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Sunday 18 September 2011

Liberal Mail Aggression

Just in case anyone was uncertain where the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre stood on the Liberal Democrats, the start of that party’s annual conference has put them straight. And the word from Dacreland is that Bouncy” Knowles’ latest fan does not like them at all. One cannot conclude otherwise after a raft of personal attacks on the whole of the party’s leadership.

And this should not come as a surprise: it was, after all, the Daily Mail that brought us the magnificently over-the-top “Clegg In Nazi Slur On Britain” front page headline during the last General Election campaign. It is equally unsurprising that Corporal Clegg is number one target this time as well, with a hatchet job alleging he wasIn Turmoil” and that he had promised his wife he would quit the leadership.

This came from “A writer with access to his inner circle”, which means a hack that may or may not have spoken to some Lib Dem MPs. Clegg had to observe on this morning’s Andy Marr Show (tm) that one should not believe everything one read in the Daily Mail. Also on that show – on paper review duty – and also having to caution against belief in Dacreland – was MP Tim Farron.

This was because he, too, has been the recipient of a Mail hatchet job, this time suggesting that he is gay (difficult for someone who is married with just the four children). The Mail is after Farron to make sure they take out not just the leader, but anyone who might succeed him. Which brings us to energy secretary Chris Huhne, also on the wrong end of a Mail kicking.

Huhne’s cardinal sin was to suggest that families concerned about rising energy bills should shop around in the same way they would for other consumer goods. The Dacre hackery has concluded that he has blamed (well, “appeared to blame”, anyway) those hard working Mail readers for all those green costs which, readers are told, have added £200 to annual bills. Except the figure is £34.

And, just to make sure, Vince Cable gets it in the neck as well, in another piece of knocking copy by James Forsyth: he’s not helping business. We know this because “Tory cabinet ministers fume” about it. But we don’t find out who they are, because Forsyth made that bit up. Oh, and Danny Alexander also got his collar felt by Dacre’s finest.

What is Dacre’s problem with the Lib Dems? One clue comes in Andrew Sparrow’s conference blog for the Guardian, where he notes: “delegates have voted for a review that could lead to the partial decriminalisation of drugs”. Any softness on drugs and Dacre will set the attack dogs on you. Be afraid of drugs, Mail readers. Be very afraid. And avoid those softies who aren’t.

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