Editor BEN CHACKO hopes new readers enjoy this election special edition of the Morning Star
I’D LIKE to wish a warm welcome to this election special edition of the Morning Star, especially to readers who may not have encountered our paper before.
We believe the general election on June 8 is the most important for a generation, and will have serious consequences for Britain’s future.
For the first time in many years, the battle at Westminster is between two parties with completely different outlooks, holding different values and representing different people.
If you feel the country is going in the right direction, the economy is in good hands and we’re a safer, richer country than we were in 2010 when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats took office, then you can plump for more of the same by voting Conservative.
But if you think we need a radical change of direction, for once we have an alternative on offer in the shape of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
Corbyn has got a lot of stick from the media, and that’s why we decided we needed to make an extra effort this election with a mass distribution of the only daily newspaper that supports him, the Morning Star.
The press in Britain is mostly pro-Conservative, and even those papers which aren’t pro-Tory tend to be anti-Corbyn. A daily drip-feed of negative messaging by papers and broadcasters not prepared to give the man a fair hearing has distorted popular perceptions of the Labour Party and its leader.
You don’t have to take our word for it. An independent study by the Media Reform Coalition at the end of 2015 found that “large sections of the press appeared to set out systematically to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.” A separate study by the London School of Economics in the summer of 2016 found that Corbyn had been systematically misrepresented in the media.
Of course, you could point to the Morning Star and say: “You’re just as biased — everything you publish is anti-Tory!”
We make no claim to be neutral. The words “for peace and socialism” run under our masthead every day. This mass distribution is a bid to redress the overall media balance a bit.
You can read the Tory take on this election every day, and see it broadcast from our TV screens on the hour. Here’s a different take.
If a newspaper is privately owned, it will promote the interests of the person who owns it. And that’s the case with the British press — over 80 per cent of the papers bought every day in this country are owned by six men.
US-based Rupert Murdoch owns The Sun and The Times. Lord Rothermere, who lives in France “for tax purposes,” owns the Daily Mail.
The secretive Barclay brothers, who live on their own island, own the Telegraph. Pornographer Richard Desmond owns the Express, and Russian oligarch Yevgeny Lebedev owns the Independent and Evening Standard.
The Morning Star is different — it’s a readers’ co-op, owned by thousands of individual shareholders. No matter how many shares you buy you only get one vote at its annual general meeting, which elects the management committee which appoints the editor — no other paper is half as democratic.
That means we answer only to our readers, not some tax-exile tycoon. That means we can put working people first, rather than prioritise the interests of the super-rich.
We’re trying to look at what’s at stake in this election from an ordinary family’s perspective. If you’re new to the Morning Star, we hope you find it interesting. If not — well, you haven’t paid a penny so no harm done!
n Free copies will be available in supermarkets across the country from June 1 to 8 — if you like what you read please spread the word!