Mudslinging, barbs and little arrows

Leapy Lee

LET’s get one thing straight.
Anything printed in the Euro Weekly News – even the weather forecast or the lottery results – brings criticism from some quarter. That comes with the job description and is a risk taken by any company publishing, printing or airing an opinion.

We learnt that years ago and are so used to it that we have come to enjoy it, but the Euro Weekly has an additional problem. Victim of its own success, it must put up with sniping, carping, barbs and arrows from its ‘wannabe’ competitors.

Arrows? Yes. Of course: arrows. What a coincidence! That brings us to that arch-purveyor of arrows, Leapy Lee.

Before becoming a Euro Weekly News hit columnist he had a Number One hit with Little Arrows. He is still firing those arrows, not all of them little, in a column that the Euro Weekly News has published for the last 20 years.

His views are downright controversial and could be fairly described as incendiary, especially regarding race and religion.

It was no surprise that a local rag (for those not familiar with it, a wannabe second line bi-weekly English-language publication) should devote a self-righteous half-page of its latest edition to annihilating Leapy. The article is so peppered with his quotes, that it was obviously a cushy assignment for whoever supplied the text surrounding them.

This included laboured and predictable criticism of the Euro Weekly News’s owners and publishers for “giving him a platform to spout his repugnant views” and “giving Leapy the oxygen of publicity.”

Never mind that they have given him a nice big dose of publicity too, it’s all grist to the media mill.  Not everyone who reads the Euro Weekly News agrees with Leapy Lee’s views. He has as many detractors as fans but any person familiar with the newspaper’s postbag – especially those who do not share his opinions – are forced to admit that detractors are in a minority.

Curious to find out exactly how our readers feel about Leapy we have launched an online poll – which still has several days to run – asking readers if they love him or think he should go. Meanwhile, Euro Weekly News will continue to put its neck on the line in defending free speech, however high the cost.

Most of us assume it was Voltaire who said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

In fact, this is an approximation of Voltaire’s beliefs in a biography of the French writer, historian and philosopher by a Victorian writer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall. It doesn’t matter who said it: the sentiment is noble.  It was noble when it was first written, it is still noble and it will be noble tomorrow as well.

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