It was not the Daily Mail wot won the Stephen Lawrence case

The newspaper's triumphalism undermines the tireless efforts of those who fought to keep the case at

Doreen Lawrence explained it. Yesterday was not a day for celebration at the guilty verdicts for David Norris and Gary Dobson for killing her son. There is some sense of justice in the conviction of these two racist murderers, but Stephen Lawrence remains dead, and others who took part in his killing still walk the streets.

Against that tone of sombre reflection came the rather jarring triumphalism of the Daily Mail, delighted in yesterday's verdicts and calling it "The Mail's Victory". The Mail did more than many other newspapers to fight for the Lawrences and to uncover the truth, but there seemed a slight edge to their coverage, as if it was vindication of the famous MURDERERS splash after all these years. I am not so sure it was.

Back in 1997, the Mail labelled the five suspects as murderers -- "if we are wrong, let them sue us", the front page said. It's been analysed to death down the years, but for me, I still don't see it as a journalistic triumph, as courageous, as brave, or all those other things people say it was. For me, it's the same kind of attitude that has seen people's lives wrecked since -- the certainty of guilt leading to false accusations. But I think most journalists disagree with me.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the MURDERERS front page, the Mail has every right to be pleased with its efforts to help in giving the case maximum publicity. But there was something about the coverage that seemed slightly at odds with the reality of the day. The more I saw the Lawrences, still broken people after all these years, the more strange the video statement from Mail editor Paul Dacre seemed in comparison. There was a whiff of myth-making, of history being written. It was the Daily Mail wot won it. Without that front page, there wouldn't have been justice for the Lawrences.

That's how the story goes, but is it right? I don't know and I don't think anyone knows. It's certainly an inviting narrative to buy into for those of us who believe in the power of journalism or the tabloid newspaper as a force for fairness rather than unfairness. But as much as I would like it to be true, I think it's only part of the story. It's simple to look back and see the front page, then attribute everything that came afterwards to it, but maybe it was just a factor, rather than the defining factor.

There were many, many other people who did everything in their power to keep the Lawrence case at the top of the political agenda. It is perhaps somewhat disrespectful to them to imagine that one newspaper front page was worth more than all of their tireless efforts over 18 years.

So let's return to the Lawrences themselves, ordinary people who have been forced through horrific circumstances to put their grief into the public domain, to share those private thoughts of losing a son. The key to understanding the impact of that crime is in their words and deeds. Yes, two men are in jail, but as Doreen and Neville Lawrence said yesterday, that does not mean the end -- other perpetrators of that disgusting crime still walk free.

There's no right or wrong way to deal with grief, but despite all the setbacks, the stench of corruption and the seemingly hopeless task, the Lawrences never gave up. Never. They only cared about achieving justice, which could and would never bring back their son, but which could bring some kind of peace. No, it is not a time for celebration: Stephen Lawrence is still in a grave rather than being the man he should have been. But perhaps there is hope, after all.

Patrolling the murkier waters of the mainstream media
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Our union backed Brexit, but that doesn't mean scrapping freedom of movement

We can only improve the lives of our members, like those planning stike action at McDonalds, through solidarity.

The campaign to defend and extend free movement – highlighted by the launch of the Labour Campaign for Free Movement this month – is being seen in some circles as a back door strategy to re-run the EU referendum. If that was truly the case, then I don't think Unions like mine (the BFAWU) would be involved, especially as we campaigned to leave the EU ourselves.

In stark contrast to the rhetoric used by many sections of the Leave campaign, our argument wasn’t driven by fear and paranoia about migrant workers. A good number of the BFAWU’s membership is made up of workers not just from the EU, but from all corners of the world. They make a positive contribution to the industry that we represent. These people make a far larger and important contribution to our society and our communities than the wealthy Brexiteers, who sought to do nothing other than de-humanise them, cheered along by a rabid, right-wing press. 

Those who are calling for end to freedom of movement fail to realise that it’s people, rather than land and borders that makes the world we live in. Division works only in the interest of those that want to hold power, control, influence and wealth. Unfortunately, despite a rich history in terms of where division leads us, a good chunk of the UK population still falls for it. We believe that those who live and work here or in other countries should have their skills recognised and enjoy the same rights as those born in that country, including the democratic right to vote. 

Workers born outside of the UK contribute more than £328 million to the UK economy every day. Our NHS depends on their labour in order to keep it running; the leisure and hospitality industries depend on them in order to function; the food industry (including farming to a degree) is often propped up by their work.

The real architects of our misery and hardship reside in Westminster. It is they who introduced legislation designed to allow bosses to act with impunity and pay poverty wages. The only way we can really improve our lives is not as some would have you believe, by blaming other poor workers from other countries, it is through standing together in solidarity. By organising and combining that we become stronger as our fabulous members are showing through their decision to ballot for strike action in McDonalds.

Our members in McDonalds are both born in the UK and outside the UK, and where the bosses have separated groups of workers by pitting certain nationalities against each other, the workers organised have stood together and fought to win change for all, even organising themed social events to welcome each other in the face of the bosses ‘attempts to create divisions in the workplace.

Our union has held the long term view that we should have a planned economy with an ability to own and control the means of production. Our members saw the EU as a gravy train, working in the interests of wealthy elites and industrial scale tax avoidance. They felt that leaving the EU would give the UK the best opportunity to renationalise our key industries and begin a programme of manufacturing on a scale that would allow us to be self-sufficient and independent while enjoying solid trading relationships with other countries. Obviously, a key component in terms of facilitating this is continued freedom of movement.

Many of our members come from communities that voted to leave the EU. They are a reflection of real life that the movers and shakers in both the Leave and Remain campaigns took for granted. We weren’t surprised by the outcome of the EU referendum; after decades of politicians heaping blame on the EU for everything from the shape of fruit to personal hardship, what else could we possibly expect? However, we cannot allow migrant labour to remain as a political football to give succour to the prejudices of the uninformed. Given the same rights and freedoms as UK citizens, foreign workers have the ability to ensure that the UK actually makes a success of Brexit, one that benefits the many, rather than the few.

Ian Hodon is President of the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union and founding signatory of the Labour Campaign for Free Movement.