OPINION: Some views are best ignored

The late and much missed Lord Longford had a theory that you should always read newspapers, no matter how repulsive you found their viewpoints, to know what the opposition was thinking. On his death bed, when visitors read the Bible to him, he would tug off the oxygen mask and ask for The Sun's editorial instead.

Perhaps those who run the Community Fund are following his advice in the face of the sustained onslaught by the Daily Mail which has included printing their office telephone numbers and addresses, by way of an invitation to hate mail. I tend to hope that they are not. Day by day, the Daily Mail lists grants from the Community Fund, which distributes Lottery cash.

The paper misrepresents the nature of the recipients' work to damn the Fund and the Lottery.

One day last week it sank its teeth into the Working Group Against Racism in Children's Resources, which had been awarded £145,000. Anyone who has spent time in a classroom will know that there remains an issue with racism. Prejudices still exist against those who are different, especially in this age of asylum seekers, which teachers work hard and successfully to dispel. Any help they get is to be welcomed.

What the Daily Mail sees, though, is simply one aspect: the Working Group's part in the campaign to get rid of the Golly on Robertson's jam jars.

While it is true that the extent to which black people object to Golly has been overstated - Whoopi Goldberg is one of the biggest collectors of Golly memorabilia - many do feel slighted by this stereotype. The Daily Mail's campaign is classic demonisation: give people half the truth, a dollop of prejudice and use it for your own bigger campaign, in this case an attack on Labour and its widely cast definition of what it is to be British.

Frank Longford will turn in his grave at this, but those of us who object to this nasty little smear should boycott the Daily Mail. Buying it to find out what the opposition is thinking is no longer any excuse, and chipping away at its circulation copy by copy may just give it cause to think again.

PETER STANFORD, writer and broadcaster. He chaired the trustees of the national disability charity Aspire and now sits on various trustee boards

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