Coffee House

Paul Dacre teaches the Guardian how to sell newspapers the old fashioned way

12 October 2013

9:59 AM

12 October 2013

9:59 AM

An old journalist told me that there was a time when people used to know the names of national newspaper editors. It’s a mark of Fleet Street’s decline, he said, that Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian and Paul Dacre of the Mail are the only well known editors today. He added that Rusbridger is famous because he has made himself into a public figure; but people have heard of Dacre despite his being remarkably private. Neither of us could recall Dacre doing a broadcast interview or even writing an article. He’s an enigmatic beast.

All of which makes Dacre’s appearance in this morning’s Guardian under the headline ‘Why is the left obsessed by the Daily Mail?’ rather interesting (he’s also written in this morning’s Mail). The Guardian piece amounts to a defence, not only of The Mail in the case of Ralph Miliband but of the popular press and its methods. Dacre writes:

‘Out in the real world, it was a pretty serious week for news. The US was on the brink of budget default, a British court heard how for two years social workers failed to detect the mummified body of a four-year-old starved to death by his mother, and it was claimed that the then Labour health secretary had covered up unnecessary deaths in a NHS hospital six months before the election.

In contrast, the phoney world of Twitter, the London chatterati and left-wing media was gripped 10 days ago by collective hysteria as it became obsessed round-the-clock by one story – a five-word headline on page 16 in the Daily Mail.’

Dacre asks ‘fair readers’ to judge whether this was a proportionate response to the Mail’s story. Direct appeals to readers is what the Mail and the Sun (I have no doubt that Rupert Murdoch would agree with the thrust of Dacre’s article) pride themselves on. The popular press does not preach or patronise; it empowers – or at least that’s the theory. Dacre writes:

‘The metropolitan classes, of course, despise our readers with their dreams (mostly unfulfilled) of a decent education and health service they can trust, their belief in the family, patriotism, self-reliance, and their over-riding suspicion of the state and the People Who Know Best.

These people mock our readers’ scepticism over the European Union and a human rights court that seems to care more about the criminal than the victim. They scoff at our readers who, while tolerant, fret that the country’s schools and hospitals can’t cope with mass immigration.

In other words, these people sneer at the decent working Britons – I’d argue they are the backbone of this country – they constantly profess to be concerned about.’


By this stage, Dacre is giving the Guardian a lesson in how to sell newspapers.  The middle section of the article is devoted to the Ralph Miliband affair; but there are some general insights that are worth extracting:

‘…yes, the headline was controversial – but popular newspapers have a long tradition of using provocative headlines to grab readers’ attention. In isolation that headline may indeed seem over the top, but read in conjunction with the article we believed it was justifiable.’

This reference to ‘long tradition’ is typical of the piece, which carries a slightly old fashioned air. It seems to be saying that the old ways in journalism are still the best ways: appeal to the reader, don’t be vain, have a sense of perspective, know what’s important. He ends the article by driving some of these rules home:

‘For the record, the Mail received a mere two letters of complaint before Mr Miliband’s intervention and only a few hundred letters and emails since – many in support. A weekend demonstration against the paper attracted just 110 people. It seems that in the real world people – most of all our readers – were far more supportive of us than the chatterati would have you believe.’

And then there is this cutting post script, which appeals directly to the reader’s judgement:

‘PS – this week the head of MI5 – subsequently backed by the PM, the deputy PM, the home secretary and Labour’s elder statesman Jack Straw – effectively accused the Guardian of aiding terrorism by publishing stolen secret security files. The story – which is of huge significance – was given scant coverage by a BBC which only a week ago had devoted days of wall-to-wall pejorative coverage to the Mail. Again, I ask fair readers, what is worse: to criticise the views of a Marxist thinker, whose ideology is anathema to most and who had huge influence on the man who could one day control our security forces … or to put British lives at risk by helping terrorists?’

Alan Rusbridger is a star of The Fifth Estate (read Deborah Ross’s review in this week’s edition of The Spectator). Paul Dacre is very much of the fourth estate.

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Show comments
  • Philsopinion

    So, let me get this straight, Dacre is appalled at the idea that the State Knows Best but he’s happy for its security services to be able to spy on its citizens?

  • David

    I liked this bit:
    ‘Orchestrating this bile was an ever more rabid Alastair Campbell. Again, fair-minded readers will wonder why a man who helped drive Dr David Kelly to his death, was behind the dodgy Iraq war dossier and has done more to poison the well of public discourse than anyone in Britain is given so much air-time by the BBC.’

  • Two Bob

    And if he had a brain he would throw his paper behind UKIP at the next election.

    The guardian is a loss making paper for a damned good reason!

  • whenknew


    Dacre is a coward, nothing else.

  • Martin Jennerson

    It’s good that Dacre at least is willing to make these points, because the rest of the right-wing media never ever would. Too shy.

  • Rossspeak

    I wouldn’t worry too much Chaps as the printed version of the Grauniad will go bust in the next year or three.

    Mind you – if Red Ed and his merry band get into government – given that the Labour Party seems determined to commit economic suicide by cutting itself off from Union dues funding – anyone agree with me that Red Ed and also bankrupt Kleggy’s lot do a deal in the next parliament to push through state funding of political parties?

    Alongside that – a bit of wild speculation – financial support for the “vital but impoverished free press” – i.e. the Intellectual Lefties house rag – the very same Grauniad.

    • IanH

      If labour get back in then the Guardian will be 200 pages of non-job recruitment adverts, they just need to survive until then.

    • Alexsandr

      the prospect of political funding of political parties fills me with dread. A party that cannot fund itself has no right to exist.

    • bwims

      If public funding of the Arts gives us Emin and Hirst, think what public funding of political parties would do.

  • E Hart

    Yeah, but is it true or fair comment? Trawl through the self-serving, self-validating nonsense and what are you left with? A establishment man who pulls a convenient Leftist patsy into the line of fire to deflect criticism from himself and the DM. At the same time we are supposed to believe that proprietors with non-dom status and companies that are registered for tax where the palm trees grow, are defenders of all that is good and true in Britishness. It is the most dire, hypocritical pish and mince.

    At least Red Ralph paid tax in Britain. Also, since when has it been necessary to buy nationality unthinkingly by the yard? All my family – even the ones born to a father who was considered ‘an undesirable alien’ – fought for Britain and sometimes died (an uncle in Falaise, Normandy, 1944) to ensure that silly farts like Dacre could get high and mighty about excavating rubbish to sell newspapers.

    Dacre’s world is the kind that ruminates at the arse-end of probability. It’s iceberg journalism which always notices the top but scarcely ever concerns itself with the truth or ramifications of what lies beneath. When cars are a statistically greater cause of death in Britain than terrorism, poor hospital care, criminals, immigrant criminals, the failures of social services and all the rest of the perceived miscreants put together, you can rely on the DM whip itself into a lather of righteousness to lever political capital and newspaper sales out of it. This is what he defends. What is this if it isn’t hysteria? And, it’s year-round hysteria at that.

    He’s either got a piece of lignum vitae resting between his ears, or, more likely, he’s just a profound and disingenuous cynic. In one simple causal relation – father and son – he couldn’t account for one’s social democratic credentials so he went for the other one, the dead one. A dead Marxist, it seems, is easier to handle than a living social democrat, especially when there is a general election in the offing and you want to queer the pitch.

    There is something truly odious in this gibberish – the assumption of rectitude and ownership – and the heart-rending support for those of a non-metropolitan/twitterati/chatterati persuasion. Aside from an interest in selling newspapers, what does Dacre stand for? It’s fine to sell newspapers and it’s fine to write what is true or fair comment, it is less laudable to pretend to be some sort of champion for people who will come out on the wrong end of the very policies that you support or espouse.

    The one thing DM will never gives its readers – which it loves so profoundly – is the facts – all them – even the inconvenient ones. For example, when is the DM going to get angry that there are 500,000 vacancies in Britain and 2.6m unemployed – who’d like to be hard-working like the idealised DM reader – but have only a 1:5 chance of getting something? Similarly, when is the DM going to explain to its readership that justice is indivisible? You either have it, or you don’t – and if you have it – it must also apply to criminals however despicable. Dacre and co couldn’t care less.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Mostly ad hominem. Exceedingly puerile and foam flecked. And you do not have a monopoly on relatives who fought and died for the freedom that your red-tinted comrades now seek to erode.

      • E Hart


        • Colonel Mustard

          James Delingpole had the measure of you when he wrote:-

          “Nice trolling, E Hart. No arguments; no response to the piece; just pure ad homs”

          • E Hart

            Well, read your own copy. What do you find? “Your red-tinted comrades” (ad hominem); a straw man (Thatcher, Bush, Murdoch); disinformation (the conflation of criticism with muzzling) and purblindness (an exhibition of “huff and puff”). What’s more, you then try and hit me with a blunt instrument – James Delingpole. At ease, Colonel.

            • bwims

              How is (Thatcher, Bush, Murdoch) a straw man? The phrase “You must have your bogeymen – Thatcher, Bush, Murdoch and now Dacre” is relevant to the theory that you are left wing and espouse Marxism, which is implied by “Your red-tinted comrades”. The latter is not an ad hom, because your defence of Ralph Milliband puts you in the Marxist sypathiser camp. Given that, then since a straw man is “an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position”, and you have not apparently been misrepresented, The whole of your response to Col Mustard fails.

              At ease, private.

              • E Hart

                Let me explain it to you. I made no mention of Thatcher, Bush or Murdoch. It was guilt by inference and presumed association. Furthermore, at least one of them – Thatcher – had guts and conviction. Also, she was generous to her political opponents (Attlee, Heffer…) and not the kind to go MIA or write squalid nonsense. I’d defend anyone dead against a pathetic smear – which has nothing really to do with a 17-year-old Marxist – and everything to do with trying to arrest any political momentum his son, a social democratic, might have got from his pallid pink conference speech. It’s a form of character assassination – once removed. As for the categorical imperative – the either/or – of your extensive political imagination – I don’t want either/or – I want something else.

                By the way, the Colonel is perfectly capable of defending his own corner without your intercession.

                This is a restricted area. Can’t you read? It says “no civvies”.

  • Ostercy

    What twaddle

    • kyalami

      Well argued.

  • David Booth.

    I might not trust some parts of the press but I do not trust any politicians.

  • Martin Jennerson

    “The story – which is of huge significance – was given scant coverage by a BBC which only a week ago had devoted days of wall-to-wall pejorative coverage to the Mail.”

    Well exactly it’s a complete disgrace. Just open bias, fed up with it.

    • Andy

      Which is why the BBC should be reduced down to a proper size ie one TV channel and one radio channel.

      • KestrelSprite

        Radio 3, I trust.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Even that, unfortunately, has been sadly dumbed down with that noisy, shouty, artificially cheery chumminess the BBC seems to think conveys “accessibility”, whatever that is. And the scripts of some of the news bulletins, cleverly worded, contrived, cause me to swear in the morning which upsets my dog.

          I lament the quiet, cultured and informed commentary that used to be its hallmark.

    • Alexsandr

      fed up with b100dy paying for it 🙁

      • IanH

        Then don’t pay for it, I no longer do and it feels so much better knowing I’m not funding their executive, bloat, “talent”, left wing journos, regionalisation, and pensions. Everyone should cancel their direct debit, spend the next six months whilst your TV licence winds down exploring catchup TV for which you don’t need a licence and see how satisfying it is.

  • Moor Larkin

    Didn’t all this start because Miliband used his dad in a speech to Google? As Mehdi Hasan put it in the Sunday Times, “It isn’t often that a party leader publicly takes a pot shot at his own father…”

  • Russell

    If anyone really wants to see hatred and bile, they do not need to look at a factual headline in the Mail regarding Milibands father, they only need to look at the comments in the Guardian on the fair and balanced article by Dacre in the Guardian.

    • weejonnie

      I haven’t bothered reading them – I know what they will say – if the Guardian removed Ad hominem attacks as being hate crime (which they should) then at a stroke 90% of the comments would have to be removed,

  • Peter Stroud

    If you want an example of blatant hypocrisy then read the Guardian. With its Champaign socialists, such as Toynbee, Monbiot and Rushbridger. Add to this its campaign, with Hacked Off, and the left to curb press freedom; whilst, at the same time, using the same freedom to excuse printing damaging material from the traitor Snowdon.

    At least the Mail is what it says on the tin: like it or not. Rushbridger might have made himself into a public figure, but he is editor of a failing paper. Dacre is presiding over a success.

    • 2trueblue

      And were it not for the BBC the Gaurdian would have a huge drop in sales.

      • Andy

        That fascist rag the Guardian is bankrupt. It is kept afloat by the Scott Trust and some fancy tax avoidance.

        • whenknew

          fascist rag, the guardian?

          fancy tax avoidance?
          wouldn’t that be the daily mails owner?

          Are you insane?

          As i recall it was the Mail which has dubious connection’s with the fascists.

          You right-whingers are something else, carry on living in that bubble.

          • Andy

            Listen cretin, Fascism is a form of Socialism.

            Examine the Guardian and the Scott Trust’s tax arrangements. You will find tax avoidance a plenty.

  • ButcombeMan

    The vicious crusade against the Daily Mail started under Blair, Campbell was probably the instigator.

    All governments fear the Mail because of the vast readership and the women readers. That and so often the Mail has the national pulse, outside the bubble, in a way no other journal has.

    The fact of the Mail’s existence and it’s over the top style is just one of the things we have to put up with to preserve our freedoms.

    Dacre made a mistake sacking Melanie though, but she should not perform on TV, the written argument is her forte. Non better, agree with her or not.

    Best Paper Editor of my lifetime, without doubt, Harold Evans.

  • CharlietheChump

    Fraser, you are right, they are wrong. Stand firm.

    • telemachus

      No No No
      We owe it to the memory of Millie Dowler to bring the press barons to heel
      It is not surprising that some editors are peddling the owners party line and opposing each and every proposal
      People buy Newspaper Groups so that they can push political and other views without thought of regulation

      • IanH

        So we care about Miilie Dowler, but we don’t care about Baby P or the Rochdale victims, or the hundreds of others let down by the state? The difference being of course one is a non-story about the Murdoch papers that was published by the Guardian, and the others are just cannon fodder for the uncaring state.

      • Colonel Mustard

        “Bringing people to heel”, whoever they are, is not the best metaphor to use if you wish to conceal the authoritarian strain of your argument. It is difficult to reconcile your oft-repeated and boastful claims to “reasonableness” and “caring” with the concept of “bringing to heel”.

        Of course you will qualify that only certain dissenters and disbelievers should be “brought to heel”, invariably those who are right of centre and do not share your views. but that does not reassure me. The stink of fascism permeates your comments.

        • Andy

          That’s because he IS a Fascist and comes here to defend the indefensible: the Fascist Labour Party.

      • Fergus Pickering

        We owe it to the memory of Millie Dowler? Sentimental hogwash. You’ll have to do better than that.

        • Daniel Maris

          He can’t do better than that.

      • Andy

        We owe it to the memory of Baby P and Hamzah Khan to liquidate the Fascist Labour Party immediately.

        And we owe it to democracy to close down the BBC with immediate effect.

        • Alexsandr

          and the dead at Stafford…

          • Andy

            Ah yes. More people were murdered in Mid Staffs than died during the Black Death. Another Labour Party achievement.

      • Tony_E

        The NOTW DID NOT delete messages from Millie Dowler’s voice mailbox.

        The accusation was incorrect. the Guardian (as per usual) was wrong.

        • Andy

          The Fascist Guardian lied, lied, lied.

      • Wessex Man

        You di******! it was the police that deleted the messages on her mobile, think before you make stupid comments, oh I stand corrected it’s you and you don’t do you?

  • Colonel Mustard

    It is an excellent article but unfortunately it won’t make a dent on the real issue that endangers freedom in Britain. Which is that a relatively small minority of intolerant lefties constantly presume that they represent “everyone” and that gives them some kind of divine right to rule over us – and every aspect of our lives.

    • JamesdelaMare

      I don’t like to disagree with you, Col.M., and doing so won’t be popular with the usual Spectator commenters, but that comment is nonsense. With over 60 million people here, you suggest that a small “minority of intolerant lefties” suppose they have a “divine right to rule over us” and inhibit freedom? Who are these intolerant lefties with so much power and influence? Toynbee, Rusbridger and Monbiot?

      Back fifty or sixty years ago it was usual for the then “blue-rinse” Conservative supporters to suppose that their chosen Tory government’s knew best what was good for everybody, the unions were trouble-making bodies, the Labour party was about to sell us out to the communists in the Soviet bloc, there were risks that Warsaw Pact forces would swarm across northern Europe and our Labour voters would link up with them to overthrow Britain’s freedom. All nonsense of course, and the blue rinse Tories had never even set foot in a factory to see the working conditions of the working classes.

      Now you and the Mail are regurgitating all that nonsense in reverse, apparently in an effort to support a silly mistake, and indeed an evil ignorant misjudgment, that most now recognise the Daily Mail made. It’s trying to dig itself out of a hole of its own making by the pretence that the story of the 17 year old immigrant Ralph Miliband is significant to Britain today. It isn’t significant.

      What may be significant is why Labour, from all the millions of its voting supporters needed to look to the son not of a long-standing English working class or socialist family to be its leader, but to the son of a recently arrived Jewish immigrant who won’t have any sense of history and loyalty to the Britain of a thousand years of history. That’s nothing to do with Ralph Miliband and any communist beliefs he may have had.

      • kyalami

        The first sentence of paragraph 2 is spot on. These were real risks.

        • Span Ows

          …ruined by the “All nonsense of course” he writes in the 2nd sentence.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          They were real risks, and there were real differences forming the political divide back then.

          There are no real differences today. There is no political divide. LibLabCon are clones. The few who claim to represent “everyone” have a fair point, because they do rule, and have been allowed to do so.

          • Wessex Man

            VOTE UKIP!

      • Colonel Mustard

        No, I’m afraid it is far from nonsense. In the last 25 years there has been an exponential rise in non-governmental agencies, lobbying groups, quangos and what can only be described as fake charities. They are unelected yet often subsidised with taxpayers money and exert disproportionate influence throughout the public narrative often in a shadowy or indirect way. The majority of them espouse left of centre ideologies.

        Examine for example the connections between the Leveson inquiry, ‘Hacked Off’, the Media Standards Trust and Common Purpose, a network of high profile and/or high powered individuals none of whom have been elected by anyone to do anything. And unlike the House of Lords their meetings and discourse are neither documented nor transparent. Common Purpose is supposed to be a “charity” promoting leadership so why does the Charity Commission tolerate its secretive involvement in political lobbying? And why does it have a monopoly on government contracts? Try and discover the basis for the award of those contracts and you won’t be able to.

        Your disagreement would be more credible if you had not resorted to shallow stereotypes like “blue rinse Tories” never having set foot in a factory. That type of bigoted, anachronistic partisan class warfare is unhelpful in the current climate of the growth of a professional political elite lobbied and influenced by unelected agencies paid for by our taxes. You need to ditch your forty-year old notions, wake up and smell the coffee.

        But you are wrong again on your advocacy of the extent of Labour supporters although it reveals much about the left’s way of thinking. It underpins the point I was making. Why should it be of benefit to this country that the leader of a mainstream political party should have no “sense of history and loyalty to the Britain of a thousand years of history”? Please explain that if you can in other than cultural revolutionary terms. And you should come to terms with the fact that despite its support the Labour party does not represent a majority of voters in this country, England. It has always relied on Scotland, the constituency boundary imbalance (some sense of “fairness” eh?) and more recently imposed demographic changes in order to bolster its voting base.

        What I suggest to you is to show more respect to the notion of pluralism and diversity in politics, that the left have no monopoly on certitude or moral absolutism and that people are perfectly entitled to dissent from your orthodoxies without being demonised for it. Personally I rather appreciate a sense of history and loyalty to the Britain of a thousand years of history and whilst you are entitled to disagree with that appreciation I don’t see that you should scorn it.

        • Span Ows


          • telemachus

            See above

            Mustard is conducting a one man campaign against the leadership training and networking organisation run so ably by my good friend Julia Middleton

            His kind erroneously peddle CP as a EU federal pressure group

            “But evidence shows that Common Purpose is rather more than a Charity ‘empowering’ people and communities’. In fact, CP is an elitest pro-EU political organisation helping to replace democracy in UK, and worldwide, with CP chosen ‘elite’ leaders. In truth, their hidden networks and political objectives are undermining and destroying our democratic society and are threatening ‘free will’ in adults, teenagers and children. Their work is funded by public money and big business, including international banks.

            It is important for researchers on this site to realise that the majority of Common Purpose ‘graduates’ are victims, who have little if any understanding of the wider role of Common Purpose within UK society, nor of its connections to higher government and the European Union. Drawn into CP training by a flattering invitation, or selected by their company or organisation, this recruitment is normally carried out by a previously trained CP person – now recruiting for the cause. Candidates are screened and selected (or rejected) by CP Advisory Board members in their area.”

            • Alexsandr

              in what way is your quote untrue?

              • telemachus

                The world is full of conspiracy theorists
                How can an organisation that simply runs leadership training courses be accused of being a political pressure group
                CP are not the RC church

            • Colonel Mustard

              It is not a one man campaign. There are plenty of people who have concerns about Common Purpose and even organisations dedicated to investigating its activities.

              I seem to recall contradictory statements from you about Julia Middleton. But then nothing you write here is credible in any way at all. It is all mischievous and provocative tripe.

              Indeed one might say that you, a left wing jerk of monumental proportions, are conducting a one man campaign against the Coffee House. The evidence is overwhelming.

              • ButcombeMan

                When I started out in my working life and found corruption, wrong doing and backscratching it was very often based on and around Freemasonry.

                No longer, at the end of my working life, when I found anything dysfunctional, suspicious or plain odd, Common Purpose “graduates” were more often than not behind it and around it.

                • telemachus

                  This is not my experience
                  The folks I know who have been on CP training courses are the usual mix of those who are profoundly cynical and those who avidly lap up the networking opportunities, but the vast majority simply value the experience

              • telemachus

                It is no answer to a true charge to run 2~ of ad hominem
                CP runs leadership courses
                End of
                There are opportunities of course for networking by the kind of folk who throughout the world wish to pursue leadership challenges
                In my world I have to keep up and go on many courses some addressing leadership issues and the folks I meet are helpful to me in my work
                There is a Sci Fi aspect to your conspiracy theories of life

        • Alexsandr

          You are quite right to draw attention to common purpose here. Excellent post.

          • telemachus


            His views mimic the extreme comments of Greg Lance-Watkins

            “Common Purpose as a charity I have EVERY reason to believe is mallign to the point of —-, secretive to the point of ——-, exploiting charitable status to the point of ———-, infiltrating and influencing democracy to the point of ——– – a pollutant on the body politic, a poison in the media, toxic in education, dishonest in intent and utterly self serving in its doctrine.”

            • Alexsandr

              LW has it right
              The left has infiltrated the apparatus of government and has seeked to make the big oppressive state concept seem to the the consensus. And Common Purpose was one of the vehicles by which they achieved this.

              • telemachus

                If only
                All I see is the apparatus of Government removing benefits from the poor and disabled
                And the tax authorities spending inordinate amounts of money prying into the tax affairs of the poor on the dubious grounds of looking for benefit fraud while the the tax avoidance/evasion of the rich is left alone

                • telemackus

                  We cannot find our pills and in desperation at the mess we have made of everything we post our wild assertions in the vain hope we will feel better. The black dog of despair at our eventual and inevitable fate in opposition for another 15 years consumes us and we rail madly at the world and the Coffee House readers who laugh at our ramblings. Woe is us.

                • Alexsandr

                  as opposed the the aparatus of the government stealing more and more money from working families with more and more taxes,

        • Paddy

          Hear, hear “with bells on”.

          • telemachus

            Paddy son

            You have to be very careful echoing some of the right wing jerks on this site

            I think he probably wrote this, an example of the kind of paranoid envious tripe currently being peddled around the blog

            “Common Purpose infects all mainstream political parties including the Conservatives. I refer to a diagram which shows the influence of Common Purpose to the top of the Conservative party with key figures such as David Cameron, Francis Maude and Chris Patten. The diagram also shows the incestuous CP links to Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service and the BBC. Francis Maude MP conspired with others to prevent the public seeing details of the contracts by which the Cabinet Office Leadership Committee, attended by Sir David Bell Common Purpose Trustee, awarded contracts to his own charity CP to train the Top 200 Civil Servants. Despite legitimate Freedom of Information requests and Maude’s boasts of Conservative transparency, the Cabinet Office is fighting to withold the information. Why? Because details will clearly show insider dealing and that Common Purpose is key to the Conservative party machinery. The Tories are now the Emperor with no clothes. Corruption, abuse of Freedom of Information rules and dirty deals with Common Purpose hidden from the public.”

        • JamesdelaMare

          Thank you, Col.M. for such a long detailed response to the points I’d made. You must be gratified that it received a predictably high number of approvals.

          Of course there have been non-government bodies created in the past 25 years. Whatever do you expect when we have educated people pouring out of the universities, trying to think for themselves and trying to find solutions to problems the government has failed to deal with? Whatever do you expect when technological advances and new accounting arrangements to improve profitability all point to losing jobs where possible to save money and trouble? While at the same time there’s a vast influx of educated female workers coming onto the jobs market wanting clean well-paid work in offices, not in shipyards and factories? They have to be absorbed into public jobs or subsidised jobs, or there’ll be high unemployment, while the menial jobs are carried out by immigrants.

          Nor is it worth your criticising my reference to Tory supporters. Those were indeed the Tory supporters who kept the party going for decades. They were the people I knew, lived with, were related to, from the same social background as I, of (notionally) the same Conservative beliefs as I. Of course they criticised Labour without seeing what and where “Labour” lived and worked, and what they were paid. I’m not stereotyping them – they stereotyped themselves, although perhaps you did not see it for yourself as I was able to. They stereotyped themselves and supported the Tories long after many of us had realised that the Conservative Party had lost its way, probably terminally.

          All these readers here, in the Telegraph and in the D.Mail who continue to put out tedious discredited Labour-bashing comments – based on a fright that ignorant middle-class Tories had fifty or eighty years ago that their lives were about to be overturned by a rebellious working class movement (in political form, the Labour Party, supposedly allied to a supposedly dangerous Communist Party) – are the ones who you should ask to wake up to reality. They should sort out the grievances that Labour voters have over the deeply decadent company and government structure in this country which has led to the present disillusion with all three big parties.

          I am not to blame for it. I am only pointing out that traditional two-party politics has let us all down. It’s not Labour’s fault entirely, and the Conservatives are as much to blame, not least because their very partisan self-interested approach has contributed so much to the failure of government for the past fifty years. It is the Conservatives who should have known better – relatively uneducated Labour could not be expected to. If you and your party don’t recognise that, Col.M., then we’re not going forward at all and it will only get worse.

          • telemachus

            “relatively uneducated Labour ”
            Most political intellectual comment comes from the left

            • JamesdelaMare

              Yes, T. Quite reasonable point, but while half Labour was relatively uneducated trade union, half Conservative was well-to-do privately educated, and other half was lower management or “NCO” – in broad terms.

              • telemachus

                Modern socialism originated from an 18th-century intellectual political movement that criticised the effects of industrialisation and private property on society

                • JamesdelaMare

                  Maybe so, T. And you have one mark against you already for having posted a factual uncontroversial point. Incomprehensible how some of these people think.

                  In the translation as long ago as 1886 of Emile de Laveleye’s “Socialism of Today” and commentary on socialism in England (by a historian lawyer related to my family), three threads were then recognised, Henry George, Christian Socialism and collectivism, all of which had origins long before that.

                  But the origins seem immaterial. What seems more relevant is that the D.Mail has sought to stoke up fear by a wholly irresponsible misrepresentation of the supposed threat to Britain arising from Ralph Miliband as a 17 years old newly arrived refugee, who then developed his own political views as he was entitled to do in a free country.

                  I heard even Enoch Powell, certainly one of the most intelligent and best informed MPs the Conservative Party had since 1945, or ever had, once speaking about the military threat of invasion from the Warsaw Pact “if there ever was one”….!

                  If he had doubts, then we should all have doubts that Labour could ever ally itself with a communist threat to this country, military or in any other form. It’s nonsense that has only gained hold because the Conservatives have simply offered more of the same, knowing it’s already failed.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Your anecdote about Powell, which you have peddled at the Daily Mail (and probably other blogs) is unlikely. When he addressed his South Down Constituency in Downpatrick in 1983 he was under no illusions about the threat of the Warsaw Pact or the likely consequences of the inevitable retaliatory nuclear strike. The Warsaw Pact plans for the conventional invasion of western Europe were very real are fully documented and have been confirmed by former Soviet staff officers.

                  It is a revisionist trope of the modern Labour party to play down the threat (and their part in that threat), no doubt oiled by the provision of the Moscow gold after 1989.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  It is not peddling “an anecdote about Powell”. He simply qualified a statement in a radio interview as I recounted. It was reasonable that he should. Of course one would expect the Warsaw Pact countries to have a plan (and extend or up-date it) to move forces westwards across Europe, as they had done in 1944-45, if they were encircled or attacked by NATO allied to the three parts of Germany.

                  That is quite a different matter to a deliberate aggressive invasion which Powell in his wisdom recognised was not a probability. Nonetheless the fear was the reason why my own generation received military training from a very young age and was called up for national service. However it is negligent (but typical) if you are unwilling to understand Russian fears of that time – or since.

            • Thats_news

              But not from you, telemchus.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Thanks for confirming the increasing number of non-governmental bodies staffed by unelected people who think it somehow their right to determine “solutions” for the rest of us.

            I suppose we will eventually reach a point where the taxes of those working in private sector jobs, however imaginatively and stealthily extracted, are simply unable to meet the demand from this proliferation of lucrative NGO jobs and pensions. We seem to be well on the way already.

            Which brings me back to my original point, which nothing you have stated refutes in any way.

            • JamesdelaMare

              I’ve “confirmed” nothing of the sort. As you surprisingly didn’t know the reason why so many such non-government bodies existed, I simply explained it to you. Staff are not “elected” in anything. Board and committee members generally are, but not staff. They don’t “think it their right to determine solutions” for us. They may be asked or formed to advise or recommend, or even volunteer to provide suggestions. Moreover if the staff are paid, then they pay tax too.

              You seem to have so little idea how all this works that it’s hardly worth your becoming involved in these comments at all – let alone fooling all the other readers into giving you high approvals on so little substance.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Yes you did and this latest reply merely reinforces it. I don’t believe I expressed ignorance of how these bodies come to exist. I think you have presumed that. I made an observation about them, an opinion I am entitled to express. I seek to “fool” no-one. This is exactly what I wrote:-

                “In the last 25 years there has been an exponential rise in non-governmental agencies, lobbying groups, quangos and what can only be described as fake charities. They are unelected yet often subsidised with taxpayers money and exert disproportionate influence throughout the public narrative often in a shadowy or indirect way. The majority of them espouse left of centre ideologies.”

                The reason for them was not at issue. But you have usefully confirmed their proliferation and activities. Your attempt to justify them is no more than I would expect. Your advocacy suggests you either receive remuneration within them or understand their value to the left’s cultural revolution – or both.

                It seems you want to shut me up by inferring an intellectual superiority laced with thinly veiled ad hominem. How dare I comment about matters of which I know so little? Don’t I know what is good for me, one of the “little people”? The arrogance of that attitude is a fantastic irony given your extolling of socialism but unsurprising to anyone on the right who has watched its rise. Shall I knuckle my forehead or doff my cap to your elitism, Sorr?

                The approval ratings really seem to bug you too. You have mentioned them three times now and they bother me not in the least.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  Col.M. You are a prolific commenter anyway, whether or not you “expressed” your ignorance about how and why voluntary non-governmental bodies exist and are staffed. I merely tried to explain to you some of the errors and gaps in your comment. I have no connection with any of those organisations, never have had, and am not paid by them. Nor am I a “leftist” or supporter of Labour, and never have been.

                  Your comments and their approval ratings are indicative of course of how distant SOME Spectator readers are from an honest and objective willingness to have an open mind on political issues. A parrot-like slagging-off of anything on the left won’t help to reduce the absurd in-built divisions in this country, or even bring the Tories back to government. That is why we need now a re-think of the entire party political system here which perhaps leaving the EU under pressure from UKIP may bring about. I hope it does.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Wheras you, of course, enjoy a level of objectivity and moral superiority the rest of us could not even aspire to.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  No wonder the Conservative party is in the state it is when even objectivity is worth a slur and a contemptuous reference to “moral superiority” in the readers’ comments in one of its supporting periodicals.

        • Philsopinion

          No one did more to centralise the state and denude local democracy than the late Margaret Thatcher.

      • lgrundy

        “the Labour party was about to sell us out to the communists in the Soviet bloc… nonsense of course”

        Really? From the pages of this very publication:

        Labour’s Soviet Secrets

        Kinnock and the Kremlin

        • telemachus

          I think we have to establish that networking of a reasonable caring philosophy is not a good thing
          Ask Allende about the threat to left wing movements and whether outside help would be beneficial

          • Colonel Mustard

            You confirm everything by that statement. Labour party seeks outside help from Soviet Union to bring about cultural revolution during Cold War. No surprise to those of us who lived through those times. We knew all along.

            It is a travesty to describe the Soviet regime as a “reasonable caring philosophy”. But you know no shame. The fact that there are people like you supporting the Labour party should fill everyone with dread.

        • JamesdelaMare

          Igrundy – While they couldn’t sell out Britain to a foreign country, they can sell out much of its assets to private buyers or its political and financial independence to a supra-national body. The two are very different, the first being nonsense, both parts of the second being reality.

    • rtj1211

      And what about 1000 years of unelected hereditary peers thinking that they ‘rule over everyone’??

      There is no evidence whatever that the right has ever believed in freedom.

      1. Slavery? Abolished by Wilberforce but who created it??
      2. Votes for women?? No evidence the Right believed in that.
      3. Women’s right to work after childbirth? No evidence the Right believed in that.
      4. The right to be homosexual?? NO evidence the right believed in that.
      5. The right to live as a free person not as a subject to an hereditary monarch? Probably treasonous to the right to even raise the subject.

      You need to look in a mirror at your kind and see what you lot believe in.

      Establishment privilege?? Electronic surveillance for commercial gain?? Insider trading on stock exchanges??

      Go ask how that affects everyone else.

      if you can’t see how, go back to school and learn how.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Two wrongs don’t make a right. The Conservative party in Britain pioneered many reforms in the 19th Century long before the Labour party was even invented so I suggest it is you that needs to polish up on your history. The current government can hardly be described as conservative but the unelected leftist hegemony currently blighting Britain is far more pernicious as it operates regardless of any democratic mandate.

      • Chris Morriss

        Hmm, rjt1211, how about:

        1. Slavery? Abolished by Wilberforce but who created it??

        2. Votes for women?? No evidence the Right believed in that.
        3. Women’s right to work after childbirth? No evidence the Right believed in that.
        4. The right to be homosexual?? NO evidence the right believed in that.
        5. The right to live as a free person not as a subject to an hereditary monarch? Probably treasonous to the right to even raise the subject.

      • Wessex Man

        VOTE UKIP! AGAIN! honestly these moderations are getting out of hand again.

      • The_greyhound

        You won’t learn anything in our state schools, I’m afraid, even though they are staffed by fantasist ideologues and muddle-headed dogmatists like yourself.

        The “right” in Britain have stood for constitutional government and the rule of law for the last three hundred years. It is the left that has a lousy track record (and still has – cf. Mandelson looking forward to the end of representative democracy). The marxist ideological penetration of both the left and the liberals (there are no more fascistically intolerant idiots in politics today) means that freedom exists, where it exists, despite, not because of the left.

        The questions, or rather statements, you make about the social attitudes of the right are a tissue of rambling idiocy. For instance, no one knows, or could know, who “invented” slavery. It already existed in Europe at the time of our earliest written literature. It also existed in Africa centuries before Europeans ever went there. Tory and Whig Governments (both parties precursors of the modern Conservative party) abolished it, and the British Navy supressed the trade. (Your type would denounce this as imperialism, I expect).

        Again, women owe their votes to Tories. The 1918 and 1928 acts which enfranchised women were both introduced by Tory ministers and enacted by Tory Houses of Commons. And the Tories were the first major party to have a woman leader. Something Labour has yet to dare.

        You don’t actually know anything, but you like to pontificate. Someone as ignorant as yourself really shouldn’t be telling other people to go back to school, you know.

  • telemackus

    The BBC attacks the Daily Mail for its (reasonable) assertions about the commie Ralph Miliband but is silent on Potty Toynbee’s lunatic smear on Gove and the Conservatives in yesterday’s Guardian.

    • Andy

      What the stupid cow Toynbee was saying – as she got her facts wrong – was that the Labour Party killed Baby P and Hamzah Khan.

      • telemachus

        Just a minute
        Who sacked Shoesmith?

        • telemackus

          Yes, the brave Mr Balls fired the egregious Shoesmith who then won a claim for wrongful dismissal as he had not followed Labour’s own employment legislation. Of course, losing one’s job and getting hundreds of thousands of pounds compensation plus a fat pension is a bit harsh for being negligent in the gruesome death of a toddler, but in Haringey we have learned our lessons many times.

        • Andy

          So you’re saying he is responsible for murder ?

          • telemachus

            Andy son
            Harry Allen did not get me
            Ed cleaned up after the usual Council Social Work incompetence

            • Andy

              You should get to meet Harry Allen, allbeit briefly.
              Now Haringay Council is a Labour controlled council. Thus you seem to agree that the Labour Party are guilt of murder.

              • telemachus

                How does trying to address the clear social deprivation equate to murder?

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  The death of toddlers (or pensioners for that matter) is a small price to pay as long as you and your chums call the shots.

                  Keep laughing in our faces tele.

      • The_greyhound

        Mrs Toynbee isn’t a cow.

        Cows are beautiful and useful creatures.

        • Andy

          I sit corrected. You are right.

          • telemachus

            Polly speaks more truth in a day than Gove in a week

            • Andy

              The only thing the daft Toynbee ever speaks is bullshit. She has said that the Labour Party is complicit in murder – Baby P and Hamzah Khan. Read her article.

              • telemachus

                Social deprivation caused by our unequal society did for Baby P

                • Andy

                  ‘It was the Labour Party that did it.

                • telemachus

                  What by trying to right the wrongs of decades?

                • Alexsandr

                  by p1$$ing money against the wall that our children and grandchildren will have to pay back. I am sure they will be most grateful.

                • Two Bob

                  Oh yes and your solution is to bring everyone down to the lowest level.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  No – You did, and smiled when you did it.

            • telemackus

              The truth and Potty are complete strangers, whereas the Right Honourable Michael Gove is a paragon of verity and integrity sadly lacking in the entire labour front bench – liars, cheats and cads to a man (and woman) unfortunately.

            • Two Bob

              Does polly want a cracker?

            • S&A

              Did you pick up on the fact that the main focus of Polly’s rant – the ContactPoint database – was actually criticised by her own paper before it was scrapped:



        • telemachus

          Therefore you are wrong

        • HookesLaw

          Cows are milked for all they are worth.
          We need to do the same with Ms Toynbee.