While the righteous Max “Hitler” Hastings, self proclaimed liberator of Port Stanley, dutifully fulfils his task as occupier of pole position on the Daily Mail cab rank and manages to spin out “Rioting why-oh-why” into a whole tedious column, the piece to watch is “Daily Mail Comment”. Because this is the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue himself.
And this comment item reinforces what I’ve already observed in the past week, from the obscenely overmonied Richard Littlejohn and the equally tedious Amanda Platell, Dacre’s resident Glenda: the Daily Mail wants to trivialise the phone hacking saga and relegate it to “non story” status, which is more or less saying that they don’t want the investigation to come any nearer, thanks very much.
That the article comes from Dacre himself can be seen from the way in which it effortlessly pushes every Daily Mail button: we see “nihilistic and feral teenagers ... devoid of any semblance of morality ... vile personal gratification ... orgy of criminality ... the shameful glee of the BBC ... glazed faces of Nick Clegg and Boris Johnson ... David Cameron’s judgment has been called into question”.
Paul Dacre doesn’t like Young Dave, Corporal Clegg or Bozza, and smearing the Beeb is compulsory. Moreover, blame can only be laid with those rotten lefties: “Britain’s largest Police force rudderless ... emasculated by politically correct edicts and human rights law ... cowed by left-wing criticism ... paralysed by fear”. There speaks someone brave enough only to sit and whinge.
But the mastery of Dacre is to slip the phone hacking issue in almost as an aside, as if it were some kind of subliminal message. So the reader might not see “the authorities – who for weeks have been obsessed with phone hacking”, although “forcing the resignation of Scotland Yard’s two most senior men ... over a peripheral phone hacking issue” is admittedly rather more visible.
The conclusion, though, is intended to be that somehow those authorities should not have been paying any attention to phone hacking, but rather focusing on confronting the coming rioting and looting, even if there was no sign of it, or intelligence available. That premise is laughably bogus, as is the idea that Young Dave pushed either Paul Stephenson or John Yates, neither or whom answered to him.
Daily Mail readers, of course, are not expected to see through the gaping holes in the argument, but to take on board that phone hacking is so bad that it is partly to blame for the events of the past week. Thus demonised, the subject is expected to be classified as a “non story” by those same readers. It’s almost as if the Vagina Monologue has something to hide.