I don’t mean who’s at the front of it: the public faces of it are on their website and include Brendan Cox, the widower of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, and some survivors of IRA and ISIS/Al-Qa’ida terrorist attacks or their victims’ relatives. The real question is who is funding it, and there is little indication of this on the website or, for that matter, on that of “More In Common”, the think-tank also founded by Brendan Cox which hosts the group’s two published email addresses. Think-tanks and pressure groups are often founded and follow agendas set by public relations companies paid by industry; to take an example, American victims’ rights lobby groups are often funded by the prison industry and lobby for increased minimum sentences, from which the prison industry profits. Think tanks and pressure groups are notorious for being opaque about their funding, while the media interviews their spokesmen as if they spoke for the “grass roots” rather than a corporate funder — Forest, a pro-tobacco lobby group funded by the industry, is often presented as a “smokers’ group” while Migration Watch’s spokesman refused to answer such questions when an interviewer for The Spectator asked why he was interested in the subject of ‘migration’.
It speaks volumes that SAT, whose logo consists of two circles made up of quote marks and whose masthead features a flying Union flag, chose the Sun newspaper for their big media launch. The Sun is not known for fostering harmony between communities in this country but for fostering suspicion and hostility while preaching the gospel of ‘Britishness’: for example, when the Times, also part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, printed a false and inflammatory story about a Muslim foster family last summer, the Sun reasserted the original story after it had been debunked. It was a pro-Thatcher newspaper in the 1980s and demonised Labour local authorities and trade unions. As is well-known, it defamed the Liverpool fans who were the victims at Hillsborough in 1989 and took decades to print any apology. (There is also an interview with Cox and others in the Guardian, but the Sun’s article on them is explicitly adulatory.)
According to the Guardian piece, the group’s platform includes campaigning for improved support for victims of terrorist attacks and their families; the website doesn’t mention this but it does mention a demand for “respectful treatment of families and survivors by the mainstream media” (the piece in the Sun, a paper notorious for disrespectful and intrusive treatment of victims of crime and their families, naturally does not mention this aspect). But to campaign for “strong support for the police and security services”? The police and security services are part of the State, they are liberally supported with tax-payers’ money and are backed to the hilt by the mainstream media (and by juries and the judicial system when they kill members of the public), so why on earth do they need a pressure group to “encourage support” for them? What could that mean other than encouraging people not to ask difficult questions or impugn their judgement when someone is killed or injured, or to smear people who stand in the way of ever greater surveillance or detention powers?
Who is behind this? This is not the sort of pressure group that could have been started at a grassroots level. I asked them on Twitter if they intended to be open about their funding, but have yet to see any response.
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