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Free press

George Orwell

Writing letters to the press, either local or national, is a good way of getting the nationalist agenda across to a wider readership.

And in the age of the internet, many newspapers have a comments section under selected articles, so that you can instantly respond to what agenda they happen to be pushing.

However, these comments are usually moderated and are closed once they get beyond a certain volume, when the whole approach starts to resemble an unruly internet forum, with very few, other than the obsessively dedicated, following the debate to the very end.

Regardless of your preference, we still think the best approach is the old fashioned one; a short, sharp and preferably pointed letter to the editor which, if published, more people will read than any pithy comment towards the end of a long, rambling internet discussion.

We spotted this one in the Northern Echo newspaper, published in the north east of England, earlier this week, by one of Civil Liberty’s regular contributors, illustrating pen and paper still works!

“Sir,

“Since columnist Julia Breen accuses those opposed to Islam of “ignorance” (Echo, July 27) presumably I can use similar language and accuse her of “ignorance”.

“For example she claims to deplore criticism of local Muslims, but fails to explain why there’s next to no criticism of Buddhists, Hindus or, for that matter, Jehovah’s Witnesses. The explanation is very simple and almost everyone (apart from journalists like Julia Breen) knows what it is: there is a strand of Islam (unlike in Buddhism etc) that is a violent, bigoted movement not that different to Nazism.

“Indeed there are Imams who call for the extermination of Jews, but the authorities (and journalists) keep quiet about that.

“The fact that a proportion of Muslims support a range of revolting practices, like genital mutilation, tossing gays off the top of tall buildings, murdering authors and cartoonists and supporting suicide bombers tells you all you need to know about Islam.

“Yours, etc.

Ralph Musgrave”