When the Mail attacks a subject it doesn't do so with the finesse of Quincy carving up a recently-murdered cadaver to try and determine the cause of death (while at the same time solving social problems and humiliating the fat policeman); it's more like a frozen turd that's been dropped into a pan of boiling oil, spitting and seething and bubbling away with fury.
I wouldn't even mind so much if they showed some subtlety, intelligence or guile about how they do it, but they don't. They come barging through, all elbows and fists, smashing things about, causing chaos and generally making it pretty obvious what they're up to. There's not a great deal of class about what they do. It's a simple hatchet job. Now you may say - and you'd be right - that I'm much the same, clobbering away at the festering worm-infested decapitated head of the dying dead-tree press with a rusty spade, splattering its withered, yellowing brain around like so much lumpy mashed potato... but it's to be remembered that I am, in no way, shape or form, intended to be taken as a legitimate news source, whereas the Mail actually pretends it is. More fool you if you thought I was, by the way. Anyway, with that caveat in mind let's look at this atrocity.
Anyway, I'll try and be a bit more precise than usual with this one. See it as me poking them in the eye with a pointed stick rather than bludgeoning them to death with a three-piece suite. If you must.
So the headline goes
Lessons about wife-beating at five: In the week Harriet Harman takes charge, yet another feminist initiative
A few things are going on. First is the attempt to portray Harman* as an evil feminist crusader; second is the idea that feminism is, in some way a bad thing; third, that OUR CHILDREN are being infected by leftist indoctrination and there isn't a thing we can do to stop it.
Author James Slack leaves his turdy fingerprints all over this afterbirth of an article. Just as in the good old days when he regularly churned out astonishingly misleading drivel about immigration figures, he's decided to ratchet up the hatred against Harman with a series of spectral attacks.
Have a look at this picture caption for an idea of what we're going to get, and for evidence it's not just the authors like Slack who go about confecting the outrage, but the drones who put together the pages:
Feminist agenda: Under controversial plans, schoolboys will be taught not to beat their partners or any other female
Yes, not beating up your partner is a 'feminist agenda', not simple human decency. And such a plan is 'controversial'. It's 'controversial' that children should be advised not to break the law and hurt other human beings. Is it? Is it really? It is if you live in the Mail-land.
Now here are two statements by Slack, and I want to see if they're stood up by the rest of the article. Or whether these 'critics' exist at all:
Last night, critics warned that ministers are cramming the already over-stuffed National Curriculum with lessons that should be taught in the home or in the community.
Others say the plan is part of the feminist agenda led by Harriet Harman in her role as Equalities Minister.
OK so what does Slack use to substantiate the 'critics' claiming that the already overstuffed National Curriculum (presented as fact) is being 'crammed' with lessons that should be taught in the home or in the community?
It comes here:
Margaret Morrissey, of family lobby group ParentsOutloud, said that PSHE classes were in danger of being 'hijacked by pressure groups'. She added: 'I do not really want my youngster to be indoctrinated with these things.
'There will always be those who want to cram our school curriculum with social issues that need to be taught by parents and society.'
Do you like the irony? A pressure group is saying that classes were being hijacked by pressure groups? But surely this article has been 'hijacked' by a pressure group, then? Or is it only the wrong kind of pressure group that this pressure group objects to? So, sure, a 'critic' has said that the curriculum (not 'already overstuffed', mind) is being crammed with things, but just things they disapprove of. And who are ParentsOutLoud anyway? Well have a look at the website and see what you think. Now don't be cruel about the fact that an education pressure group can't spell or write things properly; that's just nasty of you. We all make mistakes and doubtless there'll be one from me just centimetres away from this. No, look instead at the kind of articles they have - roaring about 'health and safety', complaining about Government targets, attacking Ed Balls - it's a bit like if the Daily Mail ran a pressure group, what that pressure group would be. So naturally their interests dovetail nicely with the Mail's when a 'critic' needs to be found of any Government plan involving kids.
How does Slack stack up the second part of his argument? That it's part of Harriet Harman's horrible 'equalities' (boo! hiss!) agenda? He quotes this sage:
In a document peppered with the language of Miss Harman's equalities-agenda, the Government says the first ever Violence Against Women and Girls strategy is in production by departments across Whitehall, and will be published this autumn.
Silly me, no, that's just Slack himself. No, well the justification must be somewhere. After all, where are these 'others', these other critics? They must actually exist, right?
[Jill Kirby, of the Centre for Policy Studies] added: 'It is young men who are most likely to be the victims of violent crime. It is a distortion to suggest otherwise. It appears that everything must be viewed through the prism of 1960s feminism.'
Well yes it would be a distortion. If that were actually the case. Is that what's really happening, though? Are children really being taught that violence by men against men is not more common than violence by men against women? No, of course not. But it's a perfect strawman. Even so, it's hardly a thumping endorsement of what Slack was trying to set up in his introduction to the story.
But then it never matters, does it? Slack may claim he's found 'critics' to say what he wants, but even when they don't say quite what he wants, it doesn't matter, does it? It doesn't even matter than the 'critics' he finds are a shoddy pressure group that no-one in their right mind should listen to, and a 'think-tank' which represents largely Conservative views. That doesn't matter. The dissenting voice has been found; everything is fine. There are no prizes in journalism for getting things right; whereas ramping up hatred against this week's Aunt Sally gets you a nice pat on the back, doesn't it?
As others have suggested, there's a ridiculously skewed poll on the website, so it would be remiss of anyone not to try and skew it back towards reality. So if you feel like voting, then by all means be my guest.
* Anyone who says 'Harperson' should die. Look, it might have provoked a mediocre snicker the first time. Oh yes, Harperson, hoho. Not really that funny, but yes I see what you're saying. That sort of thing. But if you're still using 'Harperson' then you should just be killed. There's no use in trying to keep you alive, because there is no point, because your life means nothing. Now I'm no defender of the woman herself - God alone knows the awfulness that New Labour have brought upon this country, and she's one of the leading players - but calling someone 'Harperson' isn't funny, clever or even approaching amusing. It's just pointless, lazy, boring shite, and you need to die. There is nothing good about it. Even if you think you're using it in a way that says "Oh well if it annoys the lefties then it's worth doing" you should still be killed, because it doesn't; because it just makes you, and every argument you have, look stupid.
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