Pagan Pride

Timble2

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Out of curiosity, did anyone go on this?

I was surprised to find out that there's still apparently extensive prejudice against pagans. I thought it was just sloppy tabloid journalism, and fundamentalists of all species who equated paganism with eating babies etc...

Alternative religions: Paganism and prejudice
A march in London yesterday demonstrated the enduring popularity of polytheistic faiths. But adherents continue to come up against ignorance and distrust
By Cahal Milmo
Published: 29 May 2006

Dressed in a green velvet coat and wearing a crown of ox-eye daisies over his emerald-dyed hair, Mike, a solicitor from Hertfordshire, was at pains to preserve his anonymity.

The lawyer was one of 700 people attending the Pagan Pride march in central London yesterday to demonstrate that the polytheistic faiths of ancient times are alive and well in Britain.

Paganism is now the eighth largest religious grouping in the UK with some 40,000 people selecting it as their faith, according to the 2001 census.

The Pagan Federation of Great Britain, which represents many of the faith groups from Wiccans to Druids, estimates the number of believers at between 50,000 and 200,000.

The Prison Service announced last year that pagan inmates would have the same rights to worship as adherents to Christianity, Islam or Judaism.

But for those attending the march - headed by a Jack in the Green, a walking antler-adorned bush representing the fertility and renewal of the Celtic season of Beltane - the pride was tempered by resentment of the prejudice and distrust that surrounds paganism.

An Essex schoolteacher was suspended from his post in 2000 when he revealed that he was a "witch" and coven member as well as the Pagan Federation's national youth manager.

Mike, who was watching his two young children dancing in a fountain at the heart of Russell Square to the beat of a band calling themselves the Pentacle Drummers, said: "I've been a pagan follower since university. It embraces the subjects we should really be concerned about - humanity's attitude to the Mother Earth we all come from.

"But if you walk into the office and say, 'Hey, I'm a pagan', they all assume you are a devil-worshipping baby killer. There is an enduring suspicion and distrust which, if it was directed at Hindus or Jews or Muslims, would probably be a criminal offence."

Dressed in a green velvet coat and wearing a crown of ox-eye daisies over his emerald-dyed hair, Mike, a solicitor from Hertfordshire, was at pains to preserve his anonymity.

The lawyer was one of 700 people attending the Pagan Pride march in central London yesterday to demonstrate that the polytheistic faiths of ancient times are alive and well in Britain.

Paganism is now the eighth largest religious grouping in the UK with some 40,000 people selecting it as their faith, according to the 2001 census.

The Pagan Federation of Great Britain, which represents many of the faith groups from Wiccans to Druids, estimates the number of believers at between 50,000 and 200,000.

The Prison Service announced last year that pagan inmates would have the same rights to worship as adherents to Christianity, Islam or Judaism.

But for those attending the march - headed by a Jack in the Green, a walking antler-adorned bush representing the fertility and renewal of the Celtic season of Beltane - the pride was tempered by resentment of the prejudice and distrust that surrounds paganism.
An Essex schoolteacher was suspended from his post in 2000 when he revealed that he was a "witch" and coven member as well as the Pagan Federation's national youth manager.

Mike, who was watching his two young children dancing in a fountain at the heart of Russell Square to the beat of a band calling themselves the Pentacle Drummers, said: "I've been a pagan follower since university. It embraces the subjects we should really be concerned about - humanity's attitude to the Mother Earth we all come from.

"But if you walk into the office and say, 'Hey, I'm a pagan', they all assume you are a devil-worshipping baby killer. There is an enduring suspicion and distrust which, if it was directed at Hindus or Jews or Muslims, would probably be a criminal offence."
 

ramonmercado

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"But if you walk into the office and say, 'Hey, I'm a pagan', they all assume you are a devil-worshipping baby killer. There is an enduring suspicion and distrust which, if it was directed at Hindus or Jews or Muslims, would probably be a criminal offence."
indeed and i wouldnt be surprised if the BNP started targetting pagans. i'm not a pagan, i'm an agnostic (a rather militant one) but i'd support these people against such prejudice. their religion is as valid as catholicism and certainly less harmful than "christian science" or jehovahs witnesses.
 

Graylien

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Some pagans love to feel persecuted, don't they? I suspect that if you walked into most offices and announced you were a pagan, no-one would bat an eyelid. (Although a few people might snigger a little.)

Surely paganism has never been more mainstream than it is now? Admittedly most people are probably unaware of the differences between 'proper' paganism and the general morass of 'alternative' belief systems which cluster under the New Age banner. But how many people would really think that Pagans eat babies?

And what's harmful about Christian Scientists, exactly?
 

zarathustraspake

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graylien said:
Some pagans love to feel persecuted, don't they? I suspect that if you walked into most offices and announced you were a pagan, no-one would bat an eyelid. (Although a few people might snigger a little.)
Speaking as a pagan, I agree with you entirely.

The pagan society of which I'm a member receives support and funding from my university's Student Union. We have an excellent relationship with the local Quaker group, several of our members recently appeared in a video art project on multi-faith outlooks that was supported by Artwork Wales, and we've never received any harassment whatsoever from the local Christians or anyone else.


But....oh wait, I'm channelling something....


....OMGZ 9 MILL10NZ OV MY ANCESTERZ WOZ K1LLED TO DETH BY TEH XTIANZ IN TEH BURNING TIMEZ!!!!!!!!! OMG WTF OMG!!!!!!
 
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ramonmercado said:
indeed and i wouldnt be surprised if the BNP started targetting pagans. i/quote]

I would. Lots of groups on the Right are strongly into the whole blood-and-soil thing and a bit on the anti-Christian side.
 

Jerry_B

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And IIRC quite alot of modern paganism has it's roots in Nazi attempts to sideline the major religions in pre-WWII Germany...
 

zarathustraspake

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Jerry_B said:
And IIRC quite alot of modern paganism has it's roots in Nazi attempts to sideline the major religions in pre-WWII Germany...
Though it should be pointed out that of all the pagans I know, I don't know a single one who has far-right political views. By and large, they seem to represent a fairly even spread of viewpoints - I know pagans who are Greens, Lib Dems, Labour supporters and Tories. I've yet to meet a pagan who supports the BNP or National Front.
 

ramonmercado

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vapidness said:
ramonmercado said:
indeed and i wouldnt be surprised if the BNP started targetting pagans. i/quote]

I would. Lots of groups on the Right are strongly into the whole blood-and-soil thing and a bit on the anti-Christian side.
the BNP trades on being Christian, it the fringe Nazis who are into Valhalla.
 
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Anonymous

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ramonmercado said:
vapidness said:
ramonmercado said:
indeed and i wouldnt be surprised if the BNP started targetting pagans. i/quote]

I would. Lots of groups on the Right are strongly into the whole blood-and-soil thing and a bit on the anti-Christian side.
the BNP trades on being Christian, it the fringe Nazis who are into Valhalla.
Well, from the cached-by-Google version of one of the BNP's pages (the BNP page refuses my connection);

I make these last remarks to all the Christian readers and in all honesty, quietly and respectfully, ask you to consider the words of this article and I wish upon you blessings and peace.


Let there be no enmity between us brother, sister. There is no need for it. It makes me so sad and if some of you will not consider returning to the ways of our ancestors then take my hand just the same and work with me in peace as we all strive for the return of pride to the individual nations of our peoples. In this, my ancestral-pagan wish as I worship the Creator of all, I who have embraced the religion of our fore fathers, do I not have the same love and goodness of intent as my Christian brothers and sisters? I do and therefore strive not with me if you be one of those who will not revert to your ancestral ways in the matter of religion and let us work together for a proud future.
If the BNP site http://www.bnp.org.uk/columnists/catgrams2.php?noelleId=32
doesn't refuse your connection, you can read it for yourself. Doesn't look very anti-pagan to me...
 
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Anonymous

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I am told by a young goth metal guy that Odinism in mainland europe has and is associated with far right movements. I find this very sad, as a half Norwegian who loves the old myths, that people have taken the 'heavy' warrior image, the end times etc and weaved it into some neo-arrian fantasy. Pathetic. This is clearly not indicative of all pagans or north european beliefs, however, it just goes to show (if true) how just about any philosophy can be extended to the extreme ends of the spectrum.
 

ramonmercado

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a few pro christian articles here:
http://www.bnp.org.uk/policies/article_list.htm

this is from their 2006 Manifesto
"We will press for the preservation or reintroduction of morning assemblies based on Christian worship, in order to ensure that children are not cut off from our religious and cultural heritage, and learn about traditional British values.
"
www.bnp.org.uk/elections/elections2004/ ... 004_10.htm


2005 BNP Manifesto
"9. In order to make it clear that the “celebration of diversity” is something in which the native peoples of our islands can share, each of our traditional Saints Days would be made Public Holidays in the nations in question, with Trafalgar Day being an additional Public Holiday throughout the entire UK."
http://www.bnp.org.uk/candidates2005/ma ... /manf4.htm

2005 BNP Manifesto
"6. We will ensure that appropriate areas of public life, including school assemblies, are based on a commitment to the values of traditional Westernised Christianity. Levels of religiosity have always fluctuated in Britain, and while our great inheritance of cathedrals, churches and liturgies has less resonance with the broad mass of the population at present, the wheel of faith will one day turn again and they will be fully valued once more. "
http://www.bnp.org.uk/candidates2005/ma ... /manf5.htm

i think the columnist was expressing a ppersonal opinion. the BNP policies do seem to favour christians.
 
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ramonmercado said:
a few pro christian articles here:
http://www.bnp.org.uk/policies/article_list.htm


i think the columnist was expressing a ppersonal opinion. the BNP policies do seem to favour christians.
Yes, i'm not saying that they don't, just that they're not about to start persecuting a significant section of their support, the folk who go out and do the footwork, so to speak. The BNP aren't about to go publishing pro-pagan material on their site if it goes against what the leadership want- they're not that kind of party.

I agree with Timble- it is sad that a proportion of pagans are inclined this way. However, I would suspect that their practice would either be fairly ineffective, or prone to rebound, as a lot of the entities involved don't seem to take kindly to being ordered around in the manner in which far right pagans are wont to do.

Also, just because some nazis are pagans, and therefore, at least some pagans are nazis, it certainly doesn't follow that most pagans are that way inclined. In the same way as right-wing music has a subculture, away from most music venues etc, pagan nazis don't seem to come into contact with mainstream pagans too often, or at least, they seem to keep their views to themselves when mixing with others. If anyone has experience to the contrary, it'd be good to hear of it.

(edit)- I mean it would be appreciated if someone could relate their story of having come across such people at pagan groups or meetings, (blood and soil black metallers excepted, as they are, unfortunately, quite easy to find). Obviously it would not be good to hear about there actually being right wing folk in pagan groups (slaps both brow and wrist at not having made sure that what I write is clear to people not living in my head...) Like other folk have mentioned, far right folk seem fairly rare outside of their obscure seidr-mangling groups. Which, as far as I am concerned, is groovy. That is, it is groovy that they are rare. Not that they have seidr-mangling groups. Bugger. Another slap. (/edit)
 

Jerry_B

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zarathustraspake said:
Though it should be pointed out that of all the pagans I know, I don't know a single one who has far-right political views. By and large, they seem to represent a fairly even spread of viewpoints - I know pagans who are Greens, Lib Dems, Labour supporters and Tories. I've yet to meet a pagan who supports the BNP or National Front.
That I don't doubt. I was pointing out some of the roots that the modern pagan movement has.
 

ramonmercado

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i really think the Norse Pagan tradition should be reclaimed! take it back off the nazis!
 

Jerry_B

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That all depends on whether that 'tradition' would be something the Norse pagans would have at all recognised ;)
 

ramonmercado

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Ok then, lets just reclaim Thor & Loki & Odin as we know them from Marvel Comics!
 

zarathustraspake

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ramonmercado said:
i really think the Norse Pagan tradition should be reclaimed! take it back off the nazis!

I've met a few Norse pagans. To my knowledge, none of them are Nazis.

I may be beginning to sound as touchy as the people in the "Pagan Pride" article at the beginning of this thread, but I really would like to emphasise that far-right views are not widespread within the contemporary neo-pagan movement. One can criticise neo-paganism for a lot of things (and even though I'm a pagan myself, I agree with some of the criticisms, particularly when it comes to spurious historical claims). However, one thing that the mainstream neo-pagan movement is emphatically not is a breeding ground for fascism.

I've never met a neo-pagan with far-right views (though I've met one who was a bit of a Thatcherite) and never attended a pagan event where such views would have been considered acceptable.
 

ramonmercado

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oops! I wasnt saying that Norse Pagans are nazzis. I meant that the Norse Pagan Tradition had been to some extent hijacked by nazis.
 

ramonmercado

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oops! I wasnt saying that Norse Pagans are nazzis. I meant that the Norse Pagan Tradition had been to some extent hijacked by nazis.
 
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Anonymous

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As a norseman myself, I find the hijacking quite sad. As I understand the situation, the far right views of norse paganism seem to be in Germany and what is now called 'central' europe. I have no ideas of numbers or if their philosophy/politics extends to more than a few songs and drunken rants, or if there is an 'organisation' behind it. From my travels, I have noticed that much of the english sensitivity to 'various issues' is not seen in quite the same light 'abroad'. However, I like the idea of the marvelesque Thor and Loki!! Reclaim Now. :D
 

miss_scarlet

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I gave a talk, on paganism, at a multi faith service held for world Aids day a few years ago.
At that time I was a regional co-ordinator for the Pagan Federation and a founder of the silver dawn pagan moot. This moot boasted over 200 members despite being in a very small town.
The negative response received was very small and only from a handful of people who felt threatened mearly because of a lack of knowledge of the subject, (reinforced by having the little of their knowledge gained from the mass media.)
After the service finished many of these people came and thanked me for the talk and have since joined our local inter faith group.
The hidden aspect of many groups underneath the pagan umberella is surley one of many active reasons for some of the lingering distrust.
A wonderful little nun at a historic church on my street now gives talks on labyrinths and James Lovelocks' Gaia.
Becoming vocal and loosing the fear about being myself and retaining a sence of acceptance for others has prevented anti pagan negativity coming my way, whereas 10 years ago or so, I was still being hounded by Christian fundamentalists threatening to burn me at the stake to cleanse my soul and release me from the white light Satan had obviously blinded me with... :?:
Whatever!!!
(Thankfully this hasnt happened for a while.)
But the one lesson I have learnt is that Truth is often too precious a gift to waste on any fool that would ask for it.
A person so absorbed by there own belief so much so that another persons faith is a threat to them is not going to see.
Jesus made a blind man see but I dont have the miracle working gift alas.

Depending on a persons level of acceptance of others denotes how I describe myself
Witch,
Pagan,
Alternative therapist or...
"thats a really personal question and none of your business" lol

After the Silver Dawn moot had been running for a while we decided to hold a conference. We had talks, enactments, stalls and music at the town hall, an display of art work at the local library literally just up the road and the pub inbetween where we held our moots was open all day hosting bands, mamas plays a healing circle and general merriment.
The media attention was fabulous and since then weve had TV crews attend our rituals on the beach and always with a very positive view point apon what we do. Having chosen to be open and share was a very positive move.
So felt I should share the positive response we received...
 

Graylien

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10 years ago or so, I was still being hounded by Christian fundamentalists threatening to burn me at the stake.
What - literally?
 

miss_scarlet

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Dont think they were brave enough to do it, obviously. I worked in a shop selling occult type items at the time so it wasnt unheard of. The less aggresive members of their group would just kneel and pray for us....
 

MrRING

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We had a Georgia congressman a few years ago(BOB BARR) who tried to remove military recognition for pagans in the military:
The Latest Sniping by Bob Barr: Proof that Sanity Does Not Sell.

Columbia, MD - May 20, 2004: In 1999, there was an unprecedented attack against military Pagans by Congressman Bob Barr of the 7th District in Georgia. The logic behind this attack was that our existence in the military was a threat the good order and discipline of the entire United States Armed Services. The Congressman jumped to this conclusion after viewing one story that originated from the Austin-American Statesman covering the Beltane observances by military Pagans stationed on the Fort Hood Army base. His ignorance of contemporary Paganism was overshadowed only by his willingness to publicly decry his dubious wisdom in this matter.

Bar demanded that the Pentagon ban the Heathens. He called for “an end to the tax payer-supported practice of witchcraft on military bases.” “What’s next?” he asked. “Will armored divisions be forced to travel with sacrificial animals for satanic rituals? Will Rastafarians demand the inclusion of ritualistic marijuana cigarettes in their rations?” qtd by Haught June 1999.

Twice, Barr and his supporters attempted to legislate against religious accommodations for military Pagans, and both attempts failed.
He seemed to be in complete ignorance of Katcoff v. Marsh and the inevitable threat this posed to the Chaplain’s Corps if his anti-Pagan legislation passed.

Barr is no longer a Congressman; he is currently a columnist for United Press International, though ironically he is also a consultant on privacy laws for the American Civil Liberty Unions. In May of 2004 Bob Barr launched another attack against military Pagans. Actually it was an attack against the administration of the military in which he attempted to use military Pagans as his blunt, weapon of choice. The Washington Times printed a rant by Barr that attacks the military brass and the Bush administration for the abuses of Iraqi Prisoners of War. He claims that the hedonism depicted on national television conditions Americans to be depraved and indifferent. That the American media glorifies rape, and that we should not be surprised when our young soldiers emulate that act overseas. Then he points the finger at the administration, the military leadership, military Pagans, and homosexuals.

If our military leaders, stateside and in overseas operations, were concerned more with discipline and good order than political correctness and tolerance, perhaps we would at least have a reasonable shot at preventing or severely curtailing those MPs’ behavior. However, in the modern, 21st century military, in which the practice of Wicca or witchcraft is tolerated, accepted and protected as a bonafide religion, and in which “don’t ask don’t tell” is the watchword of the day, we haven’t a chance. Barr May 2004
More about Barr HERE
 

Leaferne

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People do love to put up a straw man and/or 'thin edge of the wedge' argument, similar to opponents of gay marriage saying it would open up the doors to legal polygamy, marriage with animals etc. :wtf:
 

rynner2

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PAGANS PELTED WITH SALT DURING PARADE

MARK CLOUGH

11:00 - 06 November 2006
People have grown used to the unexpected in Glastonbury - the mystical centre of Britain - but nobody could have been prepared for the sight of young Catholic pilgrims hurling salt at local pagans in order to "cleanse" them from the town.The town has a reputation for being a place where people of all kinds of beliefs get along in peaceful co-existence.

But the spell was well and truly broken during a procession organised to mark the 467th anniversary of the beheading of Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, and fellow martyrs.

The aftermath saw police arrest one youth for a public order offence, for which he was issued with a fixed penalty notice.

And two women were given cautions and warned about their future conduct.

During what was no doubt an emotionally charged occasion, members of Youth 2000 - an organisation for young Catholics - pelted pagans with salt and branded them as witches.

Much of the dissent focused on the pagan shop Magick Box, which was on the route of the march, which took place on the last weekend of October.

Owner Maya Pinder, a witch and member of the Pagan Federation, said that she was outraged by the abuse she and other staff received from the Christian teenagers, which she described as a return to the Dark Ages.

"We've had to hear comments such as 'Burn the witches', we've had salt thrown in our faces and at our shop - people were openly saying they were 'cleansing Glastonbury of the paganism'.

"It was as if we had returned to the Dark Ages.

"This is hugely damaging to Glastonbury, of which I would suggest two-thirds is pagan.

"It is hard enough to trade in Glastonbury as it is.

"If you were to take away the pagan element, it would be a dead town."

Mother-of-two Mrs Pinder, who has four grandchildren, and whose sister is an Anglican vicar in Essex, said she and other witches in the town had begun to work together to use magic to heal the damage caused by the attacks.

She said that there were no plans to put a curse on the Christians, but added: "We are doing protection for ourselves and the shop and the town.

"We are working magic for the healing and the damage they very nearly did between us and the local Roman Catholic Church."

The Archdruid of Glastonbury, Dreow Bennett, said that he was shocked by the attitude of the Catholic troublemakers.

"To call the behaviour of some of their members medieval would be an understatement," he said.

"I personally witnessed the owner of the Magick Box being confronted by one of their associates and being referred to as a bloody bitch and being told: 'You will burn in hell.'"

Youth 2000 was set up ten years ago to encourage a return to the traditional teachings of the Roman Catholic Church for young people.

Members of the group had been invited by Glastonbury's Roman Catholic priest Father Kevin Knox-Lecky, who said that such an invitation would not be repeated in the future.

Father Knox-Lecky blamed a large family for the abuse and said he was "very angry" over what had happened.

"A family appeared who we don't know, who were very destructive not only in the town and to the pagan community, but were also swearing at our parishioners as well."

He said the vast majority of Catholics taking part in the procession were well-behaved and respectful of the pagan community.

Charlie Conner, the managing director of Youth 2000, said: "Youth 2000 does not condone or encourage this kind of behaviour from anyone.

"We fully agree that differences on matters of faith cannot and should not be resolved by any kind of harassment."
http://tinyurl.com/v37pe
 

escargot

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Oh, right, throwing salt at people, well, that's not pagan or superstitious at all, is it. :lol:
 

Kondoru

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Id be a pagan myself if it wasnt for the horrid wishy washy bunny hugging image its got
 

zarathustraspake

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To be honest, that news article about Glastonbury sounds like a few hotheads on both sides getting themselves worked up, rather than any full-on "war" between Catholics and Pagans. I notice that both the local Catholic priest and the Catholic youth organisation involved have condemned the salt-chucking. The words "storm" and "teacup" spring to mind.
 

rynner2

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zarathustraspake said:
The words "storm" and "teacup" spring to mind.
Not if you were involved, I might humbly suggest.

And the report did not suggest a 'full-on "war" between Catholics and Pagans', or you could be sure the London media would have run with it too.
 
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