It’s the Mail that’s destroying faith in our democracy

by Quentin Peel | 10.05.2018

May 10 was a good day for the Daily Mail, judging by that newspaper’s own frantic obsessions and purple prose.

“It’s time to pull the plug on the Lords” was the utterly predictable front page headline, following the House of Lords votes in favour of 14 amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, the centre-piece of the government’s Brexit enabling legislation.

No fewer than six full pages of news and comment were devoted to the issue, with a full-page editorial condemning “these traitors in ermine” for daring to question the draft law in any way. Two further pages of comment singled out “The Lords who Loathe Democracy”, including such dyed-in-the-wool parliamentarians as Neil Kinnock, Michael Heseltine and Chris Patten.

“They’re completely out of control”, read another screaming headline across two pages, above a profile of Waheed Alli, the former TV producer and online clothes retailer, described as “the Labour peer who led the plot to keep Britain shackled to the Single Market.”

But it wasn’t just a splendid day for the Mail to rant against Remainers and “these unelected cronies, dodgy party donors, superannuated political hacks and washed-up Brussels stooges (who) threaten to plunge this country into a democratic crisis that could destroy every last vestige of voters’ faith in the way we are governed.” It was also the day that the newspaper frequently described as the “most influential” in the UK could celebrate the Commons defeat of a bid to reopen the Leveson inquiry into Press standards.

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“MPs reject enemies of free Press” was the headline, above a montage of pictures of Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, arguing passionately for his amendment. He was “press-hating Red Ed … gesticulating wildly, his eyes popping with intensity…flapping his hands from side to side as his voiced cracked with emotion.”

The problem with the Daily Mail’s hysterical form of journalism is that it fails constantly to distinguish between reporting and opinion. Indeed, its so-called reports are riddled with loaded phrases and thinly-disguised commentary, making no attempt to present the unvarnished facts. The newspaper is a classic example of a publication that panders to the prejudices of its readers, rather than ever attempting to challenge them.

But the frantic outpouring of vitriol towards the House of Lords, along similar lines to the furious attack the Mail launched against the Supreme Court judges last year, labelled “enemies of the people”, suggests more than a whiff of panic in the Brexit media camp. Because the government’s utter disarray in the Brexit negotiations, its inability to agree on a coherent strategy, and the constant reminders of the disastrous consequences for the UK economy of the current path to crashing out of the EU, are becoming undeniable, even to the most blinkered Brexiter.

In his unrelenting campaign against the Leveson inquiry, Paul Dacre, the Daily Mail’s editor, seeks to present his newspaper as the champion of a free press and parliamentary democracy. Yet in its vitriolic criticism of such pillars of parliamentary democracy as Supreme Court judges and members of the House of Lords, his newspaper is proving itself to be the greatest threat of all to “every last vestige of voters’ faith in the way we are governed.”

The more the Daily Mail becomes a purveyor of poisonous propaganda, the less it can be considered a serious newspaper.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

15 Responses to “It’s the Mail that’s destroying faith in our democracy”

  • The owner of the Daily Mail, Jonathan Harmsworth, together with Murdoch, Aaron Banks and their other wealthy pals are about to ruin this country.
    They lie about anything that opposes brexit, and Corbyn, for their own avaricious reasons.
    They are determined to remove us from the EU to evade the new EU company anti tax avoidance legislation, that is due to be brought into UK law within two years from January 2019, if we do not leave.
    The only way they can evade it is to make sure we leave the EU.
    They don’t care about the plebs, the normal people of the UK, who will lose jobs, and if in work will be forced to pay more taxes, to cover their deficit.
    The insane PM is in their pockets, fortunately she is incompetent.
    But I suspect that she is flanneling, until she can declare that we are leaving, without a deal, unfairly blaming the EU for intransigence.
    That means we plunge into the worst recession we have ever seen, but she and her supporters will be happy with their billions, in tax haven Britain.

  • Article contains too much logic and too many big words to be anywhere near understandable for the average brexiteer. Try harder to reach the target group, which probably requires to write exactly the way Paul Dacre’s uncut toilet paper supply does.

  • Not all that the Mail publishes is wrong. But when it gets into politics it does its best to stir animosity, encourage an “us and them” attitude and fan the flames of whatever will most appeal to its readers. Perhaps the best way to deal with this vicious comic is to laugh at it….and not to let it share any platform with serious publications. The BBC and Sky could really do us a favour by focussing on this journal and analysing its content (if they dare).
    I thank God for a dedicated English teacher, many years ago, who went out of his way to encourage analytic thought and discussions, using the Mirror, Telegraph, Times and so on as vehicles. He reported then that the Times was aimed at people with a reading age of around 14 years. I believe the Mirror was 7 years…this is a long time ago. The Mail is probably around 4 or 5 years. A comic, but vicious and dangerous. We need to laugh at it.

  • So now the utterly predictable and pathetic Daily Mail hated the Lords too? The same House of Lords which simply revises legislation which is passed to it by the House of Commons which includes legislation pertaining to Brexit. In other words, doing its bloody job!

    Listening to Brexiters/Eurosceptics over the decades, one would have been forgiven for thinking they actually wanted if not ached for parliament and the law courts to have more powers they felt were being taken by Brussels. And yet when MP’s, Lords and judges do the job they were paid to do, the rabid Brexiter aided and abetted by the odious Daily Mail blow their collective tops, denounce them as ”TRAITORS”, ”SABOTEURS” and ”WRECKERS” and demand these powers be curbed!!!

    It is becoming clearer day by day the Daily Mail has little faith in the disastrous Brexit experiment hence their child-like tantrums at every turn.

  • I mentioned the EU. anti tax avoidance legislation months ago as the main impetus for the brexiteers virulent attacks against any one who opposes reasonable debate about leaving the EU. The Mail and the Express cannot really believe the utter rubbish that they print so it stands to reason that they are under a lot of pressure to come up with this terrible “journalism”. I wish that “real” journalists could expose the charlatan owners of these rags, they must be quaking in there boots incase when the time comes (and it will ) they are exposed as the real traitors of this once proud country.

  • To be honest, I would have some difficulty accepting even The Mails’ weather forecast at face value.

  • Do I detect just a teeny bit of hypocrisy? The Mail is pandering to its readership, using emotive and subjective hyperbole. Scandalous! The article by Quentin Peel on the other hand isn’t written with remainers in mind (is it!), and uses professional, considered and objective language such as ‘screaming headline’, ‘frantic outpouring of vitriol’, ‘whiff of panic’, ‘poisonous propaganda’, and a couple of instances of things being ‘utter’.

    Isn’t this article ‘a classic example of a publication that panders to the prejudices of its readers, rather than ever attempting to challenge them.’? (Mr Peel’s exact words). ‘Pot, kettle, black’ springs to mind!

  • What has been written by previous contributors above are true ( with one obvious exception ) and it is all very worrying for what it says about parliamentary democracy in the UK. The nationalist papers in question, as has been pointed out above, confuse reporting on the facts and opinion; it amounts to abuse of the freedom of the press.

    And yet the House of Commons has just voted to cancel what was to be the second stage of the Leverson enquiry. So what is going on in our country ?

  • Ahead of the vote on the amendment that would have introduced Leveson 2, there was massive misrepresentation — in the press — of what Leveson reported. Such misrepresentation started the day the Report of the Leveson Inquiry was published. And the Mail and the like have somehow ensure that they can continue to use of a non-Leveson compliant Code of Practice and a complaints procedure whose decisions would never get through a court of law.
    The latest tactic has been to publish articles which contrive to suggest that the terrible dangers of an unfree press illustrated by state-sponsored killings of journalists in other lands have something to do with the UK press being rendered less unethical, and less mendacious — as it would be If Leveson’s recommendations were implemented.
    Some of our newspapers’ editors evidently equate their freedom with their power they have to undermine democratic principles and practices.

  • The failure of the Mail to report news rather than simply offering opinions is worrying enough, but what I hate is the lies, errors and distortions. Are their writers pig ignorant or are they simply told what to write.? The coverage in the last few weeks, even by the lamentable standards of the paper, has been especially awful.You simply cannot claim to support democracy with such scant regard for facts and the truth

  • The Mail is a disgrace and will continue to be so as long as the British public continue to allow it’s foreign owner the right to peddle it’s bile.
    I hate the idea of having to rein it in but the time has come to ” limit ” its damaging effect on the UK and it’s people