There are stories on the Mail website that you just know are going to attract vast amounts of outraged comments – it is both utterly predictable and depressing in equal measure. Today’s story for attracting racism, ignorance and above all paranoia is: ‘Asda launches Asian clothing in first ethnic fashion line by a High Street brand‘. The story is deemed so important that it gets a large space on the website as the top story selected as ‘Editor’s six of the best’, which I guess just about sums up the priorities of Paul Dacre when it comes to reporting ‘news’.
Naturally the comments are full of paranoid racism from scared Daily Mail readers who see this as another step in the Islamic takeover of Britain. Many commentators state that they will boycott Asda because they want British goods in British shops, which I really think sums up the ignorance of those readers – boycotting an American superstore selling goods sourced from all over the world (including the majority of electronic products produced in China) hardly seems the quintessential British shopping experience.
But then again, maybe it is. The Daily Mail often look fondly back to the days of empire, but isn’t this clothing range a direct product of empire? Our multicultural society was built by empire, as was our appetite for foreign products and produce which we still very much enjoy today. Whilst we may no longer rule vast parts of the world, we still enjoy the spoils of slave labour as sweatshops around the world make our clothes, accessories and electronic goods. As I have argued before, if we really wanted ‘British jobs for British workers’ we should demand an end to this exploitation of foreign labour and insist that eager Britons be given a chance to work in a ‘British Sweatshop for British workers’.
However, commentators on the Daily Mail website don’t try and consider the bigger picture unless it is part of some paranoid alternate reality where Britain is under siege by Muslims. The kind of world where parents are guilty of naming their child ‘Mohammad’ and the English Defence League are seen as defending Englishness rather than destroying it. In the world of the paranoid Daily Mail reader everything is being eroded by foreigners and a clothing line is just another step along the conveyor belt heading towards the apocalypse:
All the classic hallmarks of the chronically misinformed Daily Mail reader – the mythical ‘influx’ of foreigners, the ‘not being allowed to say you’re Christian’ rubbish, the conversion of churches to mosques and quaint British villages to Islamic hotbeds of awful foreignness. It doesn’t matter that the world in her head doesn’t exist, she can get it confirmed by just picking up a copy of the Daily Mail or visiting the Mail website. After all, the Daily Mail is home to ‘Mad” Melanie Phillips who has received endorsement from the BNP and even today has spent another column attacking multi-culturalism for ‘destroying Britishness’.
As usual the old argument about ‘integration’ is wheeled out, but as I’ve argued before, do any of us really integrate into society? Immigration is not a crime and many Britons enjoy the freedom to migrate to other countries – just check out the amount of ex-pats commenting on the Mail website – so why does the Daily Mail treat immigrants as criminals? Why does to people on the Mail website feel so threatened by a clothing line? The answers, of course, lie in the reasons I’ve tried to outline before: we must feel threatened by the disenfranchised and powerless so that we don’t start properly assessing the deeply unjust society we live in and begin to threaten those who are in power and ultimately responsible for the world that we live in.