I spent much of the day getting to and from London for a meeting with Northcliffe's MD, Michael Pelosi, at the group's HQ in Kensington. In my previous job on the digital side of the business, I spent two or three days a week in the London office, but since arriving in Leicester three months ago, I've only been down twice, including today. The travelling certainly eats into your day, but it was a positive meeting.
However, it meant I spent little time 'editing' the paper today, but one or two interesting emails arrived. One of the questions we need to answer very quickly is what our stance is going to be on giving coverage to the BNP during the current Euro and county council election campaigns. Conventional wisdom has ruled that it was best to starve them of publicity, but I sense a change in the mood both inside and outside newspapers, suggesting that this has allowed the BNP to cloak itself in respectability and make outrageous claims that have gone unchallenged. I've read a couple of reports recently - including one from Leicester City Council which described the BNP's activities in the city as 'chilling' - which say that the best way to prevent the BNP gaining a foothold in local politics would be to show them up for what they are.
While I was out of the office today, my deputy, Richard Bettsworth sent out an email to senior members of our team at the Mercury outlining some of the BNP policies:
- Restoration of national service
- Deportation of illegal immigrants
- Voluntary repatriation of legal immigrants
- Clamp down on asylum seekers
- Introduction of corporal punishment for minor offences
- Capital punishment for murderers, terrorists and paedophiles
- Selective exclusion of foreign goods from Britain
- Withdrawal from Nato
- Withdrawal from EU
- Foreign aid given only to those countires which accept repatriation of immigrants
I wonder what our readers think? I'd be happy to hear from you.