The Daily Mail: the worst of British posing as its best (video)


Yesterday I wrote a post about how the Daily Mail hates Britain. As you will see if you view the video clips below, on Tuesday night’s excellent Newsnight there was an interview with Jon Steafel, deputy editor of the Daily Mail, during which he was asked 11 times by Alistair Campbell to personally endorse the headline “Ralph Miliband hates Britain” – he refused to do so. That should tell you all you need to know about what is really going on here.

Poo editor-Dacre Text Final

The Mail article, for what it is worth, is easily amongst the worst examples of writing (It cannot be described as real journalism) that this blog has had the misfortune to read in some time.  It is the very definition of literary excrement. Wholly bereft of cogent thought, it does not quite know what point, apart from “Socialists hate Britain” (the author fails to identify any trait that is uniquely specific to Miliband as opposed to strident socialists per se) that it is trying to make. Even in its childlike attempt to besmirch Miliband’s “Marxism” the author of the piece ties himself up in knots.

Ralph’s Marxism was uncompromising. ‘We want this party to state that it stands unequivocally behind the social ownership and control of the means of production, distribution and exchange,’ he declared to the 1955 Labour Party conference as the delegate from Hampstead. ‘We are a Socialist party engaged on a great adventure.’

Of course, he could only embark on this ‘adventure’ because of the protection, the education and, crucially, the political freedom, that this country gave him.   

In the above excerpt from the Mail’s tirade, note how the Mail extolls the virtues of our “political freedom’ whilst in the same sentence using it to condemn Ralph Miliband’s exercise of that right to freely express his political viewpoint. A viewpoint shared by millions in the UK at that time, especially within the Labour party, right up to the election of Margaret Thatcher and beyond. One can only imagine that the Daily Mail thinks that Michael Foot, John Smith, Jim Callaghan and even Tony Blair must have hated Britain too, as they were all signed-up to membership of the Labour party under the old version of Clause IV – you know, the one that talked about the “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange”.

As for the Mail’s attempt at making “class warfare,” Ralph Miliband style, sound “sinister” let’s analyse what they say Miliband has written on the subject:

‘Class success means the ability of a  dominant class [he means mostly the rich] to maintain its position in society, and to contain and subdue  any challenge to its power and privileges. Elite recruitment in these . . .  societies has a distinctly hereditary character [here he means inherited wealth]. Access from the working classes  into the middle and upper classes is generally low. This is what has happened in  Britain.’

So, is the Mail seriously arguing that there is not a “dominant class” largely based on inherited wealth in the UK? Or that it has not been successful in maintaining its own position and subduing challenges to its privileged position?  Surely the Mail is not contending that access from the working classes into the middle and upper classes (i.e. upward social mobility) is high? In fact, I know that is not what they think and more than that I can prove that they agree with the Ralph Miliband on this point.  Here’s the Daily Mail from 1 May 2012:

Social mobility in Britain is the worst in  the Western world and the gap between rich and poor has become ingrained in  children as young as three, MPs conclude today.

They quote a study showing that the prospects  of half of all children born in the UK can be almost entirely linked to the  circumstances of their parents – compared to only 15 per cent of those in  Denmark.

Daily Mail Social Mobility

The Daily Mail must be Marxist if it thinks that the prospects of half of all children born in the UK can be almost entirely linked to the circumstances of their parents

Differences are also noticeable at a very  young age, with toddlers doing far better in vocabulary tests if they grow up in  a more affluent household.

Daily Mail Social Mobility Comment

Controversially, the MPs call  for more intervention in the lives of under-threes. The report also shows that  despite all the money spent to get more teenagers into university, the  access  gap between rich and poor has actually widened in recent years.

I have demonstrated with nothing more than a cursory overview of a couple of paragraphs of the Mail’s bilge, that it is all too easy to poke huge holes in its paper thin veneer of ‘robust’ journalism. It is sad and rather pathetic that people are prepared to pay for this hokum.

Nonetheless, today the Mail has continued in its despicable campaign against a politician’s dead father. Why? We cannot be sure but when a national opinion sheet spends three days creating news and embarrassingly tying itself up in (non-)intellectual knots in trying to justify itself one has to assume that it has lost any sense of what is reasonable, decent and (dare I say) British about its actions.  You might think that they must have already been scraping the bottom of the barrel yesterday but I discovered that they have dragged up some quotes from Louise Mensche for today’s edition so, sadly, it would seem that there are no limits to the depths that the Mail is happy to sink to in order to justify itself.

If Campbell’s assertions during the interview are to be believed, this may be Paul Dacre‘s last gasp at threatening our political leaders over Leveson press reform although it is being widely reported this evening that, in a typical “up yours” Daily Mail gesture to its critics, Dacre may have had his contract extended rather than terminated as had been widely expected.

Part 1 of 2 Preamble

Part 2 of 2 Interview

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