Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Stop funding these terror rags

Semantic moral gymnastics about ‘one man’s freedom fighter’ not withstanding, someone who has been convicted of bombing civilian targets and is directly implicated in the eight murders which resulted, is unambiguously a terrorist. Brian Keenan, the violent republican extremist who died of cancer last week, carried responsibility for many more murders and there is not a shadow of doubt that any right thinking person will have abhorred this man’s legacy and adjudged the manner in which he chose to use his talents wholly despicable.

That republicans celebrate Keenan’s life and regard him as a hero is of course unsurprising. Their viewpoint is indefensible and it is a reminder of precisely the character of people we are dealing with as regards Provisional Sinn Féin and its supporters. It is still less of a surprise to find that the Andersonstown News contains a glowing and sinister tribute to Keenan within its pages. Those who are responsible for this paper and its stable mates are disgraceful, unacceptable people.

Under a headline which reads ‘Brian: a Soldier of Ireland’ we read that the paper considers Keenan “exemplified everything that was fine and decent about republicanism and the republican struggle”. A turn of phrase which ironically highlights precisely that republicanism and the republican struggle epitomise the very opposite of everything which is fine and decent.

Unfortunately one of the ambivalences of enjoying the pluralism and freedom which living in the UK ensures is that detestable people have the right to publicly air their detestable views. Whilst Keenan and his fascist colleagues attempted to bomb a dissenting majority into a united Ireland, they simultaneously enjoyed the protections which living in the state they so reviled afforded. When they made their pragmatic decision to cease killing it allowed their agenda an ever greater airing.

It is not incumbent on the government however, to publicly fund the dissemination of these disgraceful views. The supreme irony is that Martin Miller and his cronies have lacerated the government for insufficiently subsidising the hate spewed from their newspapers, whilst simultaneously drawing substantial quantities of funding.

I would submit that all the funding should be stopped.

1 comment:

O'Neill said...

It is not incumbent on the government however, to publicly fund the dissemination of these disgraceful views.

You'd be very surprised at what kind of stuff HMG funds indirectly through agencies like the British Council, so I think it would be very hard to fight a case on the ground that publications receiving funding from British taxpayers shouldn't sanctify those who murdered British taxpayers.

That's the price we pay for living in a liberal democracy which, 99.99% of the time,refuses to censor(be it with threat of libel or sending the boys round with the baseball bats)alternative views.

However....being a liberal democracy which still has pretty stringent anti-discrimination laws, such as, off the top of my head the Fair Employment Act, there is always potentially more than one way to skin a cat.

There was an interesting exchange on Marty's blog "A Publishers' Blog" a couple of months back. Basically he was complaining about a Canadian light industry company employing too many Hun in East Belfast. Somebody in the comments pointed out that Marty's very own concern, "Belfast Media", of which the Angrytown News is a part, may also struggle on that front, although in the opposite direction, if you know what I mean.

Now, a private employer whose company lacks erm...cultural diversity is pretty safe, unless he is stupid enough to be too blatant in his sectarianism/racism...but an employer who is basically subsidised by HMG needs to prove much higher standards- Belfast as a whole has an almost 50-50 religious breakdown which you would be reflected, more or less, in a media group what delivers a product to all of Belfast.

The Belfast Media Group falls somewhat short on that score...