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The Morning Star

The Morning Star

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The Morning Star is a left wing British daily tabloid newspaper with a focus on social and trade union issues. Articles and comment columns are contributed by writers from socialist, social democratic, green and religious perspectives.

The newspaper was founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker, the organ of the Communist Party of Great Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain
The Communist Party of Great Britain was the largest communist party in Great Britain, although it never became a mass party like those in France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991.-Formation:...

. It was relaunched as the Morning Star in 1966. Since 1945, it has been owned by the People's Press Printing Society
People's Press Printing Society
The People's Press Printing Society is a readers' co-operative to own and publish a left-wing, British, daily newspaper Daily Worker, known as The Morning Star from 1966...

 whose policy is that Britain's Road to Socialism
Britain's Road to Socialism
Britain's Road to Socialism is the programme of the Communist Party of Britain and is adhered to by the Young Communist League and the editors of the The Morning Star...

, the programme of the Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Britain
The Communist Party of Britain is a communist political party in Great Britain. Although founded in 1988 it traces its origins back to 1920 and the Communist Party of Great Britain, and claims the legacy of that party and its most influential members Harry Pollitt and John Gollan as its...

, underlies the paper's editorial stance.

The Daily Worker (1930–1966)


The Morning Star was founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker, the organ Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain
The Communist Party of Great Britain was the largest communist party in Great Britain, although it never became a mass party like those in France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991.-Formation:...

. The first edition was produced on 1 January 1930 from the offices of the newspaper in Tabernacle Street, London by eight Party members including Kay Beauchamp
Kay Beauchamp
Kay Beauchamp was a leading light in the Communist Party of Great Britain in the 1920s. She helped found the Daily Worker and was a local councillor in Finsbury.-Biography:...

. In January 1934 The Daily Workers offices moved to Cayton Street off the City Road. On 1 October 1935, the first eight page Daily Worker was produced.

The paper criticised Sir Walter Citrine
Walter Citrine, 1st Baron Citrine
Walter McLennan Citrine, 1st Baron Citrine, GBE, PC was a British trade unionist and politician....

 after a Paris meeting with French Labour Minister Charles Pomaret in December, 1939. Time said of the events following the meeting, "Minister Pomaret clamped down on French labour with a set of drastic wage-&-hour decrees and Sir Walter Citrine agreed to a proposal by Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir John Simon that pay rises in Britain be stopped"

Citrine sued the Daily Worker for libel after it accused him and his associates of "plotting with the French Citrines to bring millions of Anglo-French Trade Unionists behind the Anglo-French imperialist war machine"; the publisher pleaded the British press equivalent of 'fair comment'. Citrine alleged, in response to his lawyer's questioning, that the Daily Worker received £2000 pounds per month from "Moscow", and that Moscow directed the paper to print anti-war stories.

On 3 September 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 spoke to the nation on the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, at which time he announced the formal declaration of war between Britain and Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. Backed by his political ally, Party General Secretary Harry Pollitt
Harry Pollitt
Harry Pollitt was the head of the trade union department of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the General Secretary of the party for more than 20 years.- Early life :...

, Daily Worker editor J. R. Campbell
John Ross Campbell
John Ross "Johnny" Campbell , best known as "J.R. Campbell," was a British communist activist and newspaper editor. Campbell is best remembered as the principal in the so-called Campbell Case...

 sought to portray the conflict against Hitler as a continuation of the anti-fascist fight. This went against the Comintern
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

 position, which became CPGB policy on 3 October, that the war was a struggle between rival imperialist powers, and Campbell was removed as editor as a result. It responded to the assassination of Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 by a Stalinist agent with an article on 23 August 1940 entitled "A Counter Revolutionary Gangster Passes", written by former editor Campbell.

Because of its pro-Soviet position during the war, the Daily Worker was suppressed by the wartime coalition's (Labour) Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison
Herbert Morrison
Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.-Early life:Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in...

, between 21 January 1941 and 7 September 1942, when the ban was lifted following a campaign supported by Hewlett Johnson
Hewlett Johnson
The Very Reverend Hewlett Johnson , was an English clergyman, Dean of Manchester and later Dean of Canterbury, where he acquired his nickname The Red Dean of Canterbury for his unyielding support for the Soviet Union and its allies.-Life:Born in Manchester, the third son of Charles Johnson, a wire...

, the Dean of Canterbury
Dean of Canterbury
The Dean of Canterbury is the head of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury, England. The office of dean originated after the English Reformation, and its precursor office was the prior of the cathedral-monastery...

, and Professor J. B. S. Haldane
J. B. S. Haldane
John Burdon Sanderson Haldane FRS , known as Jack , was a British-born geneticist and evolutionary biologist. A staunch Marxist, he was critical of Britain's role in the Suez Crisis, and chose to leave Oxford and moved to India and became an Indian citizen...

. A "Lift the ban" conference at Central hall, Westminster on 21 March 1942 was attended by over 2,000 delegates. A key part of the campaign was to secure Labour Party support (Herbert Morrison was a fierce opponent of the Daily Worker). On 26 May 1942, after a heated debate, the Labour Party carried a resolution declaring the Government must lift the ban on the Daily Worker. During the ban the Daily Worker offices at Cayton Street were totally destroyed by fire during The Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 on 16 April 1941. The paper moved temporarily in 1942 to the former Caledonian Press offices in Swinton Street (from where the old Communist Party Sunday Worker edited by William Paul had been printed from 15 March 1925 until 1929). In 1945 new offices were acquired at a former brush makers warehouse at 75 Farringdon Road, London EC1 for the sum of £48,000. A Scottish edition of the Daily Worker was produced from its plant in Glasgow starting on 11 November 1940.

Since September 1945 the paper has been owned and published by a readers' co-operative, the People's Press Printing Society
People's Press Printing Society
The People's Press Printing Society is a readers' co-operative to own and publish a left-wing, British, daily newspaper Daily Worker, known as The Morning Star from 1966...

, which operates on a one-vote-per-shareholder basis.

The last edition of the Daily Worker came out on Saturday 23 April 1966, being re-launched as the Morning Star, the first edition of which appeared the following Monday, 25 April 1966. An editorial in the final issue declared:
"On Monday this newspaper takes its greatest step forward for many years. It will be larger, it will be better and it will have a new name.... During its 36 years of life our paper has stood for all that is best in British working-class and Socialist journalism. It has established a reputation for honesty, courage and integrity. It has defended trade unionists, tenants, pensioners. It has consistently stood for peace. It has always shown the need for Socialism. Let all Britain see the Morning Star, the inheritor of a great tradition and the herald of a greater future".

The Morning Star (1966 to present)


The paper supported the National Union of Mineworkers during the miners' strike of 1984–1985
UK miners' strike (1984–1985)
The UK miners' strike was a major industrial action affecting the British coal industry. It was a defining moment in British industrial relations, and its defeat significantly weakened the British trades union movement...

, and it still campaigns for the coal industry to be rebuilt. It adopts the phrase "clean coal
Clean coal technology
Clean coal technology is a collection of technologies being developed to reduce the environmental impact of coal energy generation. When coal is used as a fuel source, the gaseous emmissions generated by the thermal decomposition of the coal, include sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon...

" to emphasise that the environmental impact of mining must be taken into account. The 2006 energy review by the Blair administration
Premiership of Tony Blair
The Premiership of Tony Blair began on 2 May 1997 and ended on 27 June 2007. While serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Blair concurrently served as the First Lord of the Treasury, the Minister for the Civil Service, the Leader of the Labour Party , and a Member of Parliament for the...

 was criticised for not giving enough consideration to clean coal energy.

On international issues the paper advocates a "two-state" solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

 to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

 and calls for Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

. It was the only daily paper in Britain to oppose the Kosovo War
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

, denouncing North Atlantic Treaty Organization military intervention, and consistently defended Serbian President Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

, according to other far-left publications. It opposed the Iraq War .

On Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 the paper takes a pro-Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism manifests itself in political and social movements and in sentiment inspired by a love for Irish culture, language and history, and as a sense of pride in Ireland and in the Irish people...

 line. News reports from Northern Ireland are described as "By Our Foreign Desk".

Online version


An online version of the paper was launched on 1 April 2004. Initially only some parts of the site were free, including a PDF of the paper's front page, the editorial "Star Comment" and all the articles from the culture and sports pages, while features and the actual news were subscription only. On 1 January 2009 this policy was changed, and now all content is freely available online.

Editorial policy


Successive annual general meetings of the People's Press Printing Society have agreed that the policy of the paper is founded on Britain's Road to Socialism
Britain's Road to Socialism
Britain's Road to Socialism is the programme of the Communist Party of Britain and is adhered to by the Young Communist League and the editors of the The Morning Star...

, the programme of the Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Britain
The Communist Party of Britain is a communist political party in Great Britain. Although founded in 1988 it traces its origins back to 1920 and the Communist Party of Great Britain, and claims the legacy of that party and its most influential members Harry Pollitt and John Gollan as its...

.
However, despite this relationship with the CPB, features are contributed by writers from a variety of socialist, social democratic
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

, green
Green politics
Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

 and religious perspectives.

Generally, the paper supports peace and socialism. It is Eurosceptic
Euroscepticism
Euroscepticism is a general term used to describe criticism of the European Union , and opposition to the process of European integration, existing throughout the political spectrum. Traditionally, the main source of euroscepticism has been the notion that integration weakens the nation state...

 and supported the No2EU platform in the 2009 European Parliament election
European Parliament election, 2009
Elections to the European Parliament were held in the 27 member states of the European Union between 4 and 7 June 2009. A total of 736 Members of the European Parliament were elected to represent some 500 million Europeans, making these the biggest trans-national elections in history...

. It is critical of the upper or ruling classes. It defends peaceful protests and civil disobedience and industrial action by workers to improve working conditions and wages. The Morning Star is concerned with environmental issues and supports environment campaigning groups; it advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament. In elections the paper endorses the Communist Party of Britain; where the CPB is not standing, the paper advocates a vote for the Labour Party.

In the first years of the tweny-first century the paper has carries contributions from Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement.A member of the Irgun as a teenager, Avnery sat in the Knesset from 1965–74 and 1979–81...

, Neil Clark, John Pilger
John Pilger
John Richard Pilger is an Australian journalist and documentary maker, based in London. He has twice won Britain's Journalist of the Year Award, and his documentaries have received academy awards in Britain and the US....

, John Wight, ex-Mayor of London
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is an elected politician who, along with the London Assembly of 25 members, is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London. Conservative Boris Johnson has held the position since 4 May 2008...

 Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone
Kenneth Robert "Ken" Livingstone is an English politician who is currently a member of the centrist to centre-left Labour Party...

, Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 MPs
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Bernard Corbyn is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Islington North since 1983.-Early and personal life:...

 and John McDonnell
John McDonnell (politician)
John Martin McDonnell is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington since 1997; he serves as Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Labour Representation Committee, and the "Public Services Not Private Profit Group"...

, former MPs Alan Simpson and George Galloway
George Galloway
George Galloway is a British politician, author, journalist and broadcaster who was a Member of Parliament from 1987 to 2010. He was formerly an MP for the Labour Party, first for Glasgow Hillhead and later for Glasgow Kelvin, before his expulsion from the party in October 2003, the same year...

, and the cartoonist Martin Rowson
Martin Rowson
Martin George Edmund Rowson is a British cartoonist and novelist. His genre is political satire and his style is scathing and graphic. His work frequently appears in The Guardian and The Independent...

. It has also published articles by Green
Green Party of England and Wales
The Green Party of England and Wales is a political party in England and Wales which follows the traditions of Green politics and maintains a strong commitment to social progressivism. It is the largest Green party in the United Kingdom, containing within it various regional divisions including...

 MP Caroline Lucas
Caroline Lucas
Caroline Patricia Lucas is a British politician. Lucas is the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, and the Green Party's first and only Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom...

 and Green activist Derek Wall
Derek Wall
Derek Wall is an English politician and member of the Green Party of England and Wales. Formerly the party's Principal Speaker, he is known as a prominent ecosocialist, campaigning both for environmentalism and socialism. Alongside his political role, Wall is an academic and a writer, having...

.

According to John Haylett:
" ... We have articles from people that at one time we would never have given the time of day to – like the Welsh and Scottish Nationalists, the Greens, and regular contributions from church people ... [but] ... things that happened in the Soviet Union 70 years ago are still being used as a stick to beat the Morning Star."".

Finances and circulation


The Morning Star carries little commercial advertising, with low advertising rates, and the cover price does not cover print and distribution. Consequently the paper has always been dependent on donations by activists, readers and organisations such as trade unions. The paper relies on its "Star Fund" appeal (monthly target £16,000). In its past, the paper received subsidy from the Soviet Union in the form of bulk orders.

In March 2005, BBC News Magazine reported the Morning Stars circulation as between 13,000 and 14,000, quoting John Haylett's comment "perhaps only one in 10 of these readers would label themselves as communists", whilst later in August 2006, The Guardian reported the print run to be "around 25,000".

In 1981, its circulation had been about 36,000 (down from the Daily Worker's 1947 peak of 122,000).

During the early morning of 28 July 2008, the offices of the newspaper were damaged by fire, and the edition of 29 July took a reduced form.

On 1 June 2009, the Morning Star was re-launched. The re-launch included a 16-page edition during the week, and a 24-page weekend edition. There was also an expanded use of colour pictures and graphics, plus a redesign and a modern layout of the pages. The Morning Star also redesigned its website. In addition a number of new and experienced journalists were engaged and the positions of full-time Industrial Correspondent and Lobby Correspondent in the House of Commons were reintroduced.

The Morning Star has also taken a much higher profile at trade union gatherings and within the UK trade union movement, notably with unions such as Unite
Unite the Union
Unite – the Union, known as Unite, is a British and Irish trade union, formed on 1 May 2007, by the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers' Union...

, GMB, and RMT
RMT
RMT is an abbreviation for:*Regie voor Maritiem Transport, Belgian, state owned ferry company.*National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, a United Kingdom trade union*Real-money trading, a type of virtual economy...

. The newspaper has a high profile as such events as the Durham Miners Gala. Since 2008 the Morning Star has hired exhibition space at the Trades Union Congress
Trades Union Congress
The Trades Union Congress is a national trade union centre, a federation of trade unions in the United Kingdom, representing the majority of trade unions...

, with sponsored copies being handed out to delegates and a special deal with a large independent newsagent Martin McColl to provide copies of the paper at half the cover price for a limited period for delegates who opted for home delivery of the newspaper.

Staff


On 1 January 2009, Bill Benfield took over as editor of the Morning Star. John Haylett, who had been editor since 1995, took up the post of political editor. Bill Benfield had previously been deputy editor and head of production.

Editors

1930: William Rust
1933: Jimmy Shields
Jimmy Shields (journalist)
Jimmy Shields was a British communist activist and newspaper editor.Born in Greenock, Shields joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1921. Out of work, he moved to South Africa in 1925, where he joined the Communist Party of South Africa, becoming its General Secretary within months...

1935: Idris Cox
Idris Cox
Idris Cox was a Welsh communist activist and newspaper editor.Born in Maesteg, Cox grew up in Cwmfelin, where he worked in a coal mine from a young age...

1936: Rajani Palme Dutt
Rajani Palme Dutt
Rajani Palme Dutt , best known as R. Palme Dutt, was a leading journalist and theoretician in the Communist Party of Great Britain.-Early years:...

1938: Dave Springhall
Dave Springhall
Douglas Frank Springhall , known as Dave Springhall, was a British communist activist.Born in Kensal Green, Springhall joined the Royal Navy at the age of fifteen...

1939: John Ross Campbell
John Ross Campbell
John Ross "Johnny" Campbell , best known as "J.R. Campbell," was a British communist activist and newspaper editor. Campbell is best remembered as the principal in the so-called Campbell Case...

1939: William Rust
1949: John Ross Campbell
John Ross Campbell
John Ross "Johnny" Campbell , best known as "J.R. Campbell," was a British communist activist and newspaper editor. Campbell is best remembered as the principal in the so-called Campbell Case...

1959: George Matthews
George Matthews (journalist)
George Matthews was a British communist activist and newspaper editor.Born to a wealthy family in Bedfordshire, Matthews studied agriculture at the University of Reading and joined the Labour Party. In 1938, he secretly joined the Communist Party of Great Britain , while retaining his Labour...

1974: Tony Chater
Tony Chater
Anthony P J "Tony" Chater is a former British newspaper editor and communist activist.Born in Northampton, Chater attended Northampton Town and County Grammar School, and joined the Communist Party of Great Britain whilst in the sixth form. Chater then studied at Queen Mary and Westfield College...

1995: John Haylett
2009: Bill Benfield

External links