Politics and the Press

It’s three weeks until the UK’s next General Election, and the newspapers are full of commentary on the various parties and their merits or defects. The German prisoners at Skipton were also able to get a sense of the political lie of the land from the media: sections of the Kriegsgefangen diary reflect some of the political tendencies of newspapers at the time.

“Das im Lager meistgelesene Tagesblatt der von dem Engländer gütigst erlaubten Zeitungen ist der Manchester Guardian.  Seine liberale Richtung haben auch die Daily News, Lord Burnhams Daily Telegraph und der wöchentlich erscheinende Common Sense.  Unionistisch, konservativ sind die Yorkshire Post und die Morning Post, das Blatt der guten Gesellschaft.  Äußerst beliebt sind die Zeitungen Lord Northcliffes, des großen Hetzers.  Der bilderreiche Daily Mirror, die Sonntagszeitung Weekly Dispatch, die Daily Mail und die Times bieten uns treffliche Beispiele englischer Hetzerei und englischen Maulaufreißens.  Bei den letzten englischen Wahlen war Northcliffe noch der Werber Lloyd Georges und regierungstreu, bald aber hetzte er zur Abwechslung gegen die Regierung.  Wer mag ihm nur das Geld dazu gegeben haben!

Augenblickliches Regierungsblatt ist Daily Chronicle.  Regierungstreue beweist auch der Sonntags-Observer.  Unbedeutend, aber im Lager gelesen sind Daily Graphic, Yorkshire Evening Post, BradfordEvening News, Sunday Pictorial und News of the WorldThe London News, Sphere, Bystander, Tatler, Sketch, CountryLife sind viel gelesene Wochenzeitschriften.  An Fachzeitschriften werden Architectural Review, Papermaker, Engineering, Rowing and Sporting, Economist, The Churchman und The Church Family Newspaper gehalten.  Alle diese Zeitungen verstehen zu hetzen in Wort und Bild.  Sozialdemokratische Zeitschriften wie der Labour Leader und die Nation wurden verboten, da sie auch der ganzen englischen Wehrmacht untersagt waren.  Kaufleute und Handeltreibende waren über das Verbot der Times Trade Supplement sehr ärgerlich.” (pp. 63-4)

Of the newspapers generously permitted to us by the English, the most widely read in the camp is the Manchester Guardian.  Its liberal point-of-view is shared by the Daily News, Lord Burnham’s Daily Telegraph and the weekly Common Sense.  Unionist and conservative views are found in the Yorkshire Post and in the Morning Post, the newspaper favoured by polite society.  The newspapers of Lord Northcliffe, the great agitator, are particularly popular.  The heavily illustrated Daily Mirror, the Sunday paper Weekly Dispatch, the Daily Mail and the Times offer splendid examples of English rabble-rousing and provocation.  In the last English election, Northcliffe was still an advocate of Lloyd George and loyal to the government, but soon afterwards he made for a bit of variation by swapping sides and is now against the government.  One wonders how he came by the money for such a transformation!

The government’s current pet newspaper is the Daily Chronicle, and the Sunday Observer is also loyal to the government.  Insignificant publications that are nonetheless read in the camp include the Daily Graphic, Yorkshire Evening Post, Bradford Evening News, Sunday Pictorial and News of the WorldThe London News, Sphere, Bystander, Tatler, Sketch, Country Life are much-read weekly magazines.  As far as special interest magazines are concerned, we receive the Architectural Review, Papermaker, Engineering, Rowing and Sporting, Economist, The Churchman and The Church Family Newspaper.  All these publications are adept at verbal and pictorial strategies for agitation.  Social-democratic magazines such as the Labour Leader and the Nation are banned, since the entire English army is also forbidden to read them.  The businessmen and tradesmen amongst us have been infuriated by the ban on the Times Trade Supplement. (CS)