YUMAN RIGHTS. We’ve heard it over and over again from the Daily Mail, from slanted copy masquerading as news, from Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, from unfunny and talentless churnalist Richard Littlejohn, and from every over overpaid mouth artist in the Northcliffe House bunker.
What the f***'s wrong with facing both ways on Human Rights law, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
Human Rights are, for the Mail, a very bad thing indeed. Such things are not only bestowed on those of whom the Vagina Monologue approves, but also on black people, brown people, followers of The Prophet, travellers, those born outside Britain, those of minority sexual orientation, even on criminals. Human Rights are, whisper it quietly, available to those who, as Nick Davies put it, are not the Daily Mail’s kind of people.
So it was that Daily Mail readers were told as recently as August that “Human Rights Act WILL be scrapped and replaced with a British Bill of Rights, says Justice Secretary Liz Truss”. This followed on from Littlejohn frothing “Now get us out of the human rights racket, too: If Mother Theresa really believes Brexit means Brexit, she must put an end to the stronghold EU courts have over the UK”. But now all is changed.
Now, the Daily Mail is not only in favour of human rights law, it is using that law in its own defence. As Press Gazette has told, “The publisher of the Daily Mail has warned that proposals to force newspapers into a Government-backed system of press regulation are a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights”. There are, of course, no proposals to force newspapers into any press regulation régime, but hey ho.
What this means is the incentive to join a press regulator recognised under the terms of the Royal Charter on press regulation, which is back in the news after the Lords defeated the Government on an amendment which replicated much of what is contained in Section 40 of the Crime and Courts act - the legislation John Whittingdale was stalling on.
Whitto stalled on Section 40, which provided for publishers that deny complainants access to a low-cost arbitration system to resolve complaints to pay both sides’ costs if the case then goes to law, and in exchange all those papers who knew about his dalliance with a known sex worker kept schtum - until Byline Media put the story out there.
Now the Lords has passed its amendment, the Tories’ majority may not be enough to overturn it (many Tory MPs would abstain or vote against their party on the matter), the Press Recognition Panel has said Section 40 should now be commenced anyway, and later this month a truly independent regulator, Impress, is seeking recognition under the terms of the Royal Charter - push has come to shove.
And that means the Daily Mail’s publisher falling back on Human Rights law to try and hold back what is looking like the inevitable. Joining all those who are not the Daily Mail’s kind of people in throwing themselves on the mercy of the European Convention on Human Rights, which the paper has spent much of the past two decades slagging off.
All so the Mail, and the rest of the press, can carry on marking their own homework and sticking their fingers up at those they trample over in the process. Sad, really.