I feel kind of bad talking about this, because I don't want to ruin an exciting and thoroughly welcome new trend on the Mail's website.
However, it would appear that slightly negative comments, sometimes ones that even disagree with the Mail or its columnists, are being let through the net.
As I've discussed before, this is a rarity indeed. The one time a palpable hit was landed on Richard Littlejohn's column, in amongst the dozens of fawning "Oh Richard you're hilarious, you should be Prime Minister" comments, it was quickly removed.
That comment again (I never tire of it):
As hilarious as always but I do really wonder if you're qualified to talk about modern Britain, Richard. You don't watch any television that isn't thirty years old, you don't live in the UK half the time (Are you in fact affected by the budget?). You quote the US weather forecasting service, Al Gore and John Coleman to us but nothing British, as well as mentioning sandwich board men that haven't existed for years. You're still obsessed by Poles and public toilets, two things which we have got over years ago but you manage to combine in one "joke". You need to get out (of Florida) more, methinks.
- Val Winters, England
World class. Now (via Mailwatch) some other rather negative barbs appear to have been aimed in Billericay Dickie's direction - and have been published!
Richard's okay but why the hell does he have to label everything quite inappropriately as Nazi? For goodness' sake, Nationalist Socialists (like me) agree with him.
- Michael, Liverpool, 25/7/2008 1:49
It appears no one is about to support the rubbish you write these days.
- Paul, UK, 25/7/2008 0:17
Ha ha! Beautiful.
Perhaps the clue is in the timestamp on the comments - 1.49am and 12.17am. Maybe it was the work experience boy doing the moderating at that time in the morning; maybe it was someone who just decided to let feedback through, regardless of whether it was positive or negative (!) - maybe they didn't know 'the policy'.
I remember reading (I think it was in a stream of rabidly right-wing comments the Indie had published at the foot of a Johann Hari piece) a commenter claiming that the Mail didn't publish negative opinions because (a) it would mean there was some debate over the veracity of what they'd said and (b) Littlecock himself would get incredibly angry and hunt down the person responsible for allowing people to say bad things about him. I wasn't too sure about the truthfulness of this, because how would he hunt you down from a gated mansion in Florida? But I'd add that if you allowed all comments for Littlecock, there'd be not only dissent from the left, but approval of a kind he really wouldn't enjoy (or so he'd claim) from the far right.
But, it could be a trend. The Mail is starting to dip its toes in the water of allowing a couple of token dissenting comments to appear on its pages - presumably in some attempt at balance or to ward off suggestions from bad people that they don't allow a real debate. Obviously whatever dissenting comments there are are generally buried under a mountain of bilious 'bring back the birch for five-year-olds' bollocks, but I guess it's a step in the right direction. At least, I hope it might be. We'll see if it's a trend or just a blip.