The use of front page splashes to name and shame those who have incurred the displeasure of our free and fearless press - otherwise known as monstering, bullying, incitement or intimidation - is well known. But until today this unsavoury tactic had been restricted to the mid-range and red-top tabloids: indeed, it is a tried and trusted staple of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail.
But today all was changed as the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph went totally gaga and decided to pinch the Mail’s clothing for a less than totally subtle act of bullying against fifteen Tory MPs who have sensibly decided to call out Theresa May’s ridiculous idea of enshrining in law the date when Britain leaves the EU.
All the fifteen are pictured on the Tel’s front page: Heidi Allen, Stephen Hammond, Nicky Morgan, Oliver Heald, Jonathan Djanogly (Nadine Dorries hates him, so he must be doing something right), Sarah Woolaston, Vicky Ford, Bob Neill, Dominic Grieve, Ken Clarke, Antoinette Sandbach, Paul Masterton, Jeremy Lefroy, Tom Tugendhat, and (ey up, look out, she wants a word with you) Anna Soubry.
This is, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, so unsubtle as to be total bullshit. “The Brexit mutineers” can now take their place alongside those judges whom the Mail declared to be “Enemies of the People” and the “Saboteurs” who needed to be “Crushed” - not that the press incites violence, you understand, that’s what the Rotten Lefties (tm) do, honest - as another group the press has tried, and failed, to demonise.
Why does the Tel think that this idiocy will work to the advantage of their Europhobic agenda? Well, they may have looked at the fear that the spite of the Mail puts into people, but the Vagina Monologue and his obedient hackery have a bigger megaphone, and have worked the bullying and intimidation half to death already. Worse, as the tide of public opinion slowly turns against the headlong rush to leave the European club, the idea that the Tel can bully any of the fifteen into changing course is for the birds.
We can see this from one look at Ms Soubry’s Twitter feed, where she observed “The bullying begins. We want a good Brexit not a Hard ideologically driven Brexit” and later added “#Mutineers include former Chancellor SoS Education AG SG Biz Transport Ministers & 4 serving Select Comm Chairs #Fab15”. There was also a former Justice Minister. She was not being pushed around by the clowns at the Tel.
It may be the way that David and Frederick Barclay (aka The Fabulous Bingo Brothers) do things on the island of Brecqhou, but Great Britain is not the personal fiefdom of the rich and greedy - not yet, anyway. This is another staging post in the sad decline of a once revered name in the press pantheon, and a sure sign that the Brexit hardliners are out if ideas, and out of time. The Telegraph attack is already a busted flush.
The Bingo Brothers took over the Tel, and ran it into the ground in their thirst for short-term profits. Now that the paper is a laughing stock, they can have no complaints.