Nick Davies observed in Flat Earth News that “The idea of a stable family is somewhere close to the heart of Mail values. This means, for example, that women who choose work rather than child-rearing can become targets for Paul Dacre’s aggression”. Likewise, politicians, as the Government has discovered this morning, can become targets for apparently favouring working women.
“Another Insult To Stay-Home Mothers” thundered the Mail’s front page headline today, as Tim Shipman, supposedly the paper’s deputy Political Editor, but in reality just another Dacre attack doggie who meekly asks “how high?” when the Vagina Monologue commands him to jump, has taken a proposal to give childcare vouchers to working couples and twisted it to suit the paper’s agenda.
“Plans to give childcare vouchers to families with two working parents were branded ‘deeply insulting’ to stay-at-home mothers last night” Shipman asserts, laying in to the proposals from the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet. They were? By whom? Ah well. The Mail, as with many issues, has a go-to talking head for this kind of thing.
Step forward Laura Perrins, “former barrister turned stay-at-home mother”, for which read “highly knowledgeable and able to confidently articulate her stance”, who many readers will never have heard of, but whose views coincide with those of the Mail. After all, she’s already “ambushed” and “mauled” Corporal Clegg on air – well, in the Mail’s retelling, she has – and so she is held to be in the right.
Backing up the Dacre line, but purely by coincidence you understand, and in the same paper, is Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, who laments “I despair of a Tory Party that bribes mothers to get others to take care of their children”. Mel gets down to business in the first paragraph, by accusing the Coalition of “truly eye-watering illiberalism”.
That’s from the same pundit who wants a truly eye-wateringly illiberal approach to currently illegal drugs, including jailing anyone venturing near them. She is at the forefront of moves to repeal the Human Rights Act. Yet she has the brass neck to talk of others being “illiberal”. “More than one million households in which mothers choose to remain at home to care for their children will get nothing” she rants.
And how many of that million, pray, are in receipt of some kind of benefit, for which the Mail and its pundits will play the other side of the field and rail against? Never mind, Mel has a classic “look over there” lined up: “the cheerleaders of this militant tendency, Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt, who had wormed their way into the Cabinet”. See? It was the rotten lefties all along.
Mad Mel makes no sense. But neither does Shipman. No change there, then.