Slaves at the root of the fortune that created Richard Dawkins’ family estate – Telegraph

Slaves at the root of the fortune that created Richard Dawkins’ family estate – Telegraph.

Richard Dawkins and Long-Dead Ancestor, Henry Dawkins...

“The ancestors of Richard Dawkins, the atheist campaigner against superstition, intolerance and suffering, built their fortune using slaves, it has been revealed.” Daily Mail style Headlines from the Sunday Telegraph

For starters, none of us are responsible for the actions of others (aside from the children in our care and that is relinquished once they are 18) – least of all our long dead ancestors – any more than we are entitled to take personal credit for their innovations.  For The Telegraph to take this stance, they must have been REALLY desperate for something to print.  How on earth did this epitome of demagogic hackery get past the editor of a national broadsheet?  Were they asleep on the job?  I was aware of this article prior to it’s release, as many others who read the RDF website were, and he reported the aggressive and accusatory approach of the ‘news-gatherer‘.  If the Telegraph values it’s reputation at all, it will offer a front page apology to Proff. Dawkins (for this shameful attempt to slander his character) written by the journalist who wrote it, retract the article and discipline the editor.  The comments on the Telegraph article have been disabled.  I wonder why.  This is NOT an awkward truth.  He has done nothing wrong by being related to a property owner; one among hundreds who owned slaves nearly 300 years ago.  For people to arbitrarily declare that he personally owes an apology for historical events, is both crass and and parochial and indicative of a much bigger problem.

“Plantation owners were not the only customers who wanted to buy slaves. Many people in the cities of North America, including New York, Charleston and Providence in Rhode Island on the east coast, employed enslaved Africans as domestic servants, sailors and construction workers.” – Portcities Website, ‘Plantation owners’

Lets go through some of it shall we?

Before I start, I am by no means justifying the existence of slavery.  I find the idea of owning someone abhorrent – and the fact that it continues to this day, even more so.  What I aim to do in this post is clarify the events without applying a my 21st century ideals.

The first mistake that should be mentioned is the deliberate omission from popular history of where and how the slave merchants obtained their stocks.  European access to Africa was extremely limited.  Where colonies of British and European settlers existed, they were confined to a handful of  coastal areas of West Africa and solely at the pleasure of the African Tribal leaders.  Africa is a continent, not a single country, a fact which the ignorant (the writer of the article), seems blissfully unaware of.  The individual kingdoms had their own leaders, their own customs, and where European presence was met with hostility and deemed unwelcome, this was not the universal rule.  The neighbouring kingdoms also had their own conflicts and tensions, so when the Europeans came along they saw an opportunity to gain an advantage over their neighbours through trade.

“He has railed against the evils of religion, and lectured the world on the virtues of atheism.

Now Richard Dawkins, the secularist campaigner against “intolerance and suffering”, must face an awkward revelation: he is descended from slave owners and his family estate was bought with a fortune partly created by forced labour.” 

The mistake people commonly make is confusing simplicity for stupidity.  The second mistake is to apply modern standards, and impose modern motives to figures and events of the past.  The Africa of the 17th and 18th century was extremely simple in comparison with Europe but that does not make them ‘primitive’ or inferior.  As I said, each region had its own laws and customs.  One of those customs was to either kill or enslave criminals (all crimes were capital) and prisoners of war. If they had a harvest to collect, prisoners would be put to work, if not, they would execute them.  What the Europeans did was alter the equation.  The letters of Lieutenant John Matthews of the Royal navy provide first hand evidence (4), that the presence of European traders on the coast, willing to buy slaves, inspired some African leaders to lead raiding parties into other villages for sale to slave traders on the coast in exchange for gunpowder, weapons and other items which would add to their prestige and give them an advantage over their neighbours.  For those demanding monetary regress between the descendants of planters, traders and slaves are extremely remiss in their adamant claims that blame lies entirely at the feet of the planters and their descendents.

“One of his direct ancestors, Henry Dawkins, amassed such wealth that his family owned 1,013 slaves in Jamaica by the time of his death in 1744.” 

“The Dawkins family estate, consisting of 400 acres near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was bought at least in part with wealth amassed through sugar plantation and slave ownership.”

 The Beckford family (5) were also made extremely rich by their sugar plantations. In fact they were the richest family in England for the best part of 200 years.  They did not do what they did illegally.  At the time their actions were all legal and considered acceptable.  As did, the Dawkins family.

“Over Norton Park, inherited by Richard Dawkins’s father, remains in the family, with the campaigner as a shareholder and director of the associated business.”

“Professor Dawkins, the atheist evolutionary biologist and author of The Selfish Gene, claimed associating him with his slave-owning ancestors was “a smear tactic”.

“One of the most disagreeable verses of the Bible – amid strong competition – says the sins of the father shall be visited on the children until the third or fourth generation,” he said.”

Even if inherited sin was not a disgusting guilt-tactic cynically adopted by the early church to maintain fear and through fear, control, the fact that 6 generations have now passed, cannot have escaped the ‘reporter’s’ notice.  It holds individuals responsible for actions they could not have possibly had anything to do with and condemns infants to answer for, and somehow atone, for the sins of not only their parents but their grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents.  This so-called journalist has appointed himself judge in this instance and demanded, that Dawkins answer for the ‘crimes’ (I will reiterate, that owning slaves was a legal and common practice in the 18th century).

“In 2010 Richard Dawkins wrote an obituary for his father, describing how John Dawkins had inherited Over Norton Park from a distant cousin and how the estate, in the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty, had been in the family since the 1720s. He omitted, however, to mention how previous generations made their money.

And why should he have done?  What business is it of ours?  If it had been him, personally, owning slaves and profiting from their labour, we would probably be rightly shocked. It wasn’t him.  It was the 18th century and most of the wealthy landowning class, DID earn their money that way. It wasn’t shocking.

He quoted Scripture – disparagingly – to insist: “I condemn slavery with the utmost vehemence, but the fact that my remote ancestors may have been involved in it is nothing to do with me.

“One of the most disagreeable verses of the Bible – amid strong competition – says the sins of the father shall be visited on the children until the third or fourth generation.”

Audibly irritated, he added: “You need a genetics lecture. Do you realise that probably only about 1 in 512 of my genes come from Henry Dawkins?”

Well the reporter called his house (twice) and accused him of being guilty of enslaving a thousand people who died 3 centuries ago.  Who wouldn’t be ‘irritated’?  For the last time, Dawkins is NOT responsible for the actions of  his ancestors.

“”For goodness sake, William Wilberforce may have been a devout Christian, but slavery is sanctioned throughout the Bible.”

Richard Dawkins’ sister Sarah Kettlewell, 67, is thought still to live on the estate, which has a farm shop and pedigree cattle. According to Companies House records which list Professor Dawkins as a director, Over Norton Park Limited made a £12,000 profit last year.”

For those outside the UK, £12,000 is less than one person would earn on minimum wage in a year. And weren’t most people Christians and church-goers in the 18th century?

He insisted: “The estate is now a very small farm, struggling to make its way, and worth peanuts. The family fortune was frittered away in the 19th Century. Such money as I have is scarcely inherited at all.”

He earns his money from his work as a biologist, writer and public-speaking.  The little his family estate is worth or makes is shared among his other relations.  I fail to see a problem with this.  He’s doing nothing illegal.

He is now facing calls to apologise and make reparations for his family’s past.

Esther Stanford-Xosei, of Lewisham, south London, the co-vice chairman of the Pan-African Reparations Coalition in Europe, said: “There is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity.

“The words of the apology need to be backed by action. The most appropriate course would be for the family to fund an educational initiative telling the history of slavery and how it impacts on communities today, in terms of racism and fractured relationships.”

The revelations come after a difficult few days for the campaigner.”

Only due to the fact that few hacks in the media and (several in the cabinet), have been making claims that not only fly in the face of reason, but are completely devoid of truth.  Baroness Warsi, an unelected, token Muslim woman in the Conservative party, is not unknown for her spurious claims about non believers and has made no effort at all to listen when corrected.  Her comments, and Cameron’s,  about this country being ‘Christian’ and needing a resurgence of religious fervour is, in my view, a sinister distraction tactic.  I have little doubt that Cameron knows that his party is in trouble with public opinion.  He backed Osborne’s economic austerity measures and they have made the situation far worse and is now attempting a policy of divide and rule among believers and non-believers in order to retain favour with the white, male, business owners.  He has even put in plans to force people on JSA to work for nothing, or risk losing the £53 per week they live on now.

To add inventive this scheme, big companies are also exempt from offering any of the benefits or rights that their other employees have (including minimum wage).  The only thing that will do is allow businesses to take on unpaid temporary staff on a continual stream and avoid paying contracted staff overtime.  The only people who actually gain are the board members and the shareholders.  While slavery is being brought back by stealth and Cameron systematically dehumanises the poorest of the British public, the trash-news aided and abetted by the Telegraph find it prudent to publish the family history of a specific prominent figure who speaks out against religious privilege in an attempt to deprive him of support.  It doesn’t bode well…

On Tuesday 14 February, some critics branded him “an embarrassment to atheism” after what many listeners considered a humiliation in a Radio 4 debate with Giles Fraser, formerly Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, in which the professor boasted he could recite the full title of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, then when challenged, dithered and said: “Oh God.”

Critics of the movement have always found an easy target in the shape of  Professor Dawkins and other outspoken atheists, viewing any opposition or contradiction to their beliefs as the height of rudeness.  The only thing we can do as a movement is to continue to push back and hold our ground.  It’s worrying enough that the British PM has begun pushing his Christianity and encouraging others to push theirs while complaining they are being marginalised by equality laws, but how long will it be before non-believers are more stringently penalised?  Our tax-funded faith schools already have the right to exclude the children of non-believers.  Let me make one thing quite clear, preventing one group of people from discriminating against another does NOT under any stretch of the imagination, amount to oppression, marginalisation, or persecution.  It amounts to fairness, where all people have equal rights under the law, without exception or privilege.

From the sublime to the ridiculous…

It gets worse.  On the 14th of February The Telegraph published and article applauding a former cleric and ‘Thought for the Day’ know-it-all, for rendering Professor Dawkins ‘speechless’ when he could not roll of the top of his tongue, the full title of Charles Darwin’s (going to be the name of my 3rd child if I have a third) ‘Origin of Species’.  It’s ‘On the Origin of Species by Process of Natural Selection‘ but as most copies are printed with the shortened title, including mine, it’s not surprising that most people don’t know it.  The fatuous challenge was issued after Dawkins pointed out that most people who call themselves Christian, cannot name the first book of the bible which is true.  However the point is more than about knowing what something is called.  It is about understanding the content.  The Rev. was not ‘stylish or mature.  It was a simple case of playground ‘I know you are, but what am I”, posturing. The second article uses their favourite ad hom – ‘militant secularists -against those of us who object to having the superstitions of other people foisted upon us by means of legislation.  When religious institutions start paying tax and making a real contribution to society, they can then start having a say on political reforms. Untill such time, can they shut up.

“We all hear about Muslim leaders issuing fatwas against homosexuals, preaching hate and the extermination of the Jews. But who hears of an Imam who is a credit to their religion?

And yet the extremists are merely a flipside of the atheists. Their actions, too, are entirely negative, aimed at winning plaudits from fellow atheists and in the process poisoning the rest of society against them.” – Stephen Pollard of The Daily Telegraph

The telegraph and the Independent have both gone downhill. It seems nationalist anachronistic crap now qualifies as reasonably objective and fashionable journalism to papers more concerned with sales than with quality and they are fast losing all credibility.

Related articles and Sources…

  4. Matthews. J (1787-8), ‘Letters of John Mattews‘ in Gibbons. R (ed.) ‘An Anthology of Primary Sources‘, Manchester University Press, New York, (pp. 266-270).

Child Benefit takes a slicing.

Okay, Stan, What’s the Plan?

The Prime Minister is amid rising anger at the Coalition’s plan to cut child benefit.  Why am I not surprised?  Because they told us they would be cutting these benefits.  People who wanted benefits cut for those they deemed ‘scroungers’ voted for the Tories without a thought that depriving a few ‘lay-abouts’ would result in a substantial loss of income for those who were not.  People who fancied a ‘change’ because they were ‘bored’ with the Labour government (as if it were a simple redecoration of a room) voted for the Tories.  The Conservative Party laid their plans down very clearly in their manifesto and voters were warned well in advance during the General Election campaigns by both Labour and the Liberal Democrats that these credits would be cut so I’m afraid very little sympathy is due to those who ARE shocked.  In summary if people did not vote at all (Not voting was their choice but they were given ample opportunity to take part in the electoral process.), or voted for either the Conservative Party or Liberal democrats then they have exactly what they asked for and they have no business to complain about their chosen party’s plans. Voters were also warned that a vote for the Liberal Democrats was a waste and would end up going to the Tories in a coalition.   They may well express their regret but their collective choices are something the rest of us must live with for the next four and a half years.

The plan is to cut child benefit to individuals who earn £44,000 or more a year.  The cut will mean that families with a joint income can earn up to £87,999 and keep their benefits while those with a single income will lose all of their benefits if that income exceeds £44,000.  What has sparked controversy is not the cut itself but the fact is that this will favour families where both adults work and their joint income exceeds the threshold, over single income families where one parent also provides the childcare.  What Cameron and Osborne fail to realise is that by setting the threshold at that level and only accounting for individual incomes (how many households function with ‘individual’ incomes?), will equally and unfairly penalise parents who both work and be an even greater attack on the finances of middle-income families.  It is true that cuts need to be made but to insist on the this income threshold would be an attempt at legislating a needless social change by artificially engineering both quantity and quality of the choices available to parents. Unless this is what the angered ‘think-tank’ (I hate that term) members want?

One Tom Loughton suggested that thresholds may need revision to correct inconsistencies.  Mr Cameron has stated that the a joint threshold would add a complication of a means testing system and thus cause an unnecessary level of bureaucracy which would be highly unpopular.  It doesn’t matter that this initial move is against single income families.

“Under this change, child benefit will go on being paid to the 85% of people who don’t pay top-rate tax, and I think that is fair and right.” – David Cameron

I fail to see how.  He has also given Mr Osborne his full backing on his plan to pick apart the welfare system.  These plans go as far as placing a £26000 cap on the total benefits received by households without an adult in employment.

“We have to ask the question ‘Is it right to pay child benefit to top-rate taxpayers when we have such big debts and such a big deficit and when we obviously want to protect the poorest families?’ – Speaking on ITV1’s Daybreak, Mr Cameron

However, Mr Osborne (The Chancellor of the Exchequer for the benefit of my international readers.), has risked a backlash by announcing that child benefit entitlement will be removed from those households with an income of £44,000 from 2013.  This looks like a plan to enact social changes eventually.  Changes that will cost middle-income families between £1055 – £ 2500 or over per year.  It is fair enough that the individual pay threshold is in-line with the threshold for the higher rate of tax, but it is wrong to cut it off entirely and it is equally wrong to penalise only the families on a single income which either meets or exceeds the individual threshold.  Yvette Cooper, the Shadow work and Pensions Secretary has also stated that the decision to remove this assistance is unfair.

Further weight is lent to my suspicion that detrimental social changes are being enacted by this drive to only eventually end benefit entitlement families who live on £44,000 or more a year, is the fact that they plan to then sweeten the blow to stay-at-home mothers with a transferable tax-credit.  So it goes a bit like this, “If your household income is more than £44k then we’ll remove your child benefits.  But if your little woman graciously realises her place -stays at home to raise the children and wash and cook and clean for you and the kids like a good girl – then we’ll pat her on the head and give her a bit of pocket-money.” Pardon me for sounding cynical but I can’t be the only one who finds the whole idea insultingly patronising.  In 1999 when the Labour Party brought in a national minimum wage they were castigated by the traditional Conservatives for ‘social-engineering’.  Well it’s the same thing here folks and they are trying to take us backwards to the 1950s while getting us to pay for the ‘privilege’.

What About Students?

Surprise surprise, the ‘graduate tax’ isn’t turning out to be quite such a hot idea either.   I shouldn’t really gloat on this because I thought that it was a fairly good idea to get around exorbitant tuition fees and horrifying levels of student debt.  We can’t all be right all the time.  After having another think on it, it seems that this graduate tax will ONLY apply to new students.  This will mean leaving those leaving university to find a distinct shortage of graduate jobs will still have to repay their original loans and fees out of their ordinary incomes.  This will still mean putting off being properly independent for another five to ten years while they work to repay their debts in average paying jobs which either don’t specifically require a degree or even have anything in common with their years of study.   Somehow I am extremely relieved that I DIDN’T go to university: I might still be broke but I do have something to show for it.

“A pure and simple graduate tax on its own has real problems – I think it would probably benefit universities in other parts of the world as our young people start to go to them.”

Shall we take a short trip to Tory Cop-out City?

Mr Cameron faced a grilling from Adam Boulton on Sky News about pensioners’ benefits such as winter fuel allowances, television licences and bus passes.  In hindsight, we can all see that Mr Cameron – born into ‘old-money’ – is trying to look after the ‘rich’ while attempting to appear magnanimous to we lesser mortals.

“I made some very clear promises to Britain’s pensioners during the election, I want to keep those promises but I cannot pre-empt everything in the Chancellor’s statement he will be making in the spending round.”

He has at least acknowledged that a household income of £44,000 a year is not “rich”.  He has refrained, however, from explaining how it is fair to put the cap on £44k individual incomes without applying a similar cap to joint incomes. Thus allowing joint income families on over £86,000 a year to retain their benefits while they are having so much trouble justifying why a single income family on less than £45,000 shouldn’t lose all of them.

Pressed on why the government had opted to cut child benefit instead of free bus passes and winter fuel allowances, which benefit rich pensioners as well as the less well off, Cameron denied that it was because he had personally vowed to keep the pensioner benefits in place during the election campaign.

“I think a good welfare system is a mixture of some things that are universal … but also making sure we have a welfare system that helps people out of dependency. What [work and pensions secretary] Iain Duncan Smith’s reforms are all about with the universal credit is making sure that it’s always better off for people to be in work. What you are asking me to do is say you either have a totally means tested or totally universal system and what I am saying is in a modern world an effective welfare system needs elements of both.” – To the Guardian.

I would very much like to understand

  1. Why Mr Cameron is being so evasive over his Chancellor’s planned cuts to which he has given his full support in advance for?
  2. What is the single ‘universal’ payment that Mr Duncan Smith plans to reveal to the conference today and exactly how WILL it simplify the system?


New Leadership.

Ed Milliband has won the Labour Leadership campaign, and become the 18th leader of the Labour Party, with 175,519 votes.

”I am nobody’s man, I am my own man. I am very clear about that,” he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

How does it Work?

  1. The voting power was divided equally between MPs and MEPs, affiliated organisations (trade unions), and other party members.
  2. If no candidate holds more than 50% of the votes by the end of the first round of voting, the candidate with the fewest votes is removed and their second preference votes are divided among the remaining candidates.
  3. This process is continued until a candidate has achieved the required number of votes and has the potential to result in a head to head contest between just two candidates.

His lead was only very narrowly ahead of his brother, David, who achieved 147,220 votes, but regardless of this, Ed is the man who will lead our party into the next general election and take the party back to its roots by reconnecting with previous supporters.  On top of the overall result Ed also won the biggest number of affiliate/union first preference votes (35%).  However, it will take much more than winning the leadership to return the party to government.  The party must first re-earn the trust of those people it let down so badly during its term.  I do think that the Brown/Blair feud is an irrelevance now that the party has been forced to wake up to the fact that the petty internal squabbles were in part to blame for their defeat in May.  Admitting that the party must acknowledge its mistakes is at least a step in the right direction; the next will be to identifying how those mistakes were made in order to avoid a repeat of the same.

“The razor-thin margin leaves the new leader with an immediate problem: he has to unite a party that split almost arithmetically down the middle.” Jonathan Freedland to The Guardian – Comment is Free.

The support from the unions is by no means all that won him the election.  He won by showing his support of the people who the party was set up in the interest of; working people.  The previous Labour party lost touch and ended up displaying their embarrassment over the Party’s union links and origins.  It shows the party has not entirely lost touch with its centre left ideals and I am very much looking forward to the his leadership speech on Tuesday.  As my readers know, I also supported Ed Milliband and it is a pleasure to finally have some good news to post.

“He won by focusing on the issues working people care about – stopping the onslaught on public services, fighting for a living wage, standing up for manufacturing, offering a fair deal at work. His acknowledgement of the calamity of the Iraq war is also vital if Labour is to regain people’s trust.” – Len McCluskey to The Guardian – Comment is Free.

I trust that Ed’s commitment is to our interests and us as our representative in Parliament rather than the other way around as it so sadly became during the years of Blair and Brown.  His vision has every chance of redeeming the party’s reputation of fairness and equality.  The nickname of “Red Ed” was unfairly dished up during the leadership campaign but he has rebutted this with a promise not to merely object to every spending cut on principle, and become a responsible opposition leader while we recover from ‘the deficit’.


Biased Press Coverage.

Right wing-media and news channels have their fingers in so many pies, that while we think we are choosing one paper or another, we are in fact being fed rehashed news from a Media mogul with a near monopoly on news coverage.  Media can have a massive effect on public opinion.  Yesterday the Guardian published a blog in their Comment Is Free segment, exposing the bias of various media sources and the glaringly obvious attempts they make to sway public opinion in one direction or another.  I am not excluding the Guardian from this, it has long been known to be one of the more left-wing newspapers and has made no secret in this.

It begs the question from some, of why I read the others when I clearly don’t agree with them?  It does not pay to only read the sources which pander to our preconceptions. It does us no good to ignore the news from a particular source because we happen to find their tone distasteful and their content both vulgar and obtuse.  I cannot stress the point more vehemently, when that news does not have to be pleasant or palatable, nor does it have to measure up to my expectations of literary content.  The news should however should have to be true and verifiable, as well as impartial and balanced.  It is up to us to determine what is reliable, by checking facts and ignoring the media’s blatant spin and gloss.  With the presence of the internet, it should be more difficult for News businesses to influence the public.  It is not up to them to influence public opinion by colouring the facts.

What is alarmingly absent from the reports is that as EU citizens, we are also entitled to go and live and work in other EU countries.  There is no law preventing us from leaving.  There are no

While it is not difficult to be swept up in a media storm, it is also not difficult to find out who owns these news papers and piece together their agenda; other than to sell newspapers and make money. When news publishers have a political affiliation they become propaganda networks are instantly an unreliable source of information.  Below is a run down of the UK national newspapers, and who they are owned by.  It is heavily weighted in favour of conservative nationalism.

The Express,

The Express is owned by Richmond Desmond, a known right-wing business man.  He not only owns Express Newspapers but was a founder (in 1974) of Northern & Shell, which publishes various celebrity magazines: OK!New! and Daily Star (in the UK). Northern & Shell owns Five and Portland TV,[1]which in turn owns the adult TV channels; Television XRed Hot TV and others.

The Daily Telegraph,

The Telegraph is owned jointly by Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay. Their Press Holdings company owns The Business and The Spectator magazine. The Telegraph Group Limited titles are controlled via a wholly owned subsidiary Press Acquisitions Limited.

The Daily Mail,

Is a paper known for it’s dubious stories and numerous libel cases brought against it, was also known to have openly supported, Oswald Mosley and defend fascism.  It is the main national newspaper owned by Associated and sells more than two million copies per issue, giving it one of the largest circulations of any English language daily newspaper, and the twelfth highest of any newspaper in the world.  The Mail on Sunday is the sister paper of the Daily Mail, published weekly on Sundays.  Associated Newspapers took over the publishing of Ireland on Sunday in 2001. The title was re-launched in April 2002 to coincide with the move to its new offices in Ballsbridge, Dublin. It included TV Week magazine and in September 2006 it was merged with the Mail on Sunday and became the Irish Mail on Sunday.

Mail Today is a 48-page compact size newspaper launched in India on 16 November 2007 that is printed in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida with a print run of 110,000 copies. Based around a subscription model, the newspaper has the same fonts and feel as the Daily Mail and was set up with investment from Associated Newspapers and editorial assistance from the Daily Mail newsroom.[4]Indian foreign media ownership laws restrict holdings to 26 percent.  Metro – Metro is the UK’s only urban national newspaper. Launched in March 1999 as a free, stapled newspaper, it was distributed initially in London. But since has been published every weekday morning, around Yorkshire, the North West, Newcastle and the North East, the East Midlands, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Cardiff and Scotland. Metro’s readership is 2.2 million (NRS June ‘07), with over 1.3 million copies printed.  Loot – not a mainstream newspaper, although is available nationally. Classified directory. London Lite – free sheet that was formerly called the Standard Lite, but was re-designed to compete with News International‘s new free sheetthelondonpaper. It was also a free sheet and was handed out by vendors in the evening around the London Zone 1 area.  This was dis-continued in 2009.

The Independent,

Alexander Yevgenievich Lebedev (Russian: Александр Евгеньевич Лебедев, born 16 December 1959 inMoscow) is a Russian businessman, is part owner of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta[2] and owner of three UK newspapers: the London Evening Standard, theThe Independent and the Independent on Sunday.

The Daily Mirror,

The Mirror is currently Owned by Trinity Mirror plc along with 240 regional papers as well as the national  Sunday Mirror andPeople, and the Scottish Sunday Mail and Daily Record.

News International Ltd,

is a British newspaper publisher owned by Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corporation. Until June 2002, it was called News International Plc. The company’s major titles are published by three subsidiary companies, Times Newspapers Ltd,News Group Newspapers[1] and NI Free Newspapers Limited.  Times Newspapers Limited publishes the compact daily newspaper The Times and the broadsheet The Sunday Times.  News Group Newspapers publishes the tabloid newspapers The Sun and the News of the World.

Murdoch states that he acts as a “traditional proprietor”; exercising editorial control on major issues such as which political party to back in a general election or policy on Europe.[

The Guardian,

Formerly known as The Manchester Guardian, is a British national daily newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group.  Founded in 1821, it is unique among major British newspapers in being owned by a foundation (the Scott Trust, via the Guardian Media Group). It is known for its left-of-centre political stance.  At the 2010 election it supported the Liberal Democrats.