In which I go viral, and upset the BNP

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So, the other week I came across a rumour that the BNP had, slightly disarmingly, picked an Uruguayan to be their candidate for the London mayoral race. What’s more, the man in question, Carlos Cortiglia, seems to have given an interview in 2003 to a mainstream Argentinian newspaper, La Nacion, in which he ostensibly claimed to have volunteered to fight against blighty in the Falklands.

So I wrote the story up for Londonist, went about my day, and then spent the rest of the afternoon watching, vaguely dazed, as it went viral, spreading further and faster than anything else I’ve ever written. That night I was in a pub, and could hear the people at the next table discussing the thing. That doesn’t happen to me a lot.

Problem was, the next day, Cortiglia got in touch, and denied the lot. Whether he was misquoted, whether Galtieri’s army turned him down, or whether he’d simply bigged himself up to La Nacion to impress the Argentinians, was never exactly clear. But nonetheless he maintained that he had never been in the Falklands in any context. His official rebuttal (on the BNP’s website, to which I have no intention of linking), implied that the paper had simply made the lot up. Why, I have no idea.

Anyway – in the name of fairness, I withdrew the story. I remain, however, oddly proud, both of my carefully worded retraction, and of the whole mess leading up to it. You can read what’s left of it here.

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