Why the Metro Got It All Wrong

Last night saw the Holocaust Educational Trust's Appeal Dinner, particularly significant this year as the charity celebrates its 25th anniversary. 500 people - including 28 Holocaust survivors - gathered at The Dorchester Hotel in central London for an evening of networking, speeches and fundraising. The surprise guest speaker for the evening turned out to be none other than Prime Minister David Cameron, whom I had the chance to meet and speak to about my role as a Regional Ambassador for the Trust.

I must say that I was generally very impressed by the speech the Prime Minister gave. In it, he announced an additional £300,000 funding from the Government from the Trust's 'Lessons from Auschwitz' Project every year, and the creation of a "multi-faith, cross-party" group to meet and discuss the possibility of building a "permanent and fitting" Holocaust memorial in the U.K. He also talked about the fact that the Holocaust occurred by others standing by, which is something he promised Britain will never do as long as he is Prime Minister.
Given current affairs, this naturally led onto Mr Cameron speaking about the current situation in Syria, and why he wanted to act.
"What was my instinct?" he said. "It wasn’t to say, 'Let’s think of the best way to secure advantage for my political party'. It was to say, 'What is the best way for my country to stand up?' Because Britain is not the sort of country that wants to stand by...But I felt we had to take a stand. Let’s not pretend that Syria would now be promising to give up its chemical weapons if we had just stood by and said nothing."

Another point that the Prime Minister made in his speech was about how the term 'Holocaust' is so easily thrown about in the present day, when the Holocaust is not wholly comparable to anything else: "There are some who, probably with much better intentions, fall into the trap of using loose and lazy language, bandying around the term 'Holocaust' when talking about other things." There have, indeed, been many discussions about differentiating between the terms 'Holocaust' and 'genocide', so it was pleasing to hear that the Prime Minister also makes a clear distinction between the two.

What a shame, therefore, that this morning, the front page of the Metro, the free newspaper distributed throughout the U.K., shouted 'Cameron: Syria is a holocaust in waiting'. This headline completely goes against what the Prime Minister said in his speech about "bandying around" the word when it is not needed. Absolutely no explicit comparison was made between the situation in Syria and the Holocaust; only that the lesson of not standing by whilst conflicts emerge is still very much relevant today.
The coverage of Mr Cameron's speech in other newspapers, such as in The Daily Express and The Telegraph gave an accurate and fairly neutral stance on what was said. So why on earth did the Metro get it so very wrong?
Far from Mr Cameron's point about people "with much better intentions" using the term 'Holocaust' unnecessarily, I believe that the author of the article, the Metro's Political Editor John Higginson, and whoever else may be involved in the editing of the newspaper, decided to use total sensationalism in the hope that more commuters would pick up the newspaper. I find it incredibly disheartening that the Prime Minister's speech has been distorted in such a way just to gain more readership.

So shame on you, Metro, for ignoring the truth about what was said, and creating a headline that precisely summarised what David Cameron was trying to discourage in last night's address.

For those who are interested, you can find a copy of the Prime Minister's speech in full here.