Solidarity with Kevin Arscott

Perhaps this should be sub-titled:

The dunger and the dungee.

Back on 26th November 2009, “Uponnothing” put up a post on the Angry Mob site headed Paul Dacre Must Die.

The piece used language which goes beyond Malcolm’s usual vocabulary; but makes reasonable and reasoned points that the Daily Mail was out of its tree with an article by Sue Reid. Reid had spewed up a concatenation of xenophobia over the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s treatment of sick neonatal children. Most of the “evidence” Reid produced was skewed, distorted or downright wrong. The headline thrust is:

Countless red dots scattered across the world map on the wall of a NHS hospital reveal the story of the changing face of Britain.

Each dot denotes the background of a mother with a baby in the neonatal ward of London’s Chelsea and Westminster hospital. The map was put up by hospital administrators to ‘celebrate the ethnic diversity’ of the sick children treated there, each at a cost of £1,400 a day.

It shows dramatically how the NHS now treats patients from every corner of the globe.

The 243 mothers are from 72 different nations. They include Mongolia, the remotest regions of Russia, Japan, Africa, South America, swathes of Asia, Australasia and even Papua New Guinea.

Only 18 mothers said they were from Britain.

This is expanded as:

Mothers-to-be target this country as ‘health tourists’ for a variety of reasons. Some do so because they face a difficult birth and want expert care unavailable in their home countries.

Others have been told by doctors abroad that their baby will be born with a profound illness, needing a lifetime of treatment and medicines. They know the NHS will provide this with few questions asked even if the bill reaches millions of pounds.

Only a long way down, when emotions have been worked up with such filth, is the small-print rebuttal:

Last night, a spokesperson for Chelsea and Westminster said that the hospital cared for patients from many different backgrounds, reflecting London’s population. The map was intended to illustrate the diversity of the families of babies on the ward. 

The hospital also issued the following statement: ‘ Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is a specialist referral centre and cares for patients of many different backgrounds, reflecting London’s very diverse population.

‘Of the 550 babies admitted to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) every year, a very small number of these are overseas patients.  In 2009, there have been just two overseas admissions.

‘The map was placed in the NICU nearly four years ago to provide the families of the babies we care for, as well as staff, with an opportunity to indicate their background if they wished. It is not an indication of country of residence or citizenship.

‘It was intended to illustrate the diversity of staff working on the unit and the families of the babies we care for, to encourage everyone to reflect on different cultures, in a fun and informal way.”

In other words, The Mail had managed to transform 2/550 into 225/243. In Mailese 0.36% = 92.6%. Dr Joseph Goebbels (a regular feature in Daily Mail columns over many years — most recently hailed as an Olympic-class seducer) would be envious of such manipulation.

Now, thanks to Liberal Conspiracy, we hear that the Daily Mail has caught up with “Uponnothing”, a.k.a. Kevin Arscott:

Kevin Arscott of the ‘Angry Mob‘ blog is a reasonably well-known figure in the British blogosphere, one of several bloggers who specialise in tracking and exposing some of the worst excesses of tabloid and mid-market newspapers.

This morning, a bit of a kerfuffle has broken out on Twitter after Kevin received a nastygram from the Daily Mail’s lawyers threatening him with a libel action if he didn’t remove a two-year old post from his blog.

Kevin took down his post, but it can still be read via Google’s cache.

Its worth reviewing some of the text of the letter that’s been sent to Kevin:

It has come to our client’s attention that a page on the website at http://www.angrymob.uponnothing.co.uk/home/43-somethingmademeangry/805-paul-dacre-must-die is being used to publish material which is seriously abusive and defamatory of Mr Dacre.

In a different context, Malcolm was reflecting on the doings of the “loyalist” paramilitaries in Belfast these last few days. He found himself reminded of Alasdair McDonnell’s comment:

Getting expelled from the UDA for criminality is like getting expelled from the Ku-Klux-Klan for racism.

Paul Dacre complaining about the abusive and defamatory is similarly perverse.

By one of the wonders of the internet, Dacre and the Mail have wished on themselves what Fred the Shred and Ryan Giggs got, not least in the columns of the Mail, with their “super-injunctions”.

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Filed under Belfast, bigotry, blogging, censorship, civil rights, Daily Mail, health, human waste, London, sleaze.

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