By Dominic Ponsford
A former tabloid columnist has devoted an entire book to criticising the newspaper from which he resigned.
Dr Vernon Coleman had written for The People since 1992 but left the paper in April after it refused to print an anti-war article written by him.
Now Coleman, who was paid £90,000 a year for his column, has written a book, People Push Bottles Up Peaceniks – Why I Left The People.
The 90-page volume is published by Coleman’s own company, Blue Books, and details where he thinks the paper is going wrong and “how The People’s actions endanger our democracy and freedom”.
For example, he condemns The People’s reporting of an anti-war march in London earlier this year as a “damp squib” and states: “I believe that The People became a dishonest, oppressive and fascist newspaper that day.”
In another excerpt, he states: “Publications such as Asian Babes and Penthouse magazine are more honest than The People in that they do not try to deceive the readers about what they are offering.”
The title of the book is a reference to a Daily Mirror headline from the Second World War: “British Army Push Bottles Up Germans Rear.”
Coleman told Press Gazette: “I don’t think a newspaper’s editorial policy should impinge on all the columnists working for that paper. I had conversations with an editor who stated that the whole paper had to be behind the war.”
When asked whether the book was just an example of sour grapes, he said: “I haven’t mentioned any names because it’s not a personal attack on anybody, it’s an attack on an approach by a newspaper. I wasn’t fired – I resigned. So it’s not sour grapes.”
According to The People, the first time management knew the reason behind Coleman’s resignation was when they read about it in Press Gazette. Coleman is said to have been asked not to mention the war in his column on one occasion because of the amount of war news elsewhere in the paper.
A People spokesman said: “We saw a copy of the book today. It is a great example of Vernon’s unique perspective on the world.”