5 August 2011

Can the Mail 'stoop any lower'?

Mail front page: July 5th 2011
The picture of Sally Bercow is linked to the Mail article here (istyosty link) and first appeared in an earlier story which appeared in the Mail as far back as February here and here. (istyosty links)

The Mail has an ongoing, intermittent campaign to ensure Mrs. Bercow is seen by the public as a dreadful example of everything that is deplorable in the behaviour of the women of today.

In the article today, Sarah Nathan describes her as 'shameless', 'embarassing', 'outspoken', and goes on:-

"Celebrity Big Brother will start on August 18 and a show source said: ‘Sally is obviously not shy and has never made it a secret that she has views on nearly absolutely everything.

‘It’s fair to say that she’s a professional antagonist – the house will not be boring with Sally in it.’"
But the real coup de grace, the killer put-down, comes from someone much closer to the political sphere in which Mrs. Bercow's husband moves: - 

But last night Tory MP Rob Wilson said: ‘John Bercow said he wanted to restore respect and dignity to Parliament in his manifesto for Speaker. I am not sure how Sally Bercow  going on one of the country’s tackiest shows helps.
‘Is it really appropriate for the Speaker’s wife to use Parliament for her own financial gain? After all, the only reason for the invitation is because her husband is the Speaker.
‘I would urge her to think very carefully about what she is doing.’
The article's purpose is crystal clear:- vengeance against the Bercows and an overt condemnation of a show hosted by Dacre's arch rival Richard Desmond.

Sally Bercow has been a target for the Mail for many months and today's article is the latest episode. Mrs Bercow appears able to shrug off the criticisms and slurs, at least in public, and has won admiration from many for her courageous determination not to alter her behaviour to suit a newspaper which seems to be keen for women to adopt the attitudes and standards not expected of them since the 1930s.... 

Sally Bercow
Now *seriously* tempted to go on Big Brother as riposte to those banging on abt "dignity of the Speaker's office". I am *not* the Speaker :)
Sally Bercow
*coughs* if I were to do any reality show (Big Bro, Jungle, whatever) a 6-figure sum would go to charity. Rude not to, no?
John Bercow

John Bercow, however, gave a rare, fleeting yet powerful insight into the effects a newspaper's vindictiveness can have:

Excerpts from a Patrick Wintour Guardian article: June 7th 2011:

"The Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has risked his political neutrality by describing the Daily Mail as a "sexist, racist, bigoted, comic cartoon strip".
He also apologised for breaking the trade descriptions act by describing the Mail as a "newspaper".
His stinging remarks came at a question and answer session with the political commentator Steve Richards at Kings Place in London."

Later in the same article:

"He defended the right of his wife to express her views on a daily basis on Twitter. "She's free to do what she wants. Sally is my wife, but not my chattel or my property. The duty of impartiality doesn't extend to her – there isn't a Mrs Speaker – and it's a spectacularly sexist idea that Sally should have to be silent.""

There has long been a bitter feud between Paul Dacre, proprietor of the Mail, and Richard Desmond, who owns the Express and the new home of  'Big Brother', Channel 5. In October 2006, it was reported in the Press Gazette :-

Paul Dacre
"Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has revealed that he thinks Rupert Murdoch has been responsible for dumbing down The Times and that Daily Express owner Richard Desmond "doesn't respect journalism"."
Richard Desmond
 "Discussing the Express, the Mail's mid-market rival, and its owner, Richard Desmond, Dacre said: "It sells 800,000. It's run by a man who doesn't respect journalism, doesn't like journalism. I don't know what it says about politics when politicians take donations from people like that in order to get permission to buy a newspaper."
He added: "His circulation is in permanent freefall. He produces a very poor paper. I'm not going to mince my words. I thought it was a very sad day for Fleet Street when a pornographer was allowed to buy a once-great national newspaper.""

This demonising of a rival proprietor rings exceedingly hollow when the reader is aware of the often openly salacious feel of  many of the articles in the Mail and Mail Online. This is the very personification of a pot calling the kettle black!

All in all, this article hits a whole flock of birds with one well-aimed boulder, and: -

1. Scores another point or two in the Dacre v Desmond battle
2. Bashes the Bercows a little more
3. Gives British women lesson #287 in how to behave decorously and stand by their men
4. Enables us to sleep soundly in our beds safe in the knowledge that the Keepers of the Nation's Morals, the Mail and Mr. Dacre, are ever watchful.....