How wonderful to be a Daily Mail reader! You can feel morally superior not only to immigrants and benefit claimants, but also the Prince of Wales’ wife! Their Saturday headline was Camilla shouldn’t be queen, say public. Morally superior, but only at the cost of being permanently angry, and daily apoplectic: yesterday’s headline was “Labour’s Queen of Hypocrisy“- Labour MP says something moderately sensible, having bought a housing association house in an auction. How that might make wanting housing associations to maintain a stock of affordable housing hypocritical is a mystery.
I asked the coffee bar owner if that was his politics. Diplomatically, he said they used to get the Daily Mail all the time, and he’s not entirely happy with that, but now they get random newspapers. It’s an election campaign! That means you can offend everybody!
Mail morality is based on hating, fearing and feeling superior. On 27 October 2010 it cried “75% of Incapacity claimants are fit to work”, not bothering to state that the test had been rewritten with precisely that purpose. It has been made worse since, but then someone unable to use a pen to “make a meaningful mark”, such as a tick or cross, would only score nine points, insufficient to get the benefit.
March 4 2015 neatly linked two hate groups: “Jihadi John family’s 2o years on benefits”.
Thought or analysis is rare. Mail readers are told the emotional reaction they should have. A measured response, on the one hand this, on the other hand that, is unheard of. Mail readers are told that their thoughtless bigotry is courageous: on 16 March it screamed “At last! A man who dares tell truth about race”. Occasionally it gives a useful tip, though long after you heard it somewhere else. For example, you should shop around when you renew insurance; but it couched it as Shock! Horror! “The betrayal of loyal customers.” You are a good, “Loyal”, person, and it counts for Nothing! What a wonderful opportunity for self-pity. On the same page, familiarly, and with mocking condescension and fake pity, it addresses the Duchess of Cambridge: “Oh Kate, are you really showing grey roots at 33?” Do we care? Mail readers are obsessed with the Royal Family.
A large part of the front page each day is a picture of an attractive woman, usually in her thirties, because the readership is older. The top third gives a Special Offer: “Free bag of compost delivered free to your door!” As opposed to the usual delivery of manure.
I know it is an old joke. Dan and Dan nailed it brilliantly. Who’d live in a democracy, eh? I choose my picture to give us something beautiful.