At the end of the final chapter of the excellent Flat Earth News, Nick Davies observes “I know of nothing anywhere in the rest of the world’s media which matches the unmitigated spite of an attack from the Daily Mail”. The paper’s aggression, given the almost total absence of regulation, “is free to cripple reputations, free to kill ideas, regardless of justice, regardless of truth”.
What's f***ing wrong with character assassination, c***?!?
This morning, Business Secretary Vince Cable knows all about the “unmitigated spite” part: the Mail has gone after him all guns blazing, determined to “cripple reputations” as it goes, seemingly unaware of the rank hypocrisy in which it is indulging. And there is only one reason for the attacks: Cable has voiced his belief that the Coalition might not make it to 2015.
Moreover, he is considered too close to Labour. Why? Ah well. The Mail does not need to explain itself: all its readers need to be told is that Cable arrived at the Lib Dems by way of the SDP, and that is enough. So who is up for a little hypocrisy this morning – or even a lot of hypocrisy? Step forward Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover to transfer all of his most unappealing attributes to Cable.
“Shameless treachery: Mr Cable is the most disloyal and devious politician of our times” thunders the headline, followed by “shameless ... sheer unpleasantness ... chronic disloyalty ... endless vanity ... gross insubordination ... loopy ... unhinged ...sanctimonious rabble-rouser ... busted flush ... fifth columnist”. Yep, that just about sums up Glover.
Joining Glover in a trip down hypocrisy lane is Quentin Letts (let’s not) who proclaims “Vince Cable, the rep from Saga Holidays, gave the 'big speech' of the day”. Very good Quent, and how old is your editor next birthday? Readers are treated to “sly treachery ... incollegiate ... hypocrisy”. Yes, Letts is accusing someone else of hypocrisy. He’ll be claiming to have taken notes next.
Meanwhile, the Mail’s supposed “news” operation (ho ho ho) is talking up Lib Dem splits between Cable and others, where they don’t exist except in the minds of the Northcliffe House newsroom. “Allies of Mr Cable have privately suggested that if there is a hung Parliament, he could become Chancellor in a coalition with Labour and oust Mr Clegg as Lib Dem leader”, they tell.
Aye, so private are the suggestions that nobody knows where they came from. The Mail would be in deep schtuck if it had to pony up some actual evidence. No, all this shows is the spiteful hypocrisy of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery: had it been a senior Labour figure stepping out of line, they would be cheering such a move to the rafters.
Free speech: good only when exercised as Dacre dictates. No change there, then.