Slightly bizarre few days of dealing with press allegations that a small campaign group I'd barely heard of is in league with a website I edit which proves they are "Trotskyites" even though I wouldn't even describe myself as a Marxist let alone one of the flavours of that political philosophy.
The original article is a looney piece red baiting a local group in the run up to a council by election claiming that because we reported their results they must be hard left. The SUN response is here which includes the original piece in the Enfield Gazette, a paper so prestigious it doesn't even have a website so I had to attach the article as a pdf.
Having rung the paper they were so obstreperous and unreasonable I've decided to take it further. I wrote a letter to the paper (which, if they publish, will appear on election day) I'm copying that below for your edification - and have spoken to the Press Complaints Commission about the process of making a formal complaint. It's all good fun I suppose, but very, very strange.
Letter: if you want to support the Tories do it out in the open
"It was with great interest that I heard about the Enfield Gazette’s article last Thursday claiming that Save Chase Farm and the Socialist Unity Network are united in our opposition to capitalism. As the editor of the Socialist Unity website it came as a bit of a surprise to find out that I’d been in cahoots with a group I’d barely heard of, who had been a minor part of our coverage of the local elections earlier this year. There is no connection between the two groups what-so-ever.
"At no time did our coverage claim Save Chase Farm were anything other than what they are – a broad campaign to defend the NHS, which gets support from left and right. To quote some barmy councillor claiming this proves Save Chase Farm have a “Trotskyite agenda” is laughable, and surely paranoid red baiting doesn’t pass for news in Enfield does it?
"You quote from our “who we are” section on our website (a section written before the formation of SCF incidentally) in an extremely misleading fashion. Whilst the quote is accurate when it begins “what unites us…” the us referred to is clearly the Socialist Unity Network but your context implies that this includes SCF – an organisation we had never had any correspondence with until the publication of your piece.
"Before writing your article you could have checked our site, or even contacted us. Alas you chose to copy a Conservative press release, inaccuracies and all. If the Gazette wishes to come out in support of the Conservative candidate it should do so honestly rather than smearing their opponents in such an obvious and inaccurate manner.
"Editor of the Socialist Unity Network website