Censorship and suppression have been problems in the media for as long as there have been any media. And what has been happening in the last three years (although more comprehensive than ever before) isn’t entirely unprecedented.
For ten years, from 1993 to 2003, I wrote a two page a week column for The People newspaper in Britain. I was one of the highest paid columnists in the world. At the time the paper sold between two and three million copies a week. My column also appeared in newspapers in Australia and South Africa.
Twenty years ago, in 2003 I resigned from the paper when they refused to print an article I wrote about Britain’s part in the invasion of the Iraq War. I felt strongly that the war was unjustifiable. Antoinette, my wife, gave me her full support, knowing that I had not made any arrangements to move to another paper. (What neither of us knew was that after my rather public resignation I would be banned and never have another article published in a national newspaper. And although that’s part of another story – tied in to drug companies and the medical establishment - I believe the media was getting ready for the new normal, the Great Reset and days of lies and Pinocchio noses.)
My resignation was, in retrospect, a rather futile gesture and from a personal point of view it was probably stupid. It was the third time I had resigned from a national newspaper. (I had previously resigned as a columnist for The Star and The Sun – both after around ten years each.)
But resigning from The People was something which was, I felt, the right thing to do.
Here is the article I wrote as part of my column dated 16th March 2003. The article appeared on the proof I was sent but it was banned before it got into the paper.
'During the last few weeks we have seen the real Tony Blair. A pathetic, craven creature who makes insipid John Major look a statesman. Is Blair the best leader Britain can produce?'
'We owe America nothing.'
'Every time America has asked us for military support we have given it. But whenever we've asked them for help they've turned us down. In two world wars they sat on the fence and only joined in when they were forced to. They turned their backs on us in 1939 and at Suez.'
'America continued to support the IRA after September 11! They give money to terrorists attacking us! What grotesque, cruel hypocrisy.'
'Americans think they are all powerful but they are over-stretched. They boast about their immense military spending. But their economy is crumbling. The dollar is collapsing and taking sterling with it.'
'Britain, France and Spain were all once more powerful than American now is. We lost our empires because we tried to control too much of the world.'
'The Americans are hypocritical bullies who know nothing of history.'
'If the United Nations Security Council had been a Crown Court jury its decision would have been disregarded on the grounds that the jurors had been threatened, bribed and bullied. Why do we accept lower standards from the UN than we would accept from a British jury?'
'This is jury its decision would have been disregarded on the grounds that the jurors had been threatened, bribed and bullied. Why do we accept lower standards from the UN than we would accept from a British jury?'
'This is an illegal, immoral and unjust war. Blair told British soldiers to give their lives to help America gain control over oilfields they've coveted for nearly a century.'
'This is a shameful time for Britain.'
'For America, the end is beginning. Blair wants to destroy our nation with them. Why?'
'Do not fight this war in my name, Mr Blair.'
I used the word ‘craven' because I felt that Blair was leading us to war (and turning the UK into a nation of terrorists) because he didn't have the courage to say `no' to his new friend, George W.Bush, the dim-witted global bully.
Winston Churchill stood up to Roosevelt when the Americans wanted to allow Stalin to occupy Eastern Europe. Harold Wilson wouldn't send British troops to Vietnam when the Americans wanted him to. And Margaret Thatcher had the courage to handbag the Americans when they invaded Grenada. But Blair didn't have the guts to say 'no' to America when he should have done.
Blair had told the British people that a second UN resolution was essential if there was to be a war. The British people clearly did not want or support a war. And until Bush announced that he intended to invade Iraq a Middle East war had never been on the New Labour agenda.
I believed (and still believe) that Blair went to war not because he believed the war was a just one but because he didn't have the courage not to go to war. He was worried that the Americans would despise him and that invitations to the White House would dry up. And he was worried that Chirac and the other European leaders would treat him with contempt if he changed his mind. I also believed, and wrote, that Blair knew he’d make a fortune from American companies when he left politics.
Jean-Paul Sartre once said: 'Of course we can splice genes. But can we not splice genes?' In Blair's case the question had become: 'Of course we can go to war. But can we not go to war?'
We went to war not because Blair had the guts to take us to war but because he didn't have the guts not to take us to war.
It was Blair who failed the nation.
(And Blair has, of course, continued to fail the nation.)
The following week I tried again. This is the second anti-war article of mine which was banned. This was written for my column of 30th March 2003.
'The majority of people in Britain are still opposed to the war against Iraq. And yet millions feel guilty for holding this view - and are being bullied to abandon their principles and support a war which they know is abhorrent; a war in which British lives are being risked so that Americans can continue to fill their large cars with the cheapest petrol on earth.'
'The warmongers, led by a British Prime Minister who is, in the view of many independent lawyers, now a war criminal and terrorist, are doing their best to blackmail us into abandoning our principles.'
'The warmongers deliberately try to cause guilt and confusion by telling us that if we oppose war we support Iraq. That's a wicked lie.'
'But their wickedest trick is to claim that if we don't support the war we are not supporting our troops (patronisingly referred to as `our boys in the desert').'
'Many of the troops (and their families) are opposed to this war and the best way to support them is to have the war stopped.'
'If you object then speak the truth. Don't abandon your principles. It is our duty to our troops in the desert to maintain the integrity and validity of the sovereign nation which employs them.'
'If we don't stand up for peace then we will be authorising perpetual war. After Iraq will come North Korea, Iran and Syria. Bush has a shopping list of countries to bomb.'
'I am not a pacifist but I will not be bullied or blackmailed into remaining silent or supporting this senseless war.'
'We should, we must, continue to oppose this unjust, cruel and illegal war. It is our right and, more importantly, it is our duty and our responsibility.'
It doesn’t look much now. And it was only a small part of a much larger column which, like many newspaper columns, consisted of a number of separate pieces.
But that too didn't appear.
I then wrote a note to the editor saying:
`This is one time when we have a real chance to make a significant difference to our future - and the future of our readers. I beg you to reconsider the People's current all-out macho pro war position. As I explained in the piece I've filed for next Sunday, questioning the war does not mean not supporting the troops.
'Since I got back to the UK I have asked scores of people whether they support the war. I have not found one person who does. The people I've asked admit that they don't know anyone who supports the war either. All the mail I have received has been strongly anti-war.’
'I would be very grateful if you'd let me know what you decide to do and whether or not you will print the column I wrote for next Sunday. I'm not asking you to change the policy of the paper - just to allow me to offer an alternative view in a signed column.'
I never received a reply – which was strange because my column filled two pages and the paper paid me a six figure sum to write it.
In my book People Push Bottles up Peaceniks I wrote:
‘One of the fundamental building blocks of a free, democratic state is a free press. You can't have freedom, or a free country, without a free press. And yet The People censored me when I wanted to give my opinions about the war. Freedom and truth had gone missing in action.’
‘I believe that by uncritically supporting a war which three quarters of the population, most other nations and almost all independent lawyers regarded as both illegal, and which most religious leaders regarded as immoral, The People gave credibility to the Government of Tony Blair and marginalised those who questioned the Government.
‘The People gave its wholehearted support to a war which was based on half -truths and lies. Doubts and questions were banned. Opposition (on moral or any other grounds) was censored in order to provide support for Tony Blair. ’
‘I resigned from The People newspaper and my resignation became public knowledge shortly afterwards.’
‘I never again worked for a British national newspaper.’
Looking back, I think that was the beginning of the end for the British media. Hardly any newspaper or TV station questioned the Iraq War at the time. Support for the government was almost total.
It was in 2003, I fear, that the media died and became a megaphone for liars, cheats, criminals, tyrants and conspirators.
Vernon Coleman has written three volumes of autobiography entitled Memories 1, Memories 2 and Memories 3.