Viewers who tuned in to The Andy Marr Show (tm) last Sunday may have observed the presence on the paper review of Sun columnist Jane Moore. She is a regular on the Marr sofa, an ostensibly benign presence. But the moment she told the audience that Momentum and Militant were the same thing - a swiftly and expertly delivered Murdoch smear - should have told anyone interested that she was nothing of the sort.
Jane Moore: white privilege speaks
This has been underscored by the Sun’s continuing obsession with former footballer Paul Gascoigne. Not content with leaving bottles of spirits outside his flat in an effort to induce him into going off the wagon - and off the rails - so that their waiting snappers can help generate more shock horror exclusives, the Murdoch doggies have got on Gazza’s case over an incident at Wolverhampton Civic Hall last year.
Gascoigne was giving his show An Evening With Gazza; he saw security man Errol Rowe, who is black, and commented “Can you smile please, because I can’t see you?” Laugh? But it was 2015, not 1975, and so no-one did. Worse for Gazza, he ended up being fined a total of £2,000 at Dudley Magistrates’ Court earlier this week for using “threatening or abusive words”, which is legal speak for racist and/or hate speech.
Gascoigne did something crass and stupid. The reason he got done for it was clearly because he did it very openly in front of an audience. But suddenly, those who couldn’t have given a stuff about his struggle with the bottle were using the incident to promote Themselves Personally Now, not least crashing bore Brendan O’Neill, who claimed this meant the end of free speech as we know it, which it did not.
Racism? Nah, it’s just political correctness gone mad, innit? It certainly was for the Sun, which yesterday addressed the incident in an editorial, ranting “Security guard Errol Rowe was humiliated and we feel for him. But did such stupidity need prosecuting in the courts at public expense?” and then taking the biscuit with “The great strides made against casual racism in Britain have been down to education and an evolution in attitudes”.
An evolution which appears to have missed the Baby Shard bunker, by the looks of it. And then came the benign presence of Jane Moore to put the stiletto in in no style at all, telling “bouncer Errol Rowe’s victim impact statement seems disproportionate to the crime … He said: ‘I keep having flashbacks - thoughts about being abused in front of a massive crowd. That evening I went home and sat and cried. I have not been able to work since’”.
Ms Moore concluded that he ought to Get Over It: “May I suggest that, when he does finally feel ready to return to paid labour, the hurly burly nature of security work might best be avoided for such a palpably sensitive soul”. Where’s your sense of humour? It’s only a bit of casual racism! Newspaper run by white billionaire, with white CEO, white editor, and white pundit, tells black man that racism is No Big Deal.
The Sun was in the vanguard of ingrained racism in the 1980s. Some habits are proving hard for the paper to shake off. So let’s give them a helping hint. Don’t buy the Sun.