The apparent conversion of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun into cheerleader for all things sporting, and especially anything to do with Team GB’s performance at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, may give the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker a nice warm feeling, and Sun readers may be more ready to stump up their hard-earned cash for the paper, but this is, in reality, an exercise in cynical opportunism. And rank hypocrisy.
This can be deduced from one look at the name on the byline for today’s front page lead: beneath the shrieking headline “Britain’s Real Heroes … Olympic champs win a homecoming parade … NOW GIVE ‘EM GONGS” is the name of Steve Hawkes, who is not a sports correspondent, but the paper’s deputy political editor. This is nothing more than another attempt by the Murdoch mafiosi to manipulate the Government.
Hawkes’ bullying tone tells you that from the word go: “TOP Team GB superstars should be made dames and knights in honour of their Olympic success, The Sun demands today … Handing damehoods to gold medal champs Laura Trott and Jade Jones and knighthoods to the likes of Jason Kenny and Max Whitlock would restore some much-needed honour to the honours system”. Yes, the Sun DEMANDS.
The obedient Murdoch doggie even tells Theresa May exactly what gongs should be issued: “The Sun believes stars like Mo Farah and Andy Murray deserve to be made knights for their services to athletics and tennis respectively … The same honour could go to Jason Kenny for his cycling heroics and gymnast Max Whitlock … Meanwhile Jessica Ennis-Hill could become a Dame — along with cyclist Laura Trott and Charlotte Dujardin, for her services to equestrianism … OBEs could go to swimmer Adam Peaty, divers Tom Daley and Jack Laugher and cyclists Callum Skinner and Mark Cavendish”.
There is also a warning to the Government to accede to the Sun’s demands: “And politicians, sports stars and celebs backing our call said it would mark a striking contrast to David Cameron’s resignation honours list — which saw him hand knighthoods and peerages to 48 cronies”. So who has backed the call?
“Falklands war hero Simon Weston welcomed The Sun’s call last night. The 55-year-old, a CBE, said: ‘Our Olympians have raised the spirits of the nation this summer. They’ve done us proud’”. Two things here. One, Simon Weston is not a politician or sports star, and might not regard himself as a celeb. And two, the quote attributed to him does not welcome the Sun’s call. Plus there is another minor problem.
Honours are given out twice a year - the Queen’s birthday honours in June, and New Year honours at the end of December. Unless another Prime Minister resigns - unlikely - the Murdoch doggies will have to wait for the end of the year. So there will be months of similar, hectoring, bullying headlines. Do as we say, Government, OR ELSE.
And in the meantime the Sun will sneer at healthy eating choices, publicise loads of Z-list Slebs on the piss, run promotions involving booze and junk food, and rail against the nanny state that brought us to where we are today - WINNING OLYMPIC MEDALS.
The Murdoch mafiosi playing both sides of the field again. No change there, then.