Back in the day, Private Eye magazine used to run what it called the Shit Of The Year Award, and, during the 70s and 80s, there was no shortage of contenders. Well, now Zelo Street has briefly revived the competition, and the events of the past 24 hours have demonstrated that there can be only one winner: step forward the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail.
Who're you f***ing calling a shit, c***?!?
As if the disgraceful treatment of Mil The Younger were not good enough reason – not merely because of Geoffrey “Lickspittle” Levy’s hatchet job, but also because of the gate-crashing of a memorial event for Miliband’s late uncle at Guy’s Hospital – Dacre has now gone beyond the pale in blatantly breaking the confidence of another journalist merely to fuel an act of petty vindictiveness.
On this week’s Question Time, where Dacre’s representative on earth Quentin Letts (let’s not) was given a suitably hard time by a refreshingly discerning audience, the Daily Mail was also given both barrels in some style by Huffington Post UK Political Editor Mehdi Hasan. Coming on top of the rest of the week’s events, and Letts’ lamely unconvincing performance, this was clearly too much.
So it became known yesterday – and, as Mrs Beckermann says to Charlie Croker in The Italian Job, It Wasn’t An Accident – that Hasan had written to the Vagina Monologue three years ago on the off-chance of getting a weekly column on the Mail. If he had thought – as anyone making such a pitch would – that he was writing in confidence, he had another think coming.
Because the contents of his letter were first teased by obedient Dacre doggie Tim Shipman, and then passed to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, the latter action taken in certainty of immediate publication, and because being so favoured would keep Staines and his pals eager to do Dacre’s bidding and lay off criticising anyone at the Mail.
Paul Dacre might imagine that his apparently teaching Mehdi Hasan a lesson will enhance the obedience of others and not cause too much damage to his reputation, but he is plain flat wrong: anyone considering writing to him now knows he cannot be trusted any further than he can be chucked, and those aiding and abetting this act are equally tarnished merely by their participation.
The Daily Mail’s editor has shown the world that he is totally without principle, prepared to abuse any confidence in order to bully others into submission, and immune to any kind of common decency, as well as being an intolerant, bigoted and humourless hypocrite. He is unchallenged in this brief revival of the Shit Of The Year Award: Paul Dacre is truly and indisputably full of the stuff.
And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving fellow. Pity about the smell, mind.