I booked a cab the other day, and saw The Daily Mail lying on the seat next to the driver. ‘Sorry,’ I said ‘you can have me in the cab, or you can have the Mail, but you can’t have both.’
It was not the first time I had given this ultimatum to unsuspecting drivers. One or two choose to keep the Mail, so I walk or get the tube, which I should have done in the first place. Others are happy to go along with my eccentricity. So in this instance I was able to take his paper and put it into the nearest Camden Council recycling box in a neighbour’s front garden, and then explain to the cabbie why he and his life would be happier, healthier and all round better if he gave it up.
I apologise to the neighbour of course. I would normally put refuse in my own bins, but I have a golden rule – the Mail is not allowed in the house. That goes for Mail journalists, and the paper itself. My children are also aware that should any of their friends be of the newspaper-reading variety, one such newspaper is a banned substance.
When I published The Blair Years, one of the funnier emails my agent received was from the Mail asking if I would consider serialising the book with them. As it happens, I didn’t serialise with anyone, but I would rather die in a vat of boiling oil than take a penny from Obergruppenfuhrer Paul Dacre, the Mail’s presiding evil not-so-genius, who in his spare time heads up the Code Committee of the ludicrous Press Complaints Commission.
I see that Suzanne Moore, the ‘left-wing’ journalist who resigned a position she did not apparently hold in protest at my guest-editing the New Statesman, nonetheless finds her principles are capable of accomodating the taking of the Dacre shilling. Perhaps that’s because he has more of them than the Statesman does. Shillings that is, not principles.
I have also been shocked at some of the people who have indeed done serialisation deals with the Mail. Tony Benn, for example, is one of many on the left who, when push comes to shove, are pushed into deals with the Mail. Tut, tut, though he has other redeeming features.
Hating the Mail can be particularly enjoyable at airports. Most of the people I see reading the paper there do so because it is being handed out free as a way of keeping up the figures which are used to justify the exorbitant ad rates. British Airways, I regret to say, are involved in this unpleasant habit, as are BMI. As I say to air stewards who offer me a copy of the Mail if I get on one of their planes, prior to taking it and tearing it in half and giving it back to them, I assume they won’t be serving dogshit with the dinner, so why force me to take the media equivalent?
Where other papers are being given out free, it is always worth offering them to fellow passengers, but insisting you relieve them of their Mail, which you can then tear in half and pop into the nearest bin. I don’t know if Little Chefs still give out free copies of the Mail. You see, I haven’t been in one since I saw them being offered at a Little Chef on the A1. The actual Little Chef – that odd big white building about a hundred miles from London – no longer exists. Shame the Mail didn’t go with it.
I should also point out to Tesco that one of the reasons Fiona would not consider them for online shopping is because we learned you can get a free copy of the Mail with your delivery. I know Tesco is a giant, and probably doesn’t worry too much about that, but I suspect we are not alone in rejecting companies which actively choose to associate themselves with the Mail.
Yesterday M and S asked for their ad to be moved when they discovered it was alongside Jan Moir’s offensive piece about Stephen Gately, which prompted an avalanche of complaint across the web. It will have been a tactical retreat, and given the demographics of the Mail readership, M and S is unlikely to want to give up the paper as a part of its advertising strategy.
But, in these moments when a paper comes under closer scrutiny than usual, not least via the internet, companies will make judgements that might change their behaviour. And pressure brought on advertisers can have an impact. I suggest that all of us, in our own way, bring that pressure to bear.
Meanwhile, thanks to the T-shirt manufacturer who sent me the ‘Hated by the Daily Mail’ top a few months ago. I shall pop it on with pride as I prepare to go out on my bike. To be hated by The Mail is to know that whatever other faults you may have, you’ve done something right.
I regularly order online from Tesco. I’ve never received a Daily Mail with my order. The day I do will be the day I stop ordering from Tesco. I’m sure they wouldn’t be that stupid.
Why stop at hating the Mail? There are other newspapers out there that are just as vile and poisonous such as the Sun and the Express.
Love the “Hated by the Daily Mail” bit. I take great solace from the fact that the local Tories hate me with a vengeance, if I achieve nothing else………………….
Alastair you forgot to mention the terrible Daily Mirror..!
Suzanne Moore does appearance slots on Press TV too, which is the mouthpiece of the Iranian regime which executes people for being gay. She’s sure not fussy about where she takes money from. Principles? No.
Yes that was a terrible piece about Stephen Gately – who’s funeral is live on Sky News at 12 noon.I am glad the public has taken offence,and I think the press complaints commission is investigating.
As a show of support I vow not the buy or read the Daily Mail again.
RIP Stephen Gately – your smile will be missed.
Great blog Alastair!
Your blog is without a doubt, the most insightful and most entertaining blog around. Great stuff!!
Fantastic blog this morning AC! So much anger there…
NB We may not be able to complain about the article as family or friends, but we CAN complain to the PCC regarding the tone of the DM article and it’s homophobic rhetoric.
Meantime,have a great day!
I totally agree with your sentiments Alistair, I have also applied the same philosophy to the Sun or the Mail. They are in the same basket, trashy right-wing garbage, not even good enought to wrap a fish supper in!
I thought my own rabid hatred of the Mail was eccentric until I read your piece – Ironically I’d just finished my own blog about a homophobic article appearing in it – yes I do read bits occasionally for the sake of balance – but it always has me apoplectic and it is probably a habit I should kick, as I did smoking. Thanks for a great laugh, Alastair!
And yet, Mr Campbell, you were prepared to work for New Labour. I’m not an apologist for the Mail, but I’m outraged by more important things, like the treatment of Gary McKinnon.
And Nestlé complained too. I’ve boycotted them for years due to the way they promote their powdered milk in the Third World.
It’s fascinating what people regard as priorities. Nestlé: upsetting homosexuals: bad; dead babies: who cares?
Our Tescos deliveries have had an accompanying Mail for the last few months. Ocado, which my parents use, provide a free copy of The Times. It is very annoying. Particularly for them as they get the Times every day anyway – so they end up with two. I don’t mind too much as The Mail is useful for the cat litter tray and guinea pig cage. Meaning my Guardian can go off and live a useful recycled life.
I love the irony of a Daily Mail ‘journalist’ blaming the media – in this case social media – for raising awareness of her distasteful and disrespectful article. It’s 2009, Stephen Fry’s got 850000 followers on twitter, the world’s moved on.
I bet Jan would love to orchestrate a campaign against gays/blacks/asylum seekers but no one’s sufficiently interested in her ‘dogshit’ newspaper.
Absolutely agree with what you’ve written Alastair. Today is Diwali, the celebration of good over evil, of light over darkness. The Daily Mail, much like the BNP, represent the dark forces at work in our nation today. We must all do our duty and shine the light of truth on every hate filled thing that they say.
Brilliant and spot on. I think David Baddiel’s comment on Jan Muir on Twitter had it spot on.
Always entertaining Alastair! I find your little “eccentricity” amusing, though valid and for a good cause. But I also find it sad that instead of having newspapers enhance a national debate on important issues and policy substance, we are reduced to rejecting them because they’re junk.
I can think of no greater recommendation for the Mail than the fact that you hate it.
Mike, I don’t think any other newspaper quite so hateful as the Mail, though some are certainly bad. But the Mail is literally hateful, filled with hate for various groups that don’t match up to Mr Dacre’s vision of how the world should be. And they spend their life making women feel judged and found wanting, mainly by employing all those talentless little slagettes who do nothing but write spite-filled articles about other women’s appearance – odd that they aren’t exactly oil paintings themselves, no? And their homophobia is extreme even for a British tabloid.
I have boycotted News International, The Daily Mail, Mirror Group for years.
Sharp, Vodaphone etc but thats to do with football not social conscience.
“Obergruppenfuhrer Paul Dacre, the Mail’s presiding evil not-so-genius”…
Hmmm… the same guy Brown sucks up to so much I’m guessing?
You always have a plethora of syconphants repsonding to your blogs Alastair. Personally, in view of the things you have been involved in, I believe you are a hypocrite, a bully and also very childish.
What a nauseating pile of self-promoting piffle.
What a man! What a hero! What a legend in his own mind!
This blustering piece is more about how admirable Alastair Campbell is than why we should hate the Daily Mail.
So to all those cringingly congratulating the author on his ‘principled’ stand for decency, let me quote a line from Peter Oborne’s ‘The Rise of Political Lying.’
“The refusal of the Daily Mail . . . to collaborate lazily with the lies and equivocations from the Downing Street machine is, as much as anything else, the reason why the paper has earned the undying hatred of Tony Blair and his inner circle.”
So now you know.
I didn’t know George Woodhouse regarded himself as a sycophant-a word he can’t even spell!
Best wishes fellow sycophant George.
The worst aspect of this is that privatisation by DMGT of local newspapers (& entry into radio & tv). The vast majority of local and regional papers are now owned by them. They stories they publish and the agendas they pursue are limited in the extreme. Please don’t just focus on the Daily Mail — there’s far more at stake here.
Quoting Oborne won’t cut much ice here, especially when you begin by accusing AC of opportunism. Peter Oborne tried to make a career out of hating AC. He even wrote a book about him which I bought second hand so PO wouldn’t get royalties off my purchase. As vile as Oborne is in his portrayal, it’s clear he’s enamoured and wished he had half the charisma AC possesses.
Now there’s a useful tip for cab drivers. If you are fastidious about who you have in you cab, always carry a copy of the Daily Mail.
If you think I am sychophant you clearly have no idea what it means. I did notice that I had inadvertently mis-spelt the word but didnt think anyone would be petty enought to comment.
Fully agree with the anti-mail sentiments but quite ironic considering it was the readers’ of the mail that were courted so vehemently in 97 and beyond.
i’m pretty sure the ‘worcester woman’ reads the mail.
I’m sorry Alastair, but don’t you think your own views might be encroaching on the extreme here? Ok express your opinion on the publication, ban it from your home, refuse it on a plane. But telling some poor cabbie what he may and may not read during his well earned lunch break is surely a bit much. Have you ever considered a position with the Chinese government?
Couldn’t agree more Alistair. The disgusting spectacle of seeing the Mail publish all those nauseating articles about plucky Britain and how we overcame those nasty Nazis turns my stomach when one recalls the rabid cheerleading, evinced by the mail and its owner Lord Rothermere, for Hitler and the Nazis. The breathtaking cynicism is pure Dacre, a truly repulsive man. Surely it’s time to bring the Rothermeres to account for their treason? A reckoning well overdue methinks. By the way, what does Fiona think of the creepy anti-women strand that runs throughout the paper – Mrs Dacre must be very odd indeed!