High on its moralistic horse this morning, the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail has been joyously putting the boot in on press campaigner Max Mosley, having discovered an election leaflet from the early 1960s from a campaign in south Manchester. Mosley was, at the time, supportive of his late father’s far-right politics. All this was previously known. But that is not where the Mail is at.
Mosley is a tireless campaigner for more effective press regulation. The family trust set up in the name of his late son Alexander has helped fund independent press regulator Impress. He has donated funds to help Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson (Mosley is now a Labour member). And he has recently indicated possibly taking legal action to stop the persistent repetition of untrue and gratuitous smears against him.
This makes him a prime target for the Dacre boot boys, for whom press regulation means having a sham regulator like IPSO under their control. Losing control of press regulation cannot be countenanced. Anything Leveson related is to be ignored at first, then dismissed, smeared, undermined, discredited, whatever it takes to see it off. And someone with the money to take them to the cleaners - that is the proverbial red rag to the bull.
Hence the all-hands-on-deck full-on treatment this morning, starting with the thundering front page headline “The Mail accuses Max Mosley - who bankrolls Labour’s deputy leader - of racist thuggery, and asks … DID F1 TYCOON LIE TO ORGY TRIAL?” They don’t know, but hey, nudge and wink, and besides, it’s for Rupert Murdoch, and he’s a pal.
Supporting the lead article is another piece which tells readers of “Mr Mosley's own participation in the far-Right politics of his parents, Sir Oswald and Diana, Lady Mosley, at whose marriage in Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels' home Adolf Hitler had been guest of honour” and talks of “Sir Oswald's Union Movement (UM) - the post-war reincarnation of his Jew-hating Blackshirts of the British Union of Fascists”.
Mosley has, of course, long repudiated those politics and those views, and the Mail has very little room to talk on either Nazi support, or indeed anti-Semitism. The paper’s grovelling backing for the Third Reich, and indeed Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts, in the 1930s is the stuff of newspaper legend, as is its righteous opposition to Britain accepting Jewish refugees from Germany. The Mail applauded the annexation of the Sudatenland.
The paper now taking such a high moral stance on political thuggery has its own previous in that area. As has been noted, “In the early 1930s, Rothermere was so close to Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists that Daily Mail staff began to mimic their dress - wearing black shirts to work”. The Blackshirts were thugs, and violent with it
The Mail’s admiration for Oswald Mosley and his far-right politics was not confined to the 1930s. Nor had it been extinguished by the early 60s, the time when Max Mosley was still backing his father’s Union Movement. When Oswald Mosley died, the Mail told its readers that he had been a “much maligned and much misunderstood political giant of his era”.
Oswald Mosley died not in the early 60s, but in 1980. I’ll just leave that one there.