The slow and sad decline in the power, influence and above all credibility of the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre has been sad to see: from the bizarre hatchet job on Leveson Inquiry advisor David Bell, through the hypocritical and vicious attack on the memory of Ralph Miliband, to his meltdown after Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson suggested the Mail may be peddling Islamophobic hate, it was all downhill.
What the f*** do I care about workers' safety, c***? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
This cycle of increasing desperation has now arrived at the point where the Mail has become a parody of itself, as if the front pages were being devised by someone at NewsThump. One look at yesterday’s effort, and today’s follow-up, tells you all you need to know. “DEATH KNELL FOR COMMON SENSE … Big Ben silenced for FOUR years to protect workers’ hearing … yes, it’s all down to Health and Safety!” came yesterday.
The idea that those working on the restoration of what is now called the Elizabeth Tower should have their hearing permanently damaged, and perhaps worse, so that Big Ben can continue chiming while they work on all four clock faces, the mechanism that drives the clock, the structure of the tower, provision of better access and emergency egress, and still keep to the four year timescale, is little short of preposterous.
But the Dacre doggies returned to their vomit this morning, telling readers “BONG! NOW A BIG BEN CLIMBDOWN … MPs who signed off facelift say they didn’t know about bell’s four-year silence and pledge: We’ll think again”. They sodding well won’t. The cost of the restoration is already high enough, thanks. If Dacre and his goons want the whole exercise revisiting, they can open their wallets to fund the difference. They won’t.
Instead, the Vagina Monologue has appointed tedious and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn to whine “The Blitz could not silence Big Ben, but the Little Hitlers of elf’n’safety have succeeded where the Fuhrer failed … Their entirely predictable excuse is that the precaution is necessary to protect the hearing of building workers … Fair enough, but surely issuing noise-cancelling headsets would be sufficient. Bose will sell you a top-of-the-range number for a couple of hundred quid”.
So speaks a Briton so proud he lives in North Vero Beach, Florida.
And it’s all total crap. How can the bells be taken away for X-Raying if they’re going to be chiming every hour, or more frequently in the case of the smaller ones? How do the Dacre doggies expect the glass in the clock faces to be removed for restoration and cleaning if the mechanism is still active? Since when was Northcliffe House the repository of all knowledge on building restoration and project management?
The whole faux outrage is part of the modern tabloid tendency to dismiss the experts in their fields in favour of hacks and pundits with no knowledge of the subject areas other than the hot air they generate when discussing them. Climate change? Nah, not happening. Vaccination? Nah, don’t need it. Cuts in services could be dangerous? Nah, just send more of the ungrateful oiks down the road. Dacre knows best.
Except he doesn’t, this is going nowhere, and politicians of all parties should quit treating the Mail’s pointless ranting with kid-gloved reverence. The old fool is out of time.