To Daily Mail opponents, one response remains

Paul Dacre dismissed those who marched on the Daily Mail's offices as “just 110 people”  - yet I would argue this is a reasonably significant body of people

Share
Related Topics

At the end of a week in which he resisted the temptation to slug it out with Alastair Campbell, and he evaded those journalists who turned up on his various doorsteps (Channel 4 reporter Alex Thompson's blog on this subject is very entertaining), the Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre chose the perfectly reasonable course of explaining himself in an authored piece in his own newspaper. It was, as you might expect, a strident and powerfully argued article in which he defended his newspaper's position over its controversial portrait of Ed Miliband's father as a “man who hated Britain”.

Mr Dacre had clearly spent last week gathering his thoughts as the furore raged aground him, because it was a weighty old response, occupying almost an entire two-page spread. If it was a tad too long, who was going to tell him that? “Great piece, Paul, but could you cut 300 words?” Hmm...maybe not. Actually, the defence of his newspaper's actions could have been encapsulated in just three words: freedom of speech.

Of course, Mr Dacre couldn't let the opportunity go by without launching a few rhetorical Exocets towards his time-honoured targets - the BBC, the Labour Party, Alastair Campbell, and that metropolitan, Russell Brand-loving, Groucho Club-going, Channel 4-watching elite who are corrupting decent British values - but his argument was quite straightforward, and was one which this particular liberal, metropolitanite could easily get behind.

Sure, the headline was a bit over-the-top (but students of the Daily Mail will not have not found that out of character), and the piece was written from a clear political standpoint, but so what? You don't have to agree with a single syllable of it, but I can't believe that anyone of sound mind would suggest pieces such as this should be banned, save any offence may be caused.

Mr Dacre dismissed those who marched on the Daily Mail's offices - “just 110 people”, he said - yet I would argue that, in an age where activism means sitting in a bedroom and composing a 140-character sobriquet, this is a reasonably significant body of people. But what did they want? A personal apology? Sanctions against the paper? A fist-fight with Mr Dacre? No, what they wanted to do was register their disapproval, which, in a free society, is simply the other side of the coin that permits newspapers to print opinions of which some may disapprove.

Mr Dacre is certain that the vast majority of his readers don't take exception to his world view, but while one can only admire the unshakeable belief in his understanding of his audience's tastes and inclinations, I'm not so sure. Throughout his article, he talks of “decent, working Britons” and “ordinary people who are our readers”, but I don't think life is as simple as that any more. The average Middle English family of today will probably have encountered issues with drugs, homosexuality or divorce and would harbour much more nuanced views than Mr Dacre might imagine. They may even love the BBC (as most people do, in fact). And they, like all of us, can take the ultimate sanction if they don't like what's in the Daily Mail: don't buy the bloody thing.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Election catch-up: Blairites for and against a Miliband victory

John Rentoul
Nicola Sturgeon could have considerable influence over David Cameron in a hung parliament  

General Election 2015: What if Cameron were to end up in debt to the SNP?

Steve Richards
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before