[Update at end of post]
And there I was, thinking that the papers practising the very cheapest and nastiest agenda driven hackery were those owned by Richard “Dirty” Desmond. Today I have been disabused of this notion by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient rabble of dubiously talented folks as The Great Man has turned grovellingly Royalist and called for the building of a new Royal yacht.
This frankly daft idea had been floated by Education Secretary “Oiky” Gove – that alone should have been sufficient to kill it off – and rapidly moved from being a public project to one merely financed by voluntary public subscription. The grateful subjects would willingly stump up the £80 million or so to replace the Britannia, taken away from a tearful monarch by the dastardly Tone (and, of course, Pa Broon).
Listen c***, don't call me a f***ing spiv, right?
So Dacre, the presence behind “Daily Mail Comment”, today led the charge, announcing “The hour has come for a new Britannia”, and letting folks know that the Mail has been campaigning for this since, ooh, October. There is “massive new support” for the campaign, with the Royals “understood to be” in favour (translation: Dacre doesn’t know). We will get “a Britannia for the modern age”.
This, though, is insufficient on its own, so a number of those fawning hacks have to pile in behind. And there is none better at fawning and piling in than the obnoxious Quentin Letts (Let’s not), who grovellingly lauded Gove as “Champion of the briny, a veritable Captain Haddock”, before reverting to type and sniggering at Gove’s shadow Stephen Twigg (“rose to the poop deck”).
And just in case we didn’t know that the odious Letts was having a sly dig at someone who is gay, there was a “Hello sailor” reference too. Laugh? I thought I’d never start. But Letts is not alone in asking “how high” when the Vagina Monologue tells him to jump: James Chapman has also heard His Master’s Voice, announcing patriotically “Britannia CAN rule the waves”.
To accompany his piece – which is, more or less, yet more wall to wall grovelling and simpering – readers get to see a cut-away artist’s impression of the new craft, which, we are assured, “won’t cost you a penny”. Many of London’s council tax payers, seeing what happened with the Boris Bus, cable car and cycle scheme, may indulge in a little hollow laughter.
Also joining the grovelfest is Robert Hardman, with the same artist’s impression, and the same message. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. But this is a very Mail cause: over at the Maily Telegraph, the only one weighing in is Ed “Case” West, who sums up his opinion succinctly: “Buying the Queen a new yacht is a daft idea” and for once I agree wholeheartedly with him.
But Dacre’s target audience may not. That’s what he’s banking on.
[UPDATE 18 January: that the push for a new Royal Yacht has been personally decreed by the Vagina Monologue has been confirmed by the Ephraim Hardcastle column, domain of Peter McKay, aka Peter McHackey, aka Peter McLie, aka The World's Worst Columnist.
McHackey has spoken up for the new Yacht by kicking Chris Huhne, a favourite Mail bogeyman, and suggesting he leaked the letter from "Oiky" Gove on the subject. He then combines grovelling to Dacre with gay-bashing as he talks of Gove's shadow Stephen Twigg in terms of "the ratings who want to mutiny below deck" (and there's more gay-bashing directed at Elton John, just so readers know what is right and what is A Very Bad Thing).
Expect lots more Royal Yacht rubbish in the days to come, combined with the usual diet of righteousness]