By Bartholomew A. Konechni
If you can recognize that the “Brexit Mutineers” front cover was a defense of political hatred and think it is still acceptable to buy the Daily Telegraph, then you are not only an apologist for hate, you are complicit in it. The article by Zishi Zhang in The Sundial Press was so careful to emphasize that this commentary was “not here to target the Daily Telegraph,” well, I am here to target the Daily Telegraph and anyone who thinks that it is acceptable to give money to such a fountain of bile.
One would imagine from reading the article that divisive politics had only sprung up in Britain during and after the referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union. An idyllic picture is painted of Ed and Dave’s witty exchanges progressing quite naturally from the Oxford Union to the floor of the House of Commons. A false image is crafted of a pre-referendum era when good old chaps headed the Fleet Street press. Running throughout this article an impression is given that Britain is in the throes of momentary insanity, which will soon pass and which we don’t need to do anything about in particular. Perish the thought that if a major newspaper peddles hatred that you should perhaps stop buying it.
The argument might have some validity if this image of pre-referendum Britain was a reflection of the truth. Sadly, it falls gravely short. The Daily Telegraph has spent years giving an intellectual veneer to nationalism. Indeed, it has even been the favored conduit of Conservative politicians who have sought to play up their own nationalist agenda. In one particularly memorable 2014 editorial Prime Minister David Cameron wrote of building a “Britain first” immigration system. The Daily Telegraph is not as some would have it the news of paper of the thinking, but the paper of those who are ashamed to admit their own bigotry and so hide it under the spread of the broadsheet.
I gladly admit that the Daily Telegraph has recently sunk to new lows. One thinks especially of when they accused an Afro-Caribbean student at Cambridge of having forced the university to “drop white authors” on the cover of their October 25 edition this year. But that simply begs the question again of why anyone thinks it’s acceptable to continue to read and buy a newspaper that is by all accounts a purveyor of prejudice against all those who are not true born Englishmen. But that would seem even more of a reason to stop buying such a regressive newspaper.
It is not enough to simply say that the Daily Telegraph is divisive and that left-wing news sites who support Corbyn, like Swarkbox, are divisive. At some point, each and every one of us has sit down and ask ourselves who is the real political enemy in our midst. There are threats to the integrity of British society, but it is not migrants and those on the left trying to fight for a more accepting Britain. It is newspapers like the Daily Telegraph and the Conservative Party who are ripping the country apart. If we don’t take a side and we don’t stand up to the abuse of those real enemies then we are not fulfilling our duty to fight for sanity.
Bartholomew A. Konechni is a first year student at Sciences Po Paris, Campus of Reims.
Image: British Newspaper Archive Blog: https://blog.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/2015/04/02/250000-pages-added-including-the-daily-telegraph/