The hate filled Daily Mail reaches a new low

Vile Daily Mail

A message to the Daily Mail:

We like our country. If you hate it so much why don’t you push off to wherever you came from and take all your hate with you.


They started by smearing all welfare recipients as feckless scroungers, now its feckless scrounging child murderers.  As we speak I expect the hunt is on for a feckless scrounging, Polish, black, lesbian, child murderer, living in a mansion on welfare for Thursday’s front page.

Just in case any Daily Mail readers pop in here (unlikely) and don’t ‘get it’. I had better explain.  The story depicted on the front page is tragic, terrible, disgusting beyond description but it is contemptible and utterly cynical to use this to promote the continuing rightwing campaign of hate filled lies and disinformation aimed at smearing and dehumanising welfare recipients, the disabled,  immigrants, and our welfare system.   This story is a one off and obviously has no more relevance to questions of welfare than the murders of Dr Shipman had to the health sevice or the ‘murderer’ Lord Lucan had to the British aristocracy.

In his twenties Philpott nearly killed two women in a frenzied knife attack.  He was not on benefits – he was in the army. Was the army to blame??   The real issue here is how we as a society allowed this man to abuse women for so long, even fueling him with prurient media attention. Had the abuse been dealt with, the children would probably still be alive. If there is any message from this horrible affair it is the fact that two women are killed each week by their partner or ex partner and we just let it carry on happening.

The other message is that there is something seriously wrong with the psychology of wealthy men, like Osborne and Cameron, who were lucky enough to be born millionaires and who have never had a proper job but find it necessary to use the Philpott story to supplement their campaign of vilification and smear against those less fortunate than themselves. A campaign that clearly aims to demonise and stir up hatred for political gain rather than approach the real issues and problems through a rational, reasoned, evidence based debate.

The reality is that the British are ‘mostly’ a tolerant and compassionate bunch who want a welfare service that is available to those who need it (an insurance policy for us all). But they are aware that previous governments of both parties have taken their eye off the ball. It was during Thatcher’s government that large swathes of traditional industry were decimated leaving communities throughout the country with literally no jobs and consequently self respect and morale were destroyed for generations. It was under her government that large numbers of unemployed were cynically transferred to invalidity benefit to ‘hide’ the atrocious unemployment figures. It was Labour who had thirteen years and a ‘booming’ economy to put things right and although some progress was made it was disappointing compared to the size of the problem. So both parties left us with a mess – poor, demoralised communities forced against their will into dependence on the welfare state. This was a government generated problem.  Cherry picking isolated, extreme examples that fit a distorted world view just demonstrates a cynical disregard for honest debate.

We need to protect benefits against cheats and thieves. But freak cases tell us nothing about what is happening to the majority of benefit claiments – those working long hours to make ends meet because they are paid less than a living wage.



This excellent article puts things into a more reasoned perspective:
Mrs Justice Thirlwall: The one woman Philpott couldn’t defeat   Grace Dent, Independent, 5th April 2013

Martine White is a product of British welfare, not Mick Philpott Polly Toynbee Guardian 4th April 2013

Don’t get mad about the Mail’s use of the Philpotts to tarnish the poor – get even  Zoe Williams, The Guardian, Wednesday 3 April 2013

Stephen Seddon murdered his parents for their money, does this mean we need to Reform Inheritance tax?   New Statesman, 3 April 2013

Believe that we cannot afford the welfare state?? Try reading this: The lie of ‘unaffordability’: the foundations of the welfare state and the REAL ‘structural’ problems

False association / illusory correlation: a technique used frequently by Daily Mail: e.g. Always start any article on welfare with a rare and extreme example of abuse of the system with aim of subliminally (and falsely) smearing and vilifying all welfare recipients.

Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, Christian, married, bloke from the Home Counties says Tory MP, John Glen.

On the night before a likely cabinet reshuffle it might be worth remembering this very strange and rather unpleasant article from the Daily Mail of Nov 2010: Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP

Cameron won't make me a Minister... I'm a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP John Glen

The article claims that John Glen “has made a scathing attack on David Cameron for pro­moting women and people from the ethnic minorities over ‘white, Christian, married’ men” and that he  said “his background effectively ruled him out for a ministerial job under Mr Cameron.”

He said: ‘I don’t anticipate any early calls to Government. I’m a white, Christian, married bloke from the Home Counties so I probably don’t fit the description of what the leadership wants at the moment.’

The Daily Mail in its usual unpleasant  style made the most of this – any excuse to imply that ethnic minorities and women might be getting the upper hand irrespective of the evidence.  But then evidence and facts are generally ignored by the Daily Mail.

The facts of course are that out of 100 government ministers less than 20 are women and only a couple are from ethnic minorities.

In fact of course most ministers are white, male, home counties etc etc.  A disturbingly large number went to Eton & Oxbridge, were born wealthy, have never had a proper job and seem singularly unqualified for their roles, why didn’t John Glen mention that?

I don’t normally recommend a Daily Mail article but I assume that the quotes are correct and it is worth reading just for these.

Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP

UPDATE (Tuesday 4th Sept 2012):  as far as I am aware John Glen has not made it into the cabinet or become a junior minister in the reshuffle. However, Cameron’s new cabinet consists of 85% men, 100% white,70% Oxbridge, 100% wealthy and not one lives in the real world.  So Mr Glen, where are all those women and ethnic minorities???

WHY is this important? The headline is designed to reinforce the Daily Mail’s continuing agenda of racism and misogyny. It implies that a male, white, home counties, Christian is somehow at a disadvantage compared to ethnic minorities or women. The article does not offer one shred of evidence to support this. In fact the allegation is clearly ridiculous, particularly given the make up of our current government.  But the majority of Mail readers will not read the article in full, they will just see the headline and confirmation bias will allow them to reinforce their prejudices.  This particular example is too comical to be taken particularly seriously but the insidious effect of unsubstantiated and usually totally false headlines day in day out should not be underestimated.

UPDATE: Just heard (Wed 12th Sept 2012) that John Glen has been made PPS to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  Congratulations to John.

This should be interesting to watch as John Glen grapples with the conflict between the interests of his constituents and the doctrinaire policies of Eric Pickles.

UPDATE: (3rd Oct 2012) Seems John failed to have any influence on Eric (Localism) Pickles concerning the Hampton Park II estate which has got the go ahead over the wishes of residents and councillors.
Pickles  1  Localism 0
Hampton Park II to go ahead after review plea fails (Salisbury Journal, 3rd Oct 2012)

UPDATE: 22nd Dec 2012 Here is the latest photo of the Cabinet, taken to commemorate the visit of the Queen.    Yes, David Cameron has certainly been “promoting women and people from the ethnic minorities over ‘white, Christian, married’ men” here’s the evidence:

Photo of Cabinet

UPDATE (PMQs 5th Feb 2014):  David Cameron’s all white, all male, front bench:allmalefrontbench2

The tory party freeing upwomento do other things

UPDATE 28th Sept 2014: Have just noticed that John Glen has been promoted to the Number 10 Policy Board (Home Affairs and Constitution) to work on the constitution and devolution.   So perhaps being a white, home counties, Oxford educated, Christian wasn’t such a dreadful disadvantage after all. Well done John!

UPDATE Feb 2017. Just thought I would add a photo of the current cabinet. I guess Mr Glen can feel disgruntled about the small increase in the number of women in the cabinet at his expense but other wise it looks like the same old mix of white, home counties, privately, educated men:

current cabinet

UPDATE: June 2017 John Glen MP has finally made it – he has been made a Junior Minister (Minister for the Arts, Heritage & Tourism) at the Department of Culture Media and Sport – well done John.

UPDATE: Sept 2018  Having been promoted in Jan 2018 to  Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, John Glen has now blotted his copybook somewhat by accidentally revealing a Treasury no-deal Brexit document ‘Operation Yellowhammer’.

john glen yellowhammer