This is a guest post by Israelinurse
When I was a little girl, growing up in the narrow cobbled streets of the 1960s industrial North of England, my parents never read any newspaper other than the Manchester Guardian.
There was a nightly ritual before bedtime in our house; we each had to polish our shoes ready for school the next day. Inevitably, this took place upon the kitchen floor; shoes, polish and brushes laid out on yesterday’s edition of the Manchester Guardian.
One evening I asked my father, who came from a family background worthy of a John Braine novel in which socialism was handed down the generations as an heirloom, along with great-aunt Hilda’s cut glass vase, what the name ‘Guardian’ meant.
He explained that newspapers had a role as guardians of society; that the newspaper’s job was to bring injustices into public view and to advocate fair treatment for all members of that society. The idea that there were journalists in our nearest big city dedicated to guarding the good and exposing the bad appealed very much to me at the age of seven. I even volunteered to clean my sister’s shoes too so as to have more time to read the articles between smudges of brown shoe polish.
In late 2006, after an absence of more than 30 years from Britain, I was therefore dismayed to find that my old shoe-cleaning friend The Guardian had undergone a metamorphosis which made it unrecognisable. Where was the brave reporting rooted in a firm understanding of fairness and right and wrong? Exactly which ideals was the paper guarding now?
Take, for instance, a subject which the old Manchester Guardian would have had no qualms about getting its teeth into. The British charity ‘War on Want’, already investigated in the past by the Charity Commission, has teamed up with BRICUP to organise a series of lectures in universities in London, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow next week promoting the boycott agenda.
Now, together with BRICUP, it is bringing members of the South African Trades Union ‘Cosatu’ to Britain to promote the idea of Israel as an apartheid state in British academic institutions.
The old Manchester Guardian would have long ago turned the spotlight upon this seemingly blatant transgression of charitable status. It would have questioned the fact that a recipient of both public donations and government and EU funding is promoting racial hatred. It would have investigated the connections and backgrounds of charity workers apparently intent upon the promotion of a political rather than philanthropic agenda.
So where is today’s Guardian, Mr. Rusbridger? This is a chance to show the public that something still remains of the old Guardian ethos. Are you up to the challenge?