This too I now realise was a mistake, because far from being the ‘monster’ so lovingly depicted by Simon Heffer, he seems rather to have been the standard-issue self obsessed post-Diana thug who just needed a cuddle. To be fair to the bloke, he asked several times for help – but as ever, the social workers were more concerned to nick his kids.
But now the media and the politicos have jumped on the Heffer plough (careful lads, it’ll only take so many) to carve ever deeper the furrow that claims admiration of Moat is yet another sign of a sick society.
When these two entirely entwined groups of gutter occupants do this sort of thing, one is of course left wondering just who the hell they think created this dangerously ill culture. But setting that aside, they’re wrong about this anyway.
It’s not the admiration of Raoul Moat that shows a sick society, it’s the existence of Raoul Moat. Jenny McCartney can call him the unacceptable face of Facebook, but she too is wrong: Facebook is the exact face of a society in which any form of discretion left years ago.
But the most misguided judgement of all is the conclusion that Moat is becoming an anti-hero because people will admire any pillock who comes along. This is without doubt true of Simon Cowell, but not Moat. Moat is being lionised because to some muddled people, he represents the triumph of a hounded individual over the all-controlling but utterly stupid State. They see him in the same light as Jesse James, Ned Kelly and Clyde Barrow: a bloke whose plight was ignored, but who gained some kind of futile revenge by making monkeys of the police for some considerable length of time.
His followers see him as Us, not Them. The media fail to glean this, because they are fixated with, beholden to – and thus part of – Them.