On some mornings, it is almost literally a car-bomb blasting out from my laptop screen. And I’m beginning to wonder if the chaps from UXB who did such a fine job in New York over the weekend shouldn’t be deployed to render Mr Dacre harmless.
Today for example it features Harriet Harman in a tax dodge, which isn’t a tax dodge at all but merely a trust fund – exactly the same as I (and millions of other ordinary people) have to stop the Revenue getting their grasping hands on all of my small inheritance. There’s nothing I’d like better than to run over HH in a Ford Dodge pickup, but the ‘tax dodge’ charge is misleading and unfair.
Next up is a piece about the ‘postal votes fiasco’ and how it could stop ‘tens of thousands’ from casting their vote. As 2 in 5 of the electorate won’t bother anyway, this isn’t much of a story; but here again the headline isn’t justified by the copy. There’s a lot of ‘might’ and ‘could’, but no support at all for tens of thousands of anything. And tucked away at the back end of paragraph three is the reason for this ‘fiasco – ‘disruption to flights caused by last month’s volcanic ash cloud’. Fine, The Slog was first out of the blocks to suggest that the meteos of Europe got it completely wrong: but the imputation of the piece is ‘yet more Labour incompetence’. As far as one can tell, it’s nothing of the sort.
Dacre’s other big thing is Not Being British. While the rest of us on the whole felt the Poles had been the best thing to happen to Britain since VE Day, they too came in for some of the Daily Bomb’s flying car-metal for months on end. The piece about Clegg’s genes was beneath contempt, but at the same time is a further illustration of what I’ve been suggesting since 2007: that Paul (who’s brother is a very nice chap, by the way) is quite possibly unhinged.
Anyway, true to form there’s a piece about travellers in today’s issue, and villagers setting up roadblocks to stop them from being Stayers. This sort of minority mickey-take by ‘travellers’ (who never seem to want to travel anywhere) gets my goat too; but the Mail has to identify them as Romany Gypsies – which they almost certainly aren’t – and then puts inverted commas around ‘illegal’ because in two of the cases, what the ‘gypsies’ did wasn’t illegal at all. The land, we’re told, was ‘sold to them by another gypsy‘. Insert the word ‘Jew’ there, and this could’ve been Der Sturmer in 1934. A really unpleasant piece.
Boy 14 beaten to death for his IPod. Hero sniper kills two Taliban. Hero son shot mother’s killer. Boom towns transformed into benefit blackspots. Christian preacher hounded by homosexuals. Kill a Muslim today, you know it makes sense. Read the passage about Big Brother’s Hate meetings in the Orwell book 1984, and it’s pretty much like reading the Daily Mail. It’s never-ending bile – and I have three objections to it.
First and most important, the paper is perfect ammunition for the Left: ‘now see what life would be like if we weren’t around to stop these fascists having their way’. Like Mandelson and homosexuality and Harman with women’s rights, the causes espoused by the Mail take a strong argument and turn it into ridiculously twisted observations. The barmy end of liberal thought gains, and reasonable commonsense is the big loser. In our current context, however, the Mail is allowing Mandelson and Whelan to continue depicting the Tories as the Nasty Party.
Secondly, Paul Dacre’s organ is bad for social order in the UK, because it is a daily dose of unthinking incitement. There are no answers in the Mail, only viciously rhetorical questions. What is it that Dacre wants I wonder? Mass deportation? Internment camps? Sterilization of thugs, single mothers, queers and all NHS managers? I think we should be told.
Finally, rabid it may be, but the Mail’s stance is the most hypocritical in the Street of Shame. Day in day out it rages against dumbed-down education and puerile values, but it displays all of these on every page and all over the website. Christine Bleakley, Corrie Star with cancer, Beyonce jumps on latest celeb trend, Cheryl Cole’s new rigout, Posh Beckham’s flunkies: this stuff (and the paper’s continuing commitment to good financial articles) is what sells the Mail. That, and the vague feeling among older readers that it is a nice Conservative newspaper.
It isn’t of course, but Dacre the dangerous car-bomb lacks the bottle to come out for those Parties he very probably supports in private. Take a look at what UKIP and the BNP are about, and you can see fairly clearly where the Mail’s heading.