The founder of the Daily Mail – Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe – started the Daily Mail as a nationalistic newspaper designed to stand ‘for the power, the supremacy and the greatness of the British Empire’. David Lloyd George referred to Northcliffe as ‘one of the biggest intriguers and most unscrupulous people in the country’ and earned the wrath of Northcliffe and the Daily Mail when he refused Northcliffe’s list of people who should be in his new government.
When the Daily Mail wants a certain outcome it isn’t afraid to dispense with even the vaguest pretence of being a newspaper and is happy to become a propaganda machine for the Conservative Party. Just look at the attacks against the Liberal Democrats:
- ‘First Brown, and now Clegg is attacked by Radio One listeners as they rip apart his plan for immigration amnesty‘
- ‘Let’s copy Cameron: Nick Clegg’s secret debate dossier found in the back of cab
- ‘Ken Clarke warns a hung parliament could spook markets and prompt IMF bailout‘
- ‘How the Lib Dems would release 60,000 convicts‘ – one of the most dishonest, stupid and disgusting articles I have ever read. It is torn apart in the comments section, and the comments criticising him are in the green which is very rare.
- ‘Clegg: The wheels begin to fall off as Lib Dem leader comes under fire over expenses and lobby firm links‘
- ‘RICHARD WAGHORNE: The Lib Dems are a party full of shadow lobbyists‘
- ‘So much for Mr Persil White, Mr Anti-Politics: Nick Clegg struggles to field some embarrassing questions‘
- ‘LEO MCKINSTRY: The Lib Dems’ stance on immigrants is their most dishonest (and dangerous) policy yet‘
- ‘No need to imagine what it’s like to have Lib Dems in charge – just look at their poor council record‘
- ‘PETER OBORNE: The Great Liberal deception‘
- ‘It’s time for voters to wake up and get real‘
- ‘Connect the euro-dots: Clegg, Alexander…CIA?‘
- ‘The smile on the face of the crocodile‘
The political process requires an active, questioning and investigative press. What it doesn’t need it a newspaper offering up dishonest attacks aimed at discrediting one political party in favour of another. The Daily Mail has consistently attacked Gordon Brown, but never to the extent that Clegg is now being attacked, largely because Brown was never perceived as a real threat. Cameron and the Conservatives have pretty much escaped scrutiny. Even when the Daily Mail reports that London is the most unequal city in the Western world with the top 10% being worth a staggering 273 times more than the poorest 10% they do not mention Conservative plans to scrap the 50p tax rate for those top earners, nor do they mention the scrapping of the ‘mansion tax’. Yet any other issue is immediately linked in some way to the Liberal Democrats, even though they haven’t been in power for so long they couldn’t possibly have caused or contributed to any of the current problems.
This election does bring hope of real change, and perhaps a belief that power can reside outside of either Labour or the Conservatives. The Conservatives were voted out of office in 1997 in a landslide of utter disgust, and Labour are facing a similar defeat in this election. However, it would be strange to hand the reins back to the Conservatives when they are no better than the shower of elitist shit that was dispensed with and rejected so overwhelmingly in 1997.
The Daily Mail know the Conservatives cannot win the election through policies – as their policies are only going to benefit the richest 6% – and David Cameron seems insistent on not actually discussing on elaborating on policy, just an endless stream of meaningless soundbites. They know that they cannot polish an electoral turd or sell the Conservatives as a great hope. So they do what they know best: discredit, bully, attack, lie, skewer and most importantly ramp up as much fear as possible so that people are scared into voting Conservative as the lesser evil.
I wonder if this time it will work, as surely there must be a backlash against being told who to vote for by a newspaper that – outside of its ignorant readership – is universally reviled and hated? Only time will tell, but I sincerely hope people vote for the policies they agree with, not vote for the person that the Daily Mail tells them to.