The reality of his position – that not even the editor of the Daily Mail can bend political reality to his will – has never really sunk in on the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre. Even Election Night in 1997, when his readers failed to vote as instructed – “What the f*** is going on? Those are Daily Mail readers!” – did not convince the Vagina Monologue that there were limits to his influence.
Who the f*** are you calling for swearing, c***?!?
So it is with the issue of boundary changes to Parliamentary constituencies, which was rendered dead and buried the other evening as the Lib Dems, Labour and various nationalists – together with four Tory MPs – came together to end Young Dave’s dream of reducing the size of the Commons from 650 to 600. This was not in accordance with Dacre’s requirements.
So the hatchet jobs were ordered, along with the measure of pure invention – for which, read telling porkies – deemed necessary to make the Mail’s case. That Dacre had invested his own currency in this exercise can be gleaned by the devotion of “Daily Mail Comment”, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue, to putting the boot in on all those rotten lefties.
After deputy political editor Tim Shipman had obediently talked of “Clegg’s revenge”, thus mentioning one of the Mail’s hate figures, the attack began in earnest. “This was Parliament at its most contemptible ... a despicable display of treachery and spite ... to vote against a fundamental principle of democracy” thundered Daily Mail Comment, not noticing that the vote was fundamentally democratic.
Readers were told of “fairer constituency boundaries”. Fairer for whom? Re-drawn in an attempt to feed the right-wing notion that the Tories are at a disadvantage because the present system favours Labour? The idea that the rules ought to be changed to hobble the party that concentrates its vote more effectively in larger towns and cities is the one that is against democracy.
That, of course, is not told, as the intention is to pander to the right: that despite Dacre’s dislike of today’s politicians, he would rather the blue team be in power than the red team. And so, despite his protestations of independence from the Dacre line, would the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not), who obediently trotted out the same drivel, but with the words in a slightly different order.
“In 23 years as a parliamentary reporter, I've never felt such disgust for our political class”, blubbers Quent. Then he talks of “fiddling with constituency boundaries”. A word in your shell-like, Quent: the “fiddling” is what got voted down. The result is that boundaries remain the same, and so there is no fiddling. You’d think that in 23 years doing the job, he could have figured that kind of thing out.
But it gets the readers riled up as ordered, so that’s all right, then.