Was 2011 the year that shame died?

Dominic Sandbrook today claims in the Daily Mail website’s ‘RightMinds’ section that ‘2011 was the year that shame died’. His reasons for believing this to be true are: the London riots; riots across Europe as austerity took hold; Liam Fox clinging to his job; Sally Bercow entering TV’s Big Brother; two England captains (John Terry, Football and Mike Tindall, Rugby) getting into trouble; fat cat bankers; Fred Goodwin and ‘two Croydon girls, drinking a bottle of looted wine at nine in the morning’.

Somehow, Sandbrook doesn’t find any room for even the faintest mention of the shameful state of the tabloid press or the days of appalling evidence of shameless tabloid actions collated so far by the Leveson inquiry.

Instead – like all good tabloid journalists – Sandbrook prefers to blame the normal groups for the death of shame; the ‘feral underclass’, the ‘Left’ and any kind of social liberalism in general. All of the tabloid cliches are wheeled out, including the classic Daily Mail fantasy:

Of course, few of us would enjoy life in the 1950s, when landladies put up ‘No Coloureds’ notices, and when ignorance and intolerance forced tens of thousands of women to seek bloody and dangerous back-street abortions.

Yet thanks in part to the decline of Christianity, we have lost the sense that morality is public as well as private.

The Daily Mail still holds dear the values of the 1950s – institutional racism, deep-rooted misogyny and a rigid, overbearing sense of class division – and as a newspaper is just completing another year of morally bankrupt and socially irresponsible journalism. It is ironic that Sandbrook writes a missive on the death of shame in a newspaper that has no shame, and Sandbrook just reinforces this by not even mentioning the Leveson inquiry of the general conduct of the press in 2011.

Sandbrook hopes that next year:

we can genuinely rediscover the virtues of social responsibility and moral austerity

But he isn’t convinced. I don’t blame him, when one of the most socially and morally bankrupt institutions in the world dares write about shame without even the merest acknowledgment of its own consistently shameful conduct, things are not about to get any better.

Remember when The Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Sun run huge front page stories about Christopher Jefferies – painting him as a ‘nutty professor’, a ‘peeping Tom’, ‘strange’ and many other unproven smears? Remember when those same newspapers – when forced by the courts to apologise – then buried the apologies on page 2?

Shame is just another topic that no tabloid journalist should ever write about unless they are about to confess the sins of their profession.

Steve Doughty: Dear black footballers…

Toughen up you big girls! Why are you whingeing about a bit of (alleged) racial abuse on the pitch? You do realise black players 20 years ago had it much worse 20 don’t you? As for this whole ‘kick racism out of football’ malarky it’s getting dead boring.

I paraphrase, but here are a few choice quotes from Steve Doughty today:

When we read about British footballers levelling complaints of racism against each other, it’s worth making the comparison with what passes as everyday behaviour in a nearby country we are often invited to admire.

Translated: let’s not take racism in British football seriously, because other countries are much worse.

the horrid and open abuse of the past is gone. When crowds pick on black players these days it is the exception, and the fact is quickly reported and condemned… Every club seems to be promoting a kick racism out of football campaign, beyond the point of boredom.

Translated: OK, so a couple of players claim to be have been racially abused, so what? Not like they get it all the time is it? Worse, even though racism isn’t that bad anymore the bloody clubs keep banging on about stopping racism all the bloody time. (Or, he might mean that football without racism is boring.)

I took my elderly mother to watch a game at Highbury for the last time before they knocked it down… In the second half Arsenal sent on an African forward called Kanu. Kanu could either be brilliant or spend all afternoon falling over the ball. On this occasion he kept falling over the ball. A youngish bloke sitting in front of us lost his temper after one particularly ludicrous pratfall and yelled, at the top of his voice, something about ‘you black b*****d’.

There was a terrible silence.

The bloke leaped up and wheeled round 180 degrees in the same movement, shoved his face straight in front of my mother’s, and said in firm and formal tones: ‘I’m terribly sorry about the racist comment.’

You could not imagine such a thing happening at a football match 30 years ago.

Hurrah, you see? Racists apologise politely to old ladies straight afterwords! Aren’t the blacks living in a dream world! This is wonderful progress:

Football reflects us all as it always did, and these days it’s both racist and not racist at the same time. Things may not be perfect but, at the end of the day, Gary, there are worse things to complain about.

Football, you see, reflects us all according to Steve Doughty which makes us all racist and not racist at the same time – by which he means we all complain about ‘black bastards’ but we do apologise straight afterwords if an old lady happens to be present.

I’m pretty sure Steve Doughty isn’t speaking for me here.

Anyway, he does make his message to black footballers clear right at the end – just in case they didn’t pick up on the vibes throughout the article:

So, Mr Evra and Mr Ferdinand, I know you feel insulted. But perhaps in this case you could just put up with it and get on with the game.

Another wonderful contribution to ‘Rightminds’ – Simon Heffer must be so proud.

Kelvin MacKenzie on Dale Farm

Last week Kelvin MacKenzie joked about reporting himself to the Press Complaints Commission for being ‘anti-gypsy‘ after he published his idea of a gypsy flag (a photo of some fly-tipping). This week he finds room for a joke about Dale Farm:

Forty travellers from Dale Farm arrive at the Pearly Gates in their caravans. St Peter goes to the gatehouse and phones up God, asking: ‘Can I let them in?’

God replies: ‘We are full, but tell them to choose among them which are the 12 most worthy and I will let them in.’ A minute later St Peter calls God again: ‘They’ve gone.’

‘What?’ says God, ‘all 40 of them?’

‘No, the Pearly Gates.’

He doesn’t joke about the PCC this week, but he does find room for a correction:

The number of days lost at Nottinghamshire County Council is 8.9 per person per year, not per quarter as I wrote last week. The correction was pointed out by the council’s media department, who were clearly busy at their desks.

What a wonderful place Rightminds is.

Peter Hitchens: Never knowingly out-crazied

It must be tough for the more established Daily Mail / Mail on Sunday stable of writers to feel special now that Rightminds has opened up the Mail website to huge torrents of baffling lunacy. They must look fondly back to the good old days when they knew their own brand of rabid, ignorant ramblings were the toast of the website and equally bovine readers could flock to their comments sections to heap praise upon them. Alternatively, they just embrace the change by ramping up their own lunacy to try and stay one step ahead of the new breed of moronic babblers.

Peter Hitchens – posting his normal weekly drivel today – certainly seems up for the challenge of competing. Whilst James Delingpole started brightly today with his assertion that ‘the BBC fell for a Marxist plot to destroy civilisation from within’ simply because presenters use CE and BCE as well as AD and BC, Hitchens has fought back with this:

Mr Cameron is far closer to Mr Clegg than he is to his own voters.

He loves being manacled to him, and much prefers Coalition to governing alone.

Mr Clegg helps David Cameron ensure that the Government remains pro-EU, pro-crime, anti-education, pro-tax, politically correct and pro-immigration.

The coalition government is ‘pro-crime’ – and, worse than this the government ‘remains’ pro-crime, so that must mean New Labour were also ‘pro-crime’.

‘pro-crime’. And yet Peter Hitchens sometimes seems shocked when people point out to him that he’s more than just a bit dim, really, underneath his attempts at eloquence and his condescending manner. Wasn’t this the government that was determined to make an example of anyone involved in the riots, handing down severe sentences including a 4-year term for someone who posted messages on Facebook. That’s a real pro-crime agenda right there.

It’s a wonderful technique, employed by Peter here and used by so many of his fellow ‘Rightminds’ writers, to simply list things like this as if they are so self-evident they require no further explanation. Yes, the government is somehow ‘anti-education’. Peter doesn’t tell us why, he doesn’t need to, ironically, because fans of his work are the kind of dumbed-down ‘tell-us-what-to-think-please’ idiots that are presumably a product of the nation’s education system since way before the coalition or New Labour came to power.

‘The sick internet craze of “trolling””

The Daily Mail has today published a ‘Special investigation’ (I think this term might simply mean ‘not copied and pasted from news agency’) ‘into the distress of grieving families caused by the sick internet craze of “trolling”‘.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail website has collected its own ‘trolls’ and publishing a column for them today is one Kelvin MacKenzie. You might remember him, he was the Sun editor who decided to go with the following headline after Hillsborough:

According to a very well referenced and tightly edited Wikipedia page:

The story accompanying these headlines claimed that “drunken Liverpool fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims” and “police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon”. A quotation, attributed to an unnamed policeman, claimed a dead girl had been “abused”, and that Liverpool fans were “openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead”.

It was complete rubbish, rather like The Sun in general, and although MacKenzie made an half-hearted apology in 1993 he since took this back stating in 2006:

I was not sorry then and I’m not sorry now.

He also refused to apologise on Question Time in 2007. The Sun issued an apology ‘without reservation’ in 2004.

Just to make matters even more hypocritical, MacKenzie ends his collection of assorted dross today with this:

Don’t know about you, but the regular stories about burglars being killed by home-owners are cheering me up no end. Do you think our Justice Minister might make it mandatory?

Rightminds, where the ‘sick’ Internet trolls get paid.