The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre must be rather pleased with himself today, given the front page of his mighty organ: “Victorious!” is the claim, as readers are told of two campaigns which have allegedly been brought to a successful conclusion. One of these is to stop young children from accessing pornography, something which Dacre has long held to be A Very Bad Thing.
After all, that is his chief complaint about Express Newspapers passing into the hands of Richard “Dirty” Desmond – that Des also runs a stable of what are euphemistically called “top shelf” magazines. It is also Dacre’s main gripe at Channel 4 over the years, so much so that the Daily Mail referred to former CEO Michael Grade as “the pornographer in chief”.
So what of this supposed victory that Dacre and his obedient hackery have declared today? Well, actually there isn’t a victory at all: what has happened is that Young Dave, who has written a jolly good column for today’s Daily Mail, has said that the issue of children getting hold of this porn malarkey is jolly serious and he’s going to get one of his chapesses to have a jolly extensive think about it.
Who f***ing says it's an own goal, c***?!?
Cameron also tells Mail readers that this is all about the equally jolly serious issue of young people becoming sexualised prematurely. He asserts that “I have appointed Claire Perry MP to be my adviser on preventing the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood ... I pledge to do whatever I can to preserve that innocence and protect our children. Nothing matters more”.
Now, those who know the Mail Online site of old may at this point be wondering exactly how Paul Dacre and Martin Clarke are going to manage this one: after all, it was only last month that I called out the appallingly righteous Peter Hitchens after he had railed against doctors for prescribing contraceptives for the under-16s and had tried to give the impression that it was all the Government’s fault.
The problem for Hitch – and it’s the same one for anyone who sounds off on the subject in the Mail – is that Mail Online has serious form when it comes to premature sexualisation of the young. This is, after all, the website that routinely publishes photos – often lots of photos – of girls who are not merely under age, but as young as 13, under the pretext of their “growing up fast” or looking “all grown up”.
So if the web is to have prematurely sexualised images screened out – and not everyone, as Mic Wright notes, is convinced that the move would work – this could end up blocking access to Mail Online, and thus stopping all that hit-bait that lurks in the infamous “sidebar of shame” luring the curious and keeping the advertisers shelling out. It’s a strange victory that gets your own product banned.
Not that the Daily Mail is full of hypocrites playing both sides of the field, of course.