Mr Christian Härtnagel
Lidl UK GmbH
19 Worple Road
14th June 2018
Dear Mr Härtnagel
An open letter concerning your promotion in the Daily Mail
I write with regard to Lidl’s promotion on the front page of the Daily Mail today.
Your promotion appears above a headline describing the protests against the visit of Donald Trump to the UK as a ‘mob’ in the pay of Jeremy Corbyn, even though the demonstration of 100,000 people in London was peaceful, was not a Labour Party event, and was necessitated by Donald Trump’s inhuman treatment of refugees, his degrading treatment of women, his racism, his threats of violence against his political opponents, and his public defence of modern American Nazis. Such language, designed to normalise far-right politics and to discredit its opponents, is not a one-off by the Daily Mail, and it its inconceivable that your company is unaware of it. Research by Majid Khosravinik, published in the Journal of Language and Politics in 2010, explores the depersonalising, dehumanising and objectifying language used by the Daily Mail to describe immigrants and asylum seekers between 1996 and 2006, while judges who questioned the legality of Brexit without parliamentary debate were dubbed ‘enemies of the people’ on its front page on 4th November 2016, and those who currently oppose the UK’s growing isolationism and racism are referred to as ‘moaners’ – slurs which, as Ian Kershaw points out in his book, The Hitler ‘Myth’, were used to discredit German opponents of Nazism in the 1930s. The effect of such hatred is very real. Rachel Sylvester reported in The Times on 12th June that a Conservative MP who was afraid to be named had voted in favour of the government’s Brexit bill because of death threats against his family, and that a former minister had described the UK as enduring ‘a reign of terror.’
The historic link between the Daily Mail and Nazism is also a matter of history. Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-1944, translated by Cameron and Stevens, records Viscount Rothermere’s confession to Hitler that he withdrew his paper’s support for Nazism, not on ideological grounds, but because his Jewish advertisers had threatened to withdraw their backing. I beg you to consider that to sponsor the Daily Mail is not the practice of a company which respects democracy or Western values, and to reconsider your advertising policy, the ethics of which must also feature in my shopping decisions.
BA, MA, PhD
Member, The Welsh Academy