16 November, 2008


I made an excuse and left

You have to hand it to the Guardian. As a fully paid-up baby-boomer soft-left liberal and a Mancunian into the bargain, the Grauniad (along with the newspaper the till at my local newsagent's perceptively refers to as the Sunday Guardian) was my newspaper of choice for nearly 40 years. I finally broke the habit after several months during which I found myself routinely buying the Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph as well, in order to inject a little bit of balance into what I was reading. The final straw and the decision to act came when I was booted off GUTalk in early 2003 for some vaguely and ambigiously specified act of heterodoxy which I have never entirely managed to make sense of. I have never bought either rag since, sexy Berliner format or no, though I'm not above reading pub copies or copies left behind on trains, so long as I am not contributing financially to the bastards. (Thanks, GUT mods, you do have your uses.)

But occasionally The Daily Social Worker still manages to surprise, as when it published this comment piece by Max Mosley on Paul Dacre's disgraceful speech to the Society of Editors.

Mr Dacre may have a valid point about the dangers of judge-made law and the baleful and unanticipated malign impact of the execrable European Convention on Human Rights, but both in his speech (as reported) and in an interview on the Today programme (as I heard myself), Dacre's explicitly stated argument -- that personal privacy should not be protected or respected because salacious and scandalous copy sells tabloid newspapers to the prurient mob -- is quite despicable. It's the sort of statement you can't imagine any moral person making with a straight face.

For what it's worth, neither Mr Mosley nor the FIA excite strong feelings of empathy in me, but what Mr Mosley gets up to in private, with or without leather whips and faux German accents, is, provided it doesn't involve criminality or impact on matters of genuine public interest, entirely his own damned business.

Perhaps somebody ought to obtain the services of a co-operative tart, some rohypnol and a News of the Screws photographer, and see if Mr Dacre likes a taste of his own medicine. Now that would make for an interesting Daily Mail editorial.

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