To Newsquest and Gannett: Stop publishing The National’s anti-English hate in Scotland

To Newsquest and Gannett: Stop publishing The National’s anti-English hate in Scotland

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Petition to
Chairman and CEO of Gannett Company Inc Mike Reed and

Why this petition matters

Started by The Majority

We the undersigned ask that, in the name of decency, that Henry Faure Walker and Mike Reed, CEOs of NewsQuest and Gannett stop funding The National newspaper's anti-English hate and the intimidation of those who speak out against it.

In the 21st century, there has been a worldwide effort to erase bigotry, racism and intolerance. Every day, we see, all around us, the positive effects of a more tolerant world as people of all faiths, nationalities and orientations are accepted. 

Yet, here in Scotland, anti-English racism persists, promoted by The National, a newspaper published by Newsquest, which is owned by Gannett, a US-media company. The National says it promotes Scottish ‘independence’, but actually uses anti-English headlines, written by anti-English bigots, to whip up grievance and intolerance for their own political, promotional and financial gain. 

Let us remember: The Scottish people voted overwhelmingly in 2014 to remain part of the United Kingdom and there is no legal path for Scottish Nationalists to gain a second referendum. The National is a newspaper without purpose; a paper that exists, not to heal our divisions, but to open them further. 

Nowhere is this more clear than The National’s reader comments sections, which are full of grievance and anti-British bile, whipped up by its cynical commentators.

To be clear, it is a newspaper's job to push against the government of the day, but when that fight becomes based on nationality, it becomes something deeply ugly. Journalist Kenny Farquarson recently exposed how Scottish Nationalists operate, in his column in The Times:

The English must be othered. It is as simple and as brutal as that. Because that is how we [Scottish Nationalists] justify cutting ourselves off from them. We are not like them. They are weak in ways we are strong. Their morals are different to ours. We are better off without them. In parallel, talk of “the Scottish people” must be celebratory and vague. The impression must be fostered that there is one Scotland when in fact there are many Scotlands. 

In fact, there are many Britains. Looking at Newquest’s other local titles, we see newspapers across the UK arguing for and against government policies, but never sinking to the us-and-them politics of Nationalism, nor celebrating the failures of their fellow citizens.

Neither Gannett nor Newsquest would publish a newspaper that was against Jews, against gays or against any other group of people. Would Gannett newspapers ever publish anti-Mexican content on their front pages? Yet, The National routinely publishes anti-English content. In one recent example, the front-page supported Italy to beat England in the 2021 Euros soccer championship. A sickening sight, not just to the hundreds of thousands of English people living in Scotland, but the majority of Scots who are their friends, colleagues and family.

If any of Newsquest's English publications wished Scotland to fail there would, rightly, be outrage. So why does the National's anti-English hate get a pass?

Some might say it’s ‘just banter’ or ‘a joke’. But would it be ‘just banter’ for a newspaper to hope that gays, Jews or people from other countries who live among us would lose something important to them? On the front page? Surely, that is a question that any respectable newspaper company should never have to answer.

It also beggars belief that Newsquest, a UK-based company, based in London, with readers, staff and advertisers from all parts of the UK, would publish a newspaper that is devoted to the break up of the UK. 

And are Newsquest’s staff, vendors and advertisers across the UK aware that their CEO allows the publication of a newspaper that directs hate against not just the English, but the majority of Scots who are against their failed plans? The National’s comment sections are full of unchecked hate against The English and fellow Scots, calling them traitors and worse.

We also wonder if Gannett’s shareholders, employees and vendors are aware that the Scottish National Party, which is promoted every day by The National, was founded and led by Arthur Donaldson, a man who hated the English so much he actively sought to collaborate with Hitler. While bombs were falling all over the UK, and so many of our grandparents were risking their lives fighting the horror of the Nazis, Donaldson said:

The movement in Scotland must then be able to show the German government that it is organised and has a clear-cut policy, that it is not with England in the war. The German government will give them every possible assistance in their early struggle, and when fire and confusion is at its height in England the movement can start in earnest.

In what world does a party founded by Nazi sympathisers get an international media corporation to act as its mouthpiece?

Please note that this is not a free speech issue. If anti-English racists want to publish their own newspaper, or create a community of hate using their own money, they should be free to do so. However, such a newspaper should not be published, enabled or subsidised by Newsquest or Gannett.

As the saying goes: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’.

It is time for Mr Faure Walker and Mr Reed to do the right thing. 

It is time for good men to stop publishing racist hate.


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7,199 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!