The North West Regional Committee meeting today (Friday 28th July) held a very packed meeting where they were given a superb presentation by Paul Collins of the Liverpool based Total Eclipse Of The Sun campaign.
Paul detailed the background to how the campaign got off the ground – a couple of Liverpool FC supporters having a pint in their local pub, and feeling total disgust, outrage and anger at the slanderous lies and false accusations that were printed in The Sun following the tragic events that had taken place at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989.
From there grew the idea of campaigning to stop The Sun from being bought in Liverpool and from there it grew to a massive campaign focusing on getting the tabloid banned from sale throughout Merseyside.
From their campaigning came support from the Liverpool City Council, Merseyrail and both of Liverpool’s football clubs, Liverpool FC and Everton FC; all of whom embodied the aims of the campaign and banned the sale or indeed free copies of The Sun from being on sale or otherwise made available to the public.
Indeed, such is the success of the campaign group that major retailers and smaller retailers across Merseyside have now refused to sell The Sun, which is making a big dent in the profits of Murdoch’s media group in the UK.
Public support for the campaign mushroomed from day one as further outrageous lies about those Liverpool fans who were at Hillsborough, and their families continued to be on the front pages of subsequent editions of the tabloid; focusing upon Liverpool fans ignoring the fact that some of the 96 people killed at the stadium were from other cities in the UK.
But following the Hillsborough Inquest and the publication of its report at the beginning of 2017, the whole nation got behind the people of Liverpool and all of the families of the 96 killed, as the Police cover-up and the part played by Kelvin McKenzie, the then editor of the paper; became publicly known in detail for the first time since the terrible preventative event took place on
Indeed earlier this month, in recognition of the work done by the Total Eclipse Of The Sun campaign group in ceaselessly campaigning for Murdoch’s paper to pay the price for their lies and vindictive reports over many years; fans of 70 Football Clubs decided to officially boycott the tabloid paper.
At this year’s annual Football Supporters Federation meeting on Sunday 2nd July, a motion calling for the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper to removed from sale in shops, supermarkets and other places of business up and down the country was passed without a single word against the proposal and passed unanimously!
Old rivalries were put on hold as clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea were among the 70 clubs committed to emulating the anti-sun paper campaign and get it banned in their cities too.
It is over 28 years since the tragedy, but with the passing of this motion Liverpool fans from all parts of the UK can now feel the warmth of support and acknowledgement from across football fandom of the criminal wrong-doing to the city and families of those who died.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo after the motion was passed, Roy Bentham, a member of Liverpool supporters group Spirit Of Shankly said:
"We are absolutely thrilled that the motion was passed and passed unanimously.
Usually a motion will create some debate or amendments, but this just passed straight through without a single delegate voting against it.
It means that all these fans groups up and down the country will now go and put pressure on their clubs to ban The S*n and to call on shopkeepers and vendors around the grounds to stop selling it."
Last season both Liverpool and Everton banned The Sun journalists from attending press conferences and entering their stadiums to report on games.
The CWU annual conference this year debated a motion of support for the Hillsborough victims in what was a silent and emotional conference hall as delegates from Merseyside branches spoke from their hearts about the injustice and needless deaths of the football fans that day at Hillsborough stadium.
Paul in his presentation to the Regional Committee thanked the union for it’s support both nationally and locally. The committee recognised the work done by the 5 core people involved over the years whose work has amassed the campaign thousands of supporters and resulted in a true national campaign.
Paul told the meeting about the ups and downs of the campaign and the attacks on them by the Murdoch’s and big business such as W H Smiths over the years and the intimidation of shops and retail outlets who were often forced to sell The Sun under threat of having their establishment removed from the delivery streams of the likes of Smiths, which provided all of the papers and magazines that brought in much needed money from their sales.
Major successes in Merseyside and the inclusion of Taxis advertising the campaign to boycott The Sun on the outside of their cabs; was highlighted by Paul during his presentation of the campaign.
Paul also provided some of the campaign resources available to anyone supporting the campaign and especially in advertising the aim and encouraging individuals not to buy The Sun.
These include stickers, badges, and large wheelie bin posters that can be stuck on the outside of the bins to show your neighbours and of course the bin men and women you are a supporter and are boycotting the paper.
Regional Secretary, Carl Webb, paid tribute to Paul and his colleagues work and pledged continued support by the Regional Committee for the campaign. Indeed all contributors following Paul’s presentation mirrored the tribute from Carl, with many applauding the fact that as Carl had said, the campaign was taking on the most powerful media business in the world – and winning!
The Regional Committee intend to campaign to ensure all Trade Unions follow the CWU as being the first Trade Union to stand up and support The Total Eclipse Of The Sun campaign group and get The Sun tabloid the gift it deserves: that of becoming as extinct as both the News Of The World and the Do-Do Bird!
To that end, Carl Webb tabled a proposition that he and Brian Kenny from the region’s Political Sub-committee, who had also tabled motion 84 at this year’s CWU Annual Conference on behalf of his Branch, the Mersey Branch; have produced.
This was unanimously endorsed by the Regional Committee, and will be submitted in the name of the CWU NW Region Committee to the forthcoming North West Labour Conference 2017 being held in Blackpool in November.
You can still watch the debate on Motion 84 at this year’s CWU Conference here:
Source: Total Eclipse of The Sun Campaign / Carl Webb / Football Supporter’s Federation / C Ingram