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Forget the Sun on Sunday ballyhoo/arrogance … get The Sunday Express tomorrow

Posted on 25 February 2012 | 9:02am

Forget the overblown, well-funded hype surrounding the Sun on Sunday, and the arrogance of Murdoch and Co sticking up two fingers to a judicial inquiry and police investigations into his papers … if there is one paper you should get tomorrow it is the Sunday Express.

No, they’re not plugging any of my books or previewing any of my projects. They are however launching a campaign to fight for better services and better understanding for the mentally ill.

It is not, to use the media parlance, a ‘sexy’ subject, and unlikely to be one troubling the Sun’s seven day sub-editors today. But it is exactly the kind of thing newspapers should be doing, not just because it is right, but because a lot of the stigma and taboo surrounding mental health comes from media reporting of it, so it will partly take media campaigns to break the stigma down.

Anyone who has read Sunday Express editor Martin Townsend’s book, The Father I Had, will know why it is a subject close to his heart. The book is a tremendous, sad but often funny, heartbreaking and heartwarming account of his childhood growing up with a manic depressive Dad.

It captures brilliantly how mental illness can cripple not just the person with the illness, but families and even communities. He wrote it in part to show what that struggle was like, but also because of his anger at the way the press, especially The Sun, covered Frank Bruno’s illness.

Precisely because he has such deep experience, I know how much Martin cares about the issue and wish him and his paper all the best with their campaign.

I also urge anyone with a story to tell – about mental health services good and bad, employers good and bad, cuts to the frontline, human interest stories, examples of discrimination against the mentally ill, to get in touch with the paper.

So there you are … I bet you never thought you’d see it here … but go out and buy the Sunday Express tomorrow.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Dark side of the Sun.
    Sun never sets on Murdoch Empire. Tomorrow Sun on Sunday rises.
    Six months after closing down the News of the World, Rupert Murdoch will once again have 40% market share.
    New Fleet Street titles are, in principle, a good thing. Mr Murdoch has been a pioneer in the media business.
    He has taken risks, and others have followed him afterwards.
    He has kept the Times and the Sunday Times afloat thanks to profits of the Sun and the NoW.
    So I do not support the idea that one proprietor should own only one title. Both the Times and the Sunday Times are loss-making, and it is difficult to see anyone else supporting them – especially without financial muscle of other titles.
    Yet it cannot be a good thing that the UK newspapers are owned by rightwing billionaires.
    Journalists on these titles do the bidding of their masters. But it should also be noted that a representative of the Rothschilds sits on the Scott Trust which controls the Guardian.
    The new edition of the Sun will in all probability be against immigration, trade unions and Europe.
    The Sun seems to have bribed public officials. There is no “witch hunt” going on.
    The Guardian and the BBC do not pay for stories. PCC code says that it is unacceptable to photograph individuals in private places without their consent. Andy Coulson as editor of the NoW called readers to cash in by selling pictures of celebrities behaving badly.
    Murdoch still has power in British politics. He wants BSkyB to beat the BBC.
    His biggest problem now are the shareholders of News Corp. And the US Foreign Corrupt Practises Act will make life difficult for Rupert Murdoch.
    There needs to be NEW LAWS on media ownership in Britain. Politicians need to be removed from decision-making process.
    The final decision on takeovers should be in the hands of the Competition Commission or Ofcom.
    If we want to fashion a new media landscape, there cannot be a return to business as usual.

    Ps. Sun on Sunday will be priced 50p – at least for a while. Trinity Mirror´s Sunday Mirror and People are priced at £1. Richard Desmond´s Sunday Express is £1.20 and the Mail On Sunday is £1.50. Buy the Observer tomorrow!

  • This certainaly will be Reflection Time for me and my son, from my womb to his 26 years, what a journey, domestic violence, rape, misuse of substance, Alcoholism, sniffing of petrol, you name, I have walked the path, with my husband, and my son had to live this ordeal, only because I wanted to safe the marriage, and give my son a dad, as dad had a good soul, it was Dad’s addictions that affected us all, we supported his journey to the rehab, in Cape Town, and we experienced a miracle, and from a disfunctional family we climbed a few stairs to a functional family, and the blow followed, Dad got shot in an armed robbery, outside his business premises, and life was shattered for us..Son’s trigger, to mental illness,he was in University, came to an end, girlfriend left him, friends fell out, Son was an adventourous, loving young lad, who loved water sking, flying, parachuting, full of fun, loved playing chess, now because of his mental issues, doesnt engage much…His my best friend….I love him and I have compassion for all those out there  who walk this path…..

  • Michele

    Very funny spoof about the launch of the Sundaysun about 5mins in to this programme, someone being merciless with a Brian Cox take-off …. (I hope he can laugh all the way to the bank)

  • Quinney

    Alastair this week this government placed an order worth £452 million for 4 Royal Navy tankers in South Korea. An Itlalian firm offered to place 35% of the work in the UK if they got the order instead, but the order went to South Korea.
    This government also placed a £1 billion order for Chinook helicopters in the US when they could have been made under licence at Yeovil in Somerset as were the Apache and Sea King helicopters (very odd that the order was given on Liam Fox’s watch considering that our only helicopter maker is on his constituency doorstep). As well as this there is the now infamous order for train given to Siemens in Germany rather than Bombardier in Derby.
    In the same week the 82% state owned RBS lost £2 billion and still paid out £1 billion in bonuses. So much for Cameron’s promise to “reign in the bankers”, so much for his promise to “rebalance the economy” and Osborne’s budget promise to steer Britain out of recession using the “march of the makers”.
    Of course the right wingers will froth at the mouth raging that we can’t subsidise industry like those horrible europeans . Different when it’s “socially useless banks”.
    You have to ask yourself what is the real reason and it’s probably the tories wish to keep 3 million on the dole to force down wages and conditions and to wage war on the unions.

  • Anonymous

    I hope there are no new media quangos. We do need to ensure that their are different owners and types of ownership, but don’t need a quango to do so. Bad thing is our current press, worse would be govt controlled press, worse still would be quango control – all the power and biase of the government but without the ability to boot them out.

    The only independent institution that works quite well is the judiciary but I feel a new media quango would be light years from this.

    Ps you say the Sun would be anti immigration, anti europe, anti trade union.
    Most British citizens would agree with the first two so I don’t see that as a problem. It could be argued there aren’t enough pro-trade union papers I suppose.

  • Anonymous

    Never bought sunday express in my life but if I remember this article tomorrow morning in the paper shop I will do so tomorrow, thanks for the headsup Alastair.

  • Dave Simons

    Why do people buy and read ‘The Sun’? Nobody is forced to. They must buy it, not just because of its domineering ubiquity, but because they like what’s in it and they feel most comfortable with it. It speaks to their minds, hearts and guts. Cynical manipulators and profiteers like Murdoch know that, and they build up their empires on the application of that knowledge. The Tory Party since Disraeli knows it too, and it wins votes on a similar basis. Murdoch knows that ‘The Sun’ propagates lies and garbage – he used to be a radical journalist in Australia – but he saw where the money and power were and he got real. Marxists have their theory of ‘false consciousness’ to explain why sections of the proletariat are complicit with their own oppression and exploitation. As a concession they sometimes adopt the red-top format used by the ‘The Mirror’ and ‘The Sun’ in a failed attempt to appeal to the proletariat – ‘Socialist Worker’ did that around 1971 and they’ve stayed with it. The problem puzzled Robert Tressell a hundred years ago and it still puzzles me – and I grew up in a family where the newspapers were ‘The Daily Mirror’, ‘The Daily Sketch’, ‘The News of the World’ and ‘The People’.

  • Reflection time for me and my son, my beloved husband, was a good soul, and to safe my marriage and give my son a fully devoted father, I lived a journey, with my husbands addictions, for alcohol, drug misuse, petrol sniffing, kat chewing, rape, domestic violence, I can add a lot to the list…,My husbands addictions were causing problems not him, he was a good soul…My son was affected by all this as soon as he was housed in my womb, 26 years ago, at times my husband had episodes of manic depression as well in addition to his addictions, as we were living in a close knit family, extended family, everything was swept under the carpet, and the ongoing problems were not addressed…We experienced a miracle, after much effort and persuation from myself and my son, Dad went in to re-hab, we enjoyed the new beginning from a fully disfunctionable to a functionable family….We had climbed a few stairs into our serenity when disaster hit us, Dad was shot in an armed robbery outside his business premises…This triggered my sons mental illness and he was at the time in University, his career came to an end, he had treatment in Cape Town, his girlfriend left him, his friends fell out, inlaws, community, abondoned and shut doors on us, as so much stigma and discrimination attached to mental illness, my son was a young lad full of life, adventorous, loved his girlfriend(first love) had many friends, loved water sking, flying, parachuting and played chess,  he doesnt engage much, he keeps me going, I love him, and he is my best friend, my compassion for all those who are on a similar journey…

  • Gilliebc

    Good post Dave.  It is interesting how certain people
    down through history have learned how to control and manipulate large sections of the proletariat and even make them complicit with their own oppression and exploitation.  Your words Dave and spot-on I believe.

    The herd or flock mentality is something to behold on some opinion sites.  Personally I get very cross with those people who rely totally on the MSM especially the BBC to inform them how to think and what they should or shouldn’t believe. The internet although it contains some mis/dis information is the best source of real news these days. 

    People inc. children are being slaughtered in places such as Syria, Palestine and Libya too which has become even worse since they got rid of Gadaffi.
    The main TV news channels tonight and tomorrow will be almost wall to wall coverage of the Oscars!
    Because that’s what the dumbed-down people have been told, and let’s be honest many of them actually believe it, that things like the Oscars are what’s important. For goodness sake!  Sometimes I can’t help but think that large numbers of the proletariat get exactly what they deserve.

  • Ehtch

    There seems to be a vacuum in the market since the demise of the NOTW, and it looks like that only this sort of paper can fill it – stack them high, sell them cheap. Suppose it is healthy in some sort of peculiar way this paper has been produced. Still think myself it is only good for lining the kitty litter tray.

  • Ehtch

    It could be fair to say that about 50% of the population is frightened to death of mental illness, due to ignorance, while 25% is more in the know because they have close friends or relatives that have become ill or have worked at any level close to illhealth of this kind. It must to be noted that physical ill health can cause it as well as a secondary symptom, as multiple sclerosis and other immune system disorders.

    And yes, education for all is the only solution, so well done to the Daily/Sunday Express. We all know it is not like suffering a bout of the common cold, but it is commoner than what many think it is.

  • Mark Wright

    There is slowly, but surely, a change in culture surrounding our views on mental illness.

    But perhaps what also needs to addressed is not just how we deal with mental illness once it’s been diagnosed and recognised but how we begin look for the signs of possible onset of even mild depression.

    For many an individual displaying aberrant behaviour can often be the source of humour or even ridicule.

    I consider myself sensitive to the issue of mental health and yet upon hearing the news of MP Eric Joyce getting into a bar brawl in the House of Commons I found myself immediately jumping on the Twitter bandwagon frantically trying to come up with a quip to equal the best in an avalance of comment and hilarity.

    Now I have no idea whether Mr Joyce suffers from any form of depression or not. But that’s the point. I don’t know. Yet I thought nothing of making fun of a situation that might be symptomatic of a problem that runs far deeper than simple bar brawl.

    I realised there is a discrepancy between how I perceive my attitudes towards mental health to be and, at times, the reality of my actions.