Former Sun editor Kelvin McFilth has demonstrated many key skills in the recent past: being so poisonous a presence that no newspaper will hire him, an ability to argue the toss that lost him an annual £250,000 from the Daily Mail, the demonstration that he can still play the whining victim at the age of 65, and the shortest Maily Telegraph career on record.
Now, though, he has added another skill to that list: the continued ability to lie so badly that it landed the Mail with a non-trivial legal bill. Not that you would know from most of the press – still maintaining the tradition of Omerta – but it seems that, while at the Mail, Kel libelled a Hastings GP, thus demonstrating that the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre’s decision to bin him was spot on.
It also demonstrated excellent timing from those at the Tel – notably former Liverpool player Alan Hansen, who had been on the pitch at Hillsborough as the tragic crush in the Leppings Lane end pens took place – who gave then editor Tony Gallagher little choice but to bin him. The Guardian reported his departure on April 5 last year. Three days later came news of the libel action.
As Press Gazette reported yesterday, “Spanish-born GP Jose Antonio Serrano Garcia, 44, sued over an April 2012 article which appeared in the Daily Mail under the heading: ‘A whole year of hell, thanks to a foreign doctor’”. The McFilth invective was as uncompromising and nasty as ever, talking of “foreign doctors working in the NHS who, for reasons deriving from their being foreign, are seriously incompetent, inadequate or otherwise unacceptable”.
“For reasons deriving from their being foreign”. Kel’s the kind of bloke who, had he run a pub in the early 60s, would have had a “No blacks, no Irish” sign displayed. He’d regale regulars by telling “I think that Apartheid thing in South Africa is wrong, but that Henrik Verwoerd geezer has a point”.
Doctor Serrano, it seems, was not incompetent, and nor was there, as McFilth suggested, a language barrier between him and his patients. Nor, indeed, did he, as the article made out, ignore what one particular patient was telling him. And again, nor was the doctor wrong to write to the DVLA about a bus driver whose thirst endangered his occupation – and his health.
So it should surprise no-one that the Mail, despite the customary practice of contesting the claim all the way to court (Leveson critics take note), found itself having to stump up £45,000 in damages, plus costs for both sides, which will probably be, oh I dunno, well north of another £200k on top. Kel has maintained one tradition all the way from his time at the Sun: his pants are still ablaze.
As he is now unemployable, there, sadly, goes Kelvin MacKenzie. On his way ... out.
The Sunday Sport calls.
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