editor defends decision to carry BNP advert

One of Archant’s weekly papers has carried an advert for the British National Party in the same edition that the editor denounced them in a column.

In this week’s Hampstead and Highgate Express, Geoff Martin says he dislikes the BNP and would rather chew off his hand than vote for them.

But he goes on to defend the decision to carry the advert, saying: “Why would a respectable organ like the Ham&High carry an advert for the BNP…..the simple answer is that this is not China. It is Britain”.

He adds: “Our democracy may be tainted, but it is still an example to all. So let’s keep it that way.”

The advert was appealing for voters ahead of next month’s London Assembly and Mayoral elections in the capital.

Geoff told holdthefrontpage today: “The Ham&High has been on the streets for about 30 hours now and I’ve received five letters of support and two of criticism – one of them personally calling me a plonker.

“Staff knew about it before it went in the paper. Undoubtedly, there’s a strong opinion that we should not have run the advert.

“But there’s that critical difference between looking at individual views and forming reader policy.

“There was long discussion about this, more so that any advert that I’ve ever known. But we are taking adverts from all other candidates.”

Geoff added: “It featured a picture of a scrubbed-up family with the words ‘People like this will vote for the BNP’.

“To say ‘you cannot have it and everybody else can’ – the word censorship starts to come into the equation.

“What made it different is this is a party people find objectionable. But there was nothing objectionable in the advert itself.”

Geoff, who has been editor for five years, said other Archant titles were due to carry the advert but because of protracted discussions by management, some deadlines had passed this week.

He added that the advert had been earmarked for future editions.

You can read Geoff’s leader column in full at the Ham&High website.


steve (11/04/2008 18:58:47)
well done that paper, we all do things we dont want to or like, so congratulations are in order.
Yes, it is a democracy, but i bet your phone lines have been busy with the anti free speech anarchic uaf supporters, threatening you and all your suppliers.

Lorene Roberts (11/04/2008 20:34:01)
I don’t like paying taxes that are then wasted on crazy illegal wars, but it’s something we have to put up with. Carrying the advert is a powerful bulwark against censorship, well done.

Dan (12/04/2008 18:51:40)
And low and behold as soon as any story written about the BNP appears their members appear in jubilation (pretending they are not members ofcourse)to harp on about the glories of free speech.
BNP cyber-activism at work, nothing more nothing less. Trumped up biggots pretending they carry the torch of free speech, most of us see right through your rubbish.
Archant nned a kick up the behind.

Ashton (13/04/2008 08:52:43)
I alsways find it interesting that the likes of “Dan” make such anti BNP comments on news websites. I dont vote BNP, but I am interested in their rise as mmany of my peers support them.
What is clear is that no matter what they do or say, the loony left will always attack them, whilst the BNP seem only to attack the loony left’s policies.
I am worried that a far right party might get in, but I am more worried about the commy style people who are in, and the way pseudo intellectuals such as this Dan spew out such vitriol.
I am not scared of a level playing field for poilitics. Seems the left are though.

Mark D (13/04/2008 08:56:10)
I agree with Ashton, I too worry about the prospect of a BNP state. However, this behaviour is undemocartic and suggests that the left beleive we commoners are not clever enough to use our vote properly.
We have a BNP candidate in our ward and I will use my vote against him, because I am not stupid. Luckily, we have an independant stadning, who will get my vote because the BNP are right on one thing. The main parties are conment and the left have destroyed this country. We need a good leader in a good party who is not a liar.

Sarah (13/04/2008 08:59:57)
I used to be a Tory voter, then changed in 97 because I was flattered by Tone and his rhetoric. I am ashamed of this vote, but now vote BNP because it is truly the only party that represent my views. I dont care if people call me a racist, that old washed our attack does not bother me anymore.
Even so, it is right that Dan should have his views and right that he can express them. I know he wont feel the same about me, but that’s his problem.

Dan (13/04/2008 19:54:37)
Ashton you give away the fact you are a BNPer just by your posting.
I am anything but on the ‘looney left’.

peter lazenby (15/04/2008 11:25:31)
My uncle died on D-Day on the beaches of Normandy opposing the Nazis. My father was a flight-sergeant bomb aimer in North Africa and Iltaly fighting the Nazis.
Four other uncles served in the army fighting the Nazis. One was among the first British troops into a Nazi concentration camp. His mental health never recovered from what he saw.
The Ham and High decides its OK to accept money from modern day Nazis for an ad. I rest my case.