Daily mail

Let’s compare Sturgeon and May’s sure-footedness – not their legs

One must not make odious comparisons between Mrs May’s legs and those of Ms Sturgeon, but it is not sexist to ask which is the more sure-footed. So far, Ms Sturgeon has run much the faster, and by doing so has gained attention far in excess of the numbers she can command. Mrs May might look the more plodding. But as Ms Sturgeon charges forward yet again with a call for another referendum, I wonder if she is becoming like Bonnie Prince Charlie, who reached Derby, and then slipped. This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Notes, which appears in this week’s Spectator

Brexit brings us endless little beakers of joy

The thing that got me about the photo-graph which prompted the Daily Mail’s harmless but now infamous headline ‘Never mind Brexit — who won Legs-it!’ was what I shall call the Sturgeon Lower Limb Mystery. In the photograph, the SNP leader seemed to be possessed of two slender and very long legs indeed. Whereas we know from television news footage that her legs are only seven inches long from her toes to that bit where they join the rest of her body. Walking to Downing Street for meetings, or being interviewed on the hoof by camera crews, Nicola Sturgeon usually resembles a slightly deranged Oompa–Loompa, or, as many have commented

The golden rule for Daily Mail hysteria

Here’s a cast-iron law of the media in 21st-century Britain: the hysteria about a Daily Mail article will always be worse than the Daily Mail article itself. It will be more silly, shrill, over-the-top, reactionary and potentially harmful to public life than the polemic or editorial or sidebar shot of a half-dressed celeb it is raging and spluttering against. You can hold me to this. Go through the archives of Twitterstorms about the Daily Mail — they number in the gazillions — and you will see it’s the same every time: every bad thing the Mail has said or done has paled into insignificance in comparison with the hot, mad

Ross Clark

The Daily Mail is pulling your leg

The top half of the front cover of the Daily Mail today is of course trivial: the big story of the meeting between Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon is, obviously, the plummeting relations between Westminster and Holyrood and whether we will still have a United Kingdom in five years’ time. The big story is not the quality of two middle-aged women’s legs. But it is also really rather brilliant in how it has worked as a bait for the Left – which by reacting in an absurdly overblown way has merely revealed its own obsession with trivia. In a country where millions are struggling to afford a decent home, where

There’s a simple way of dealing with the BBC’s TV licence bullies

Congratulations to the Daily Mail for exposing the unpleasant methods by which TV Licensing’s staff make people pay their television licence fees. Capita, the company that does the dirty work for the BBC, encourages its employees to use ‘ruthless and underhand tactics’ to collect the money, says the Mail. The paper offers painful examples of the victims — ‘RAF man with dementia, mum in a women’s refuge’. It could have added ‘veteran Spectator columnist’, since these activities were first exposed on this page in 2006, when I got fed up with being pursued by Capita to buy a TV licence for a flat without a television. The Mail correctly identifies

Why Britain needs a legal cannabis market

The legalisation of cannabis is once again in the headlines. Following the death of his 21-year-old son Rupert Green, Lord Monson has called for a ‘war on skunk’ and the legalisation of less potent forms of cannabis. According to his father, Rupert became addicted to skunk, developed paranoia and psychosis, and took his own life. His death is yet another reminder that young people remain at the sharp end of cannabis policy. Monson argues that legalisation would allow users to understand it better and help them avoid strains which are more likely to cause psychosis. ‘That is no different from our approach to alcohol. No one needs to drink moonshine whisky which makes them blind, they can buy legal

The Daily Mail’s new favourite Europhiles

Ahead of the government’s supreme court appeal against the high court ruling that Article 50 cannot be triggered without a Westminster vote, the Daily Mail ran an article suggesting the judges who ruled against the government were ‘enemies of the people’. What’s more, the paper then ran a handy guide which ranked the 11 Justices of the Supreme Court by giving each a ‘Europhile rating‘. However, after today’s ruling, Mr S wonders if the paper will have to rethink its approach to some arch-Europhiles. Although the government lost its appeal (and will now need to trigger Article 50 with a vote in Parliament), three Justices of the Supreme Court found in favour of

Dual control | 19 January 2017

Revolting (Tuesdays) is the BBC2 comedy series that spawned the now-infamous sketch ‘Real Housewives of Isis’. It has been watched on the BBC’s Facebook page nearly 30 million times and rightly so because it is fearless, funny and near the knuckle. A pastiche of reality TV shows set in places like Beverly Hills, the sketch depicts three young British jihadi brides brightly discussing their domestic lives in some Raqqa-like hellhole. ‘Ali bought me a new chain,’ boasts one, ‘which is eight feet long. So I can almost get outside, which is great.’ Cue shot of black-hijabed housewife lurching towards the doorway of her bombed-out home, dragging the cooker to which

Trigger warning: students vote to ban ‘offensive’ newspapers at journalism school

Oh dear. With Stepford students on a mission to make every university a safe space, there has been a clear shift in recent years when it comes to what can be classed offensive. Earlier this year Mr S reported how students in London were on a mission to ban free-speech societies. Now they have a new target in their sights: newspapers. Although journalism is a competitive field, students at City University — which boasts one of the country’s top journalism departments — have today taken action to narrow the field further. Students have voted for a campus ban on the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express. Why? The student union has deemed the

The unfair attacks on Liz Truss prove that Parliament has too many lawyers

If there were any doubt that there are too many lawyers in Parliament it has been removed by the meeting, on Monday evening, between backbench Conservative MPs and the justice secretary Liz Truss. The subject was Truss’s alleged failure to defend the judiciary from criticism of last week’s High Court judgement on the enactment of Article 50. One MP was reported as saying: ‘Her job is to defend the judiciary from attack.’ No it isn’t. Liz Truss has special duties as Lord Chancellor – but she is the government’s justice secretary, not CEO of a judges’ trade association. Her duty as Lord Chancellor is to uphold the continued independence (from

Brendan O’Neill

In defence of the Daily Mail

Who’s more hysterical: the Daily Mail for branding three judges ‘enemies of the people’ or the Dailymailphobes who have spent the past three days promiscuously breaking Godwin’s Law and accusing the Mail of being a paper-and-ink reincarnation of Hitler, an aspiring destroyer of judicial independence, and a menace to British civilisation that ought to be boycotted by all decent people and no longer handed out on British Airways flights because it is ‘against democracy and the rule of law’? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s the latter. And that the irony is delicious: the very people accusing the Mail of being unhinged have themselves given new

Tory Theresa is Blue Labour at heart

I never really agreed with the central-thesis of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — that ‘42’ is the answer to life, the universe and everything. I have no great animus against the number — it does its job, filling that yawning gap between 41 and 43. But I had never thought it actually-special until the beginning of this week. That’s when I read that the Conservative Party was 17 points ahead in the latest opinion polls, on 42 per cent. A remarkable figure. I suppose you can argue that it says more about the current state of the Labour party than it does about Theresa May’s stewardship of the country.

Kids’ stuff | 6 October 2016

When a new TV channel calls its flagship food show Fuck, That’s Delicious, we might surmise that the Reithian ideals are not foremost in its corporate philosophy. You probably haven’t heard of Viceland. You certainly haven’t watched it. It seeped on to the airwaves with little fanfare and few viewers. Viceland is the new 24-hour TV channel of Vice Media, the Canadian-American outfit that describes itself as the ‘world’s preeminent youth media company and content creation studio’. Vice began in 1994 as a magazine but now encompasses a news division, a record label, a film studio and myriad digital ventures. It prides itself on being ‘alternative’, ’disruptive’, sticking it to

High life | 1 September 2016

Just about this time of year, 42 years ago, Dunhill’s of London, the famed tobacconist, had a bold idea. Its president, Richard Dunhill, flew 32 backgammon players to New York and had them board the QEII for the return trip to Southampton. The backgammon players were a varied group. As with cricket of old, there were gentlemen and there were players. For players read hustlers and small-time con men. Among the gents were players such as Michael Pearson, now Lord Cowdray, some very nice Americans, like Porter Ijams, whose aunt was canonised, and yours truly. The hustlers were a more amusing bunch. There was Jean-Noël Grinda, a French tennis player

Is Theresa May the Daily Mail’s Manchurian candidate?

News of Theresa May’s coronation as the next Prime Minister is – as you’d expect – emblazoned on the front page of every newspaper today. However, the Daily Mail has gone one step further than its rivals — claiming, pretty much, that it enstooled May itself. And  judging by its jubilations, if seems that Paul Dacre sees her as a Manchurian candidate programmed from High Street Kensington. In fact, on reading their article ‘how the Mail backed May from the start‘, one could be forgiven for thinking that the paper’s editor Paul Dacre was moving into No.10 with May come Wednesday: ‘The Daily Mail was the first newspaper to throw

Is Brexit’s impact coming at us like a derailed train – or am I panic-mongering?

I enjoyed the Daily Mail’s lambasting of the Financial Times as ‘panic-monger-in-chief’ for its doom-laden post-Brexit tone: ‘Is it determined to provoke a downturn in a bid to justify its lurid predictions?’ And I’m happy to let ‘Britain’s most self-important business newspaper’ take some flak, my own rather downbeat column last week having been so at odds with our ‘optimist’s guide’ on other pages. Panic-mongering used to be the Mail’s own stock-in-trade back in the Gordon Brown era, when it regularly invited me to wax apocalyptic on ‘the death of the middle classes’ in response to stock-market wobbles and stealth taxes. But there’s a serious point behind its FT-bashing, which

Sarah Vine takes a break from the Daily Mail

The past week has proved to be a busy time for the Gove household. After Sarah Vine declared in her Daily Mail column that she — along with her husband — had been handed the responsibility of leading the country on behalf of the Brexit voters, she was left red-faced when an email she wrote expressing doubts about Gove supporting Boris Johnson’s leadership bid was made public. In this, she suggested that her Mail boss Paul Dacre — along with News UK’s Rupert Murdoch — would find it difficult to get behind a Boris Johnson leadership bid if Gove was not involved. Alas when the Justice Secretary turned on BoJo and announced that he would

The Spectator’s Notes | 28 April 2016

‘England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her interactions, her markets and her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions.’ This classic Eurosceptic statement was made, as Daniel Hannan reminds us in his excellent book Why Vote Leave, by a great European, Charles de Gaulle. He was explaining why France was rejecting our attempt to join the EEC in 1963. The General understood what the European project was, and why Britain was not a

Is anyone surprised that the Queen didn’t approve of gay marriage?

Of all the frankly riveting stuff in the Daily Mail’s serial of what it calls ‘The Unknown Queen’ — nicely timed for the Queen’s 90th birthday — is there anything less surprising than the revelation she was/is opposed to gay marriage? Is the head of the Church of England a Christian? Well, it seems so. ‘There is,’ say Richard Kay (a friend of the late Princess Diana) and Geoffrey Levy, ‘one area of social policy where Her Majesty holds more traditional views…same sex marriage.’ Talking about the issue in the home of a close friend around the time the legislation was being passed by Parliament, the Queen is said to have expressed

Rachel Johnson lifts the lid on Boris’s Brexit deliberations: tennis, frozen lasagne and Nigel Farage

This week Sarah Vine used her Daily Mail column to reveal the details of the roast lamb supper her husband Michael Gove used to plot a move to back Brexit with Boris Johnson. Now the Mayor of London’s sister Rachel Johnson has gone one better and lifted the lid on her brother’s subsequent Brexit deliberations. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Rachel says that it was not at the dinner, but on the Saturday after that Boris finally made up his mind to support the Leave camp. She says that last weekend she found her brother in turmoil in an Oxfordshire farmhouse — frying sausages and hammering at his laptop: ‘Last Saturday I drove through the sleet