People are horrified by the BBC’s headline about a violent far-right attack

BBC logo
Support us and go ad-free

Three members of UKIP have been suspended following a violent attack on Bookmarks, a socialist bookshop in Bloomsbury. The left-wing bookshop reported the attack by “around a dozen mask wearing fascists” on 4 August. But in its report on the UKIP suspensions, the BBC headline referred to this simply as a “protest”.


As the Bookseller reported, attackers abused Bookmarks staff. They threw books and trashed displays whilst “chanting racist and fascist slogans”. One “wore a Donald Trump mask” and several wore baseball hats with “Make Britain Great Again” slogans. Noel Halifax, who works at Bookmarks, told the Bookseller:

it was unnerving. They were saying things like, ‘We know where you are, I hope you burn down, we’re going to come back again.’ You think ‘oh my god…’ If you know the history of alt-right groups, the historical resonance is chilling.

But on 7 August, the BBC ran this headline:

“Frankenstein’s monster”

Criticism against the BBC for “legitimising right-wing extremists” is growing. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s frequent appearances on BBC‘s Question Time have also drawn criticism.

Tottenham MP David Lammy called UKIP “BBC’s Frankenstein’s monster”:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The BBC headline caused outrage:


The BBC headline downplays the severity of this attack. As Bookmarks manager David Gilchrist wrote in the Guardian:

This was a group of so-called alt-right protesters who decided that a socialist bookshop, which stocks radical literature and working-class history titles and provides stalls for national trade union conferences, was a legitimate target for violence.

Gilchrist has also pointed out:

The Nazis targeted books because they knew how important radical ideas are for challenging racism and fascism. The same is true today…

As shadow chancellor John McDonnell stated, the bookshop violence is part of a wider trend:

But as far-right extremism grows, resistance is rising. And part of this resistance is to call out the BBC. The word ‘protest’ runs the risk of normalising what is, without doubt, a violent far-right attack. We need to challenge the way it reports on such vital issues.

Enough is enough.

Get Involved!

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via tara hunt/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed