jonathan bullock, campaign, apology, nigel farage, brexit, claire beale

Jonathan Bullock MEP - Nigel Farage 'apology' by editor demeans Campaign

Delivered by Jonathan Bullock on 23 July 2019

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Claire Beale, Global Editor-in Chief Campaign

Dear Claire,

Your Apology Demeans Campaign

I am writing as a former Advertising Agency Account Director and former Head of External Affairs and PR at the Advertising Association, who is now a Brexit Party MEP and Deputy Head of the Brexit Party delegation in the European Parliament.

You published last week an interesting and insightful feature on Nigel Farage which achieved your expressed intention of being to 'address how the Brexit Party has emerged as a brand across an increasingly divided political and social landscape..[and one]...that has connected with many people across the country'.

I was therefore surprised that not only did you not have the courage of your objective editorial convictions to defend your authors and Campaign, but to write an "apology" that is not only abject but also defamatory in its implications.  You now say that you made mistakes in your approach, are sorry and that the Campaign team does not tolerate racism, sexism or bigotry of any kind.' 

Quite what this last statement has to do with the Brexit Party, I do not know - but its implications are despicable and without any objective justification or foundation.  We are a fair, open and inclusive Party that values people on the basis of their democratic views and has a genuine respect for fair and objective press freedom.  Respect for press freedom, let alone objective and rationale reasoning based on fact, is not something that is displayed in your abject apology, which is demeaning to you as editor, the authors of the article and your magazine.

The Brexit Party is the most diverse Party of MEPs in the whole European Parliament, with a significant number of highly valued and respected female, ethnic minority and gay members amongst our delegation selected on merit. Our campaign in the European Election was based solely, exclusively and consistently on representing the 17.4m people who voted to leave the EU and on respecting their democratic vote.  The campaign did not mention (whether expressly or impliedly) and does not represent (whether expressly or impliedly) anything which could in any way be construed as involving any of the issues you mention or to which you seek to align the Brexit Party and Nigel Farage.

You have no need to apologise for an article which is similar in tone, style and approach to other articles in your magazine over many years.  You also seem to assume a uniformity of view among your industry.  Whilst Brexit has divided Britain, even in London some 40% of citizens voted to leave the EU.  I know many in the advertising industry who did likewise.

There is a campaign out there to silence Brexiteers and the legitimate views they express, including in relation to democracy and individual freedoms.  The shutting down of legitimate analysis and discussion smacks more of an Orwellian or McCarthyist approach to debate and press freedom than that of Voltaire.  Your apology is a sad indictment of where you and Campaign stand on this spectrum.

You have asked for responses and suggestions as how best to move forward.  I trust that you will take my response, which I am making public, into account. 

Regards Jonathan

Jonathan Bullock MEP



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