Methinks he doth protest too much 2

Now for some passing wind on that, quite extraordinary, Paul Dacre out-pouring.

Despite the very Daily Mail mock-querulous title, Why is the left so obsessed by the Daily Mail, which comes suspiciously close to John Rentoul’s classic QTWTAIN meme, it is really an object-lesson in self-obsession. Reading it had Malcolm in a mental spin. Was he:

  • getting some after-wash from Neville Chamberlain’s Declaration of War speech?

Look at the text of that — one of the most “national” of occasions imaginable  — and notice how frequently Chamberlain reverts to a subjective first-person pronoun:

You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win 
peace has failed. Yet I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything 
different that I could have done and that would have been more successful.

  • Or was Dacre having a senior sub-Henry V moment?

If so, it’s a matter of common observation that Henry’s two great speeches (before Harfleur and before Agincourt) both come at moments when the King’s impetuosity, bad judgement and blind stupidity have landed him, his authority, and followers in a crisis from which it needs the opposition’s even worse judgement and crasser stupidity to extricate him. If that needs teasing out:

  • Henry had expected a quick success at Harfleur, a symbolic and cheap victory, from which he could draw instant credit, and gain a base in Normandy. From there he could engineer a twin-pronged attack from this northern base and from his support in Aquitaine. What he hadn’t calculated was the town would hold out for a taxing six-week siege, which took Henry’s late-summer campaign into foul autumnal weather. What saved Henry and the English at Harfleur, as the text of the play makes abundantly clear, was French inadequacy and unpreparedness:

Our expectation hath this day an end:
The Dauphin, whom of succors we entreated,
Returns us that his powers are yet not ready
To raise so great a siege. Therefore, great king,
We yield our town and lives to thy soft mercy.
Enter our gates; dispose of us and ours;
For we no longer are defensible.

  • Similarly at Agincourt it was a battle for the French to lose against a weak, sick, impoverished enemy. And lose it they did, by not knowing their own ground, through overconfidence:

Then let the trumpets sound
The tucket sonance and the note to mount;
For our approach shall so much dare the field
That England shall couch down in fear and yield.

  and greed for ransom:

It is now two o’clock: but, let me see, by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.

Now review Dacre’s self-defence, or rather — to save time and the efforts of all these little electrons — just the odd sample:

Let it be said loud and clear that the Mail, unlike News International, did NOT hack people’s phones or pay the police for stories. I have sworn that on oath.

No, our crime is more heinous than that.

It is that the Mail constantly dares to stand up to the liberal-left consensus that dominates so many areas of British life and instead represents the views of the ordinary people who are our readers and who don’t have a voice in today’s political landscape and are too often ignored by today’s ruling elite.

The metropolitan classes, of course, despise our readers with their dreams (mostly unfulfilled) of a decent education and health service they can trust, their belief in the family, patriotism, self-reliance, and their over-riding suspicion of the state and the People Who Know Best.

From which we draw the following:

The Mail doesn’t pay for stories

The precise wording is from “the police”, but the broader implication is left hanging.

That anyway-up patently doesn’t approach a half-truth.

The Information Commissioner’s report  to Parliament, What Price Privacy Now? [December 2006] revealed 58 Daily Mail journalists making 952 “transactions” to be investigated under “Operation Motorman” — oh, and another four journos making a further 30 approaches on behalf of the Mail’s Weekend Magazine. Those were commercial transactions, buying personal information obtained illegally, and much indirectly from corrupt police sources. That put the Mail at the top of the list of media outlets paying Clifford and his ilk for Section 55.

So much for Mr Dacre’s sacred “oath”.

The Mail boasts it is the stalwart defender of the public against this liberal-left consensus that dominates so many areas of British life.

boot-guide-slides-15_152909132742.jpg_halfpage_sligeshowHuh? Notice, too, how this “enemy within” is conflated with today’s ruling elite.

Oh, c’mon Dacre! What are these numerous “areas of British life”, all under the loony-lefty Alexander McQueen shearling-and-leather ankle boot (number 27 of the 88 approved by Vogue last “Fall” — and very fetching, too, as left above)?

When we read Dacre’s piece, he seems to identify just three main nodules of this “liberal-left consensus”: the BBC, the Guardian and the Labour Party. One is under attack from all quarters on the right, one is financially “embarrassed” and the last has been out-of-office these last forty months. So none hardly “dominates”.

Ordinary people who are our readers … don’t have a voice in today’s political landscape and are too often ignored by today’s ruling elite.

A voice in the landscape, Mr Dacre? Surely jarringly close to a mixed metaphor! Perhaps it’s almost “crying in the wilderness”.

Anyway, the one thing of which we can be certain is that this lumpen-bourgeoisie [no! Malcolm didn’t invent, just borrowed] is not short of bellowing mouthpieces. The Daily Mail and General Trust has revenues in excess of £2 billion a year, and we can add in the weight of the Murdoch media, the Torygraph, the Express, and all the others. That’s no small shout.

Far from being ignored by today’s ruling elite, your average Tory politician pants for a chance to be petted by Mr Dacre (as, to his lasting shame, did Gordon Brown).

The metropolitan classes, of course, despise our readers …

Again, huh? Who are the “metropolitan classes”? Is it London versus the rest? Is the Great Wen one seething mass of lefty Mail-hating? We fully appreciate that the Northcliffe formula is based on the “daily hate“, but are all those Mail-readers across Greater London self-despising hypocrites?

Over-riding suspicion of the state and the People Who Know Best

Much “suspicion” is ta direct consequence of all those Mail “daily hates”, through whether it is “over-riding” [riding over what?] is a dubious proposition. On the whole, your average Mail reader seems quite prepared to meet the services of the state face-to-face, and ask for more — consider how Dacre makes a regular thing of rubbish collection, [No, that wasn’t an unconscious irony.]

And we clearly recognise in his self promotion throughout this article one person at least “who knows best”.


Congratulations, yet again, to the Guardian. Every half-formed prejudice one might hold against Dacre and his scandal-sheet has been proven to the utterance by this article.


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Filed under BBC, Britain, British Left, broken society, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, History, human waste, policing, politics, prejudice, Quotations, reading, Times, Tories.

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