In Flat Earth News, Nick Davies devoted a whole chapter to the aggressive and righteous behaviour of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Mail. And one thing that came clear was the casual racism: “I have never come across a reporter from the Daily Mail who did not have some ... story of black people being excluded from the paper because of their colour”.
Which foreign c*** just called me a f***ing racist? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
It was, apparently, not just black people. “A district reporter told me he would call up from Manchester to tell the news desk a story, ‘And they would always ask “Are they our kind of people?” ie “Are they white, middle class?” Or more often it would be : “Are they of the dusky hue?” And if they were of the dusky hue, then they didn’t want the story’”. Straightforward, if casual, racism.
And this seeps out into the kind of language used by the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday, with the latter providing a typically gratuitous example in yesterday’s Black Dog column. Under the hilariously mis-spelt sub-heading “Sleepy Suffolk gets a taste of the erotic” – they meant to say “exotic” – readers are told, in patronising and sneering terms, about the Tories’ potential replacement for David Ruffley.
“If you want to see how much the Tory Party has changed, go to quintessentially Olde English Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk on Tuesday” it tells. “Olde English” and “sleepy”? If only the MoS hack who cobbled this together had gone to Liverpool Street and taken a train there. They might have seen that rather large sugar factory and the equally substantial Greene King Brewery. Sleepy indeed.
Call casual racism for what it it - racism
But do go on: “Favourite to succeed retiring local Conservative MP David Ruffley is the exotically named Zehra Zaidi – a young law student and human rights worker with family roots in India and Pakistan. She speaks French, Urdu and Italian – very handy when buying turnips in the town market”. And what, pray, is “exotic” about her name, unless this is code for something else?
While we’re at it, why the sneering at her speaking four languages? Oh, but I forgot: for the Mail titles, speaking other languages is what Johnny Foreigner has to do, isn’t it? We British can make ourselves understood merely by speaking English VERY SLOWLY AND VERY LOUDLY. I mean, she’s even leant to converse with the dastardly garlic-crunching French, which must be A Very Bad Thing.
At least there is no longer any reference to “The dusky hue”, or “Our kind of people”. But the casual racism lingers on: instead of saying that Ms Zaidi has been shortlisted for the Conservative Party’s candidate for Bury St Edmunds, it has to trowel on that she’s got family in India and Pakistan, and can speak foreign.
What would be good to know is whether Ms Zaidi will be a good MP if selected, and then elected. Being “White British” is no guarantee of that, Mail people.