Saturday, 19 December 2009

Philip Davies and the Mail: the real PC obsessives

The latest 'PC brigade ban Christmas' nonsense comes in today's Mail. The article comes with the headline: Tinsel Taliban strikes as Court Service ban staff from decorations to avoid offence because, obviously, people who allegedly want to 'ban' coloured lengths of cheap shiny plastic are just like the Taliban.

The story claims this: Tory Baroness Warsi has received an email from an admin worker at Warwickshire Justice Centre in Nuneaton who claims tinsel has been banned under the company diversity and equality police because it offends people of other religions. Namely Muslims.

Banning Christmas things because of Mulims, diversity and equality - it's a Mail wet dream.

Except, once you read the quote from the Ministry of Justice spokesman, you strongly suspect it's not actually true. The Mail begins the quote with this:

Last night a source at the Ministry of Justice admitted that tinsel had been banned at the front-office counter at the Nuneaton office.

Which suggests all the above is true. But then:

'Over the counter, yes, where sensitive business like fine payments takes place,' he said. 'For that reason. Otherwise there is tinsel and stuff elsewhere.

'Nothing was removed for religious or diversity reasons.

'One piece of tinsel was removed from a counter where it was getting in the way. The rest of the tinsel remains there as festive as ever.'

So decorations have not been 'outlawed' as the Mail claimed. They've not been placed where people paying fines might not want them in their face, and one piece of tinsel was moved because it was in the way.

That's all the Mail is actually reporting on here.

A piece of tinsel has been moved in an office block because it was in the way.

Of course, it's clear that the Mail journalist Daniel Martin hasn't actually been to the building in question to see for himself.

But then the Mail has never much cared whether these stories are true or not. All they care about is that they fit the agenda and view of Britain the Mail wants to make people believe is true.

The Mail aren't alone - Tory MP Philip Davies is also obsessed with this fictional 'PC gone mad' idea. A rent-a-quote idiot who has never knowingly said anything meaningful or interesting, Davies is the 'parliamentary spokesman' for the Campaign Against Political Correctness. The CAPC, ironically, is run by two idiots who have never knowingly said anything meaningful or interesting.

The Guardian has revealed that rather than spending his time worrying about the serious political issues of the day, Davies has been bombarding the Equality and Human Rights Commission with letters asking questions such as:

Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person? PS I would be grateful if you could explain to me why it is so offensive to black up your face as I have never understood this.

It's just the type of comment that you would expect to read from a Mail reader.

Davies has said on several occasions that measures to tackle homophobic bullying are:

barmy, politically correct nonsense.

He said that Muslims should 'fuck off' in a made-up Sun story about an attack on a soldier's home in Windsor, which he then had to retract.

And now he claims he has 'never understood' why 'blacking up' is offensive.

Is it offensive to be a cretin or not, particularly if you are impersonating a Member of Parliament?

In the Guardian, Davies is quotes saying in response to these letters:

"Anybody who follows my career in parliament knows I'm concerned with the issue of political correctness. I'm merely pursuing a subject I raise more regularly than anyone else in parliament. It's one of my bugbears. Lots of people are castigated for being racist when that's not their intention."

Yes, but what about all those people castigated for being obsessed with political correctness based on half-truths and outright lies?


  1. As usual, all the people who have commented on the article have only read the headline and the first couple of paragraphs. If only they had scrolled down they would have seen the crucial statement from the Ministry of Justice.

  2. Why read a whole article when you can just have a misleading headline and go straight to frothing at the mouth? Puny humans!

  3. There's something I really don't understand about stories like this. One the one hand there's the suggestion that the government (or whoever) is trying to accommodate Muslims and assorted foreigners, and is doing all it can to do whatever it is the relevant group wants, usually very publicly (e.g. renaming Christmas 'Winterval'). On the other hand you invariably have the spokesperson denying that's what happened.

    Why would the government lie and deny the story if it was so keen to show these groups that they get special treatment?

  4. to pseudojamie,the government are not the ones doing the lying. It's newspapers such as the Mail who are lying. If you read the full "Tinsel" story you will see the "ban" never happened apart from in the head of the mail reporter.

    This also goes for the "Winterval" story. If you click onto the "PC brigade ban Christmas" link above, you will get the truth.

  5. Heh, I know, I should've made clearer - I mean how can people believe that (a) the government is lying about appeasing Muslims and also believe (b) it wants to vocally support Muslims? If it wanted to support Muslims so strongly and publicly, it wouldn't denounce these stories because they'd be true and it would want to shout it out.

    It's a weird kink in Daily Mail readers' logic, really. And kinda hard to explain in text, as I've discovered...

  6. er..I'm a bit lost on the connection between Philip Davies and the Daily Mail. Oh gosh! wait! Now I understand. You've linked two unrelated stories because it reinforces your own prejudices.

    Philip Davies MP sends a cretinous, offensive and time-wasting question about which you say 'It's just the type of comment you would expect to read from a Mail reader' - even though there is no link between Davies and the Mail. Nicely done! it worth me pointing out that the folks who buy the Daily Mail probably aren't the same population who read Mail Online. (It would be kind of silly to pay 50p for the newspaper and then read the same stuff online - I know you think DM readers are stupid but surely they're not that daft.)

    As for those who read and comment on Mail Online: show me an internet news organisation that doesn't have a healthy population of extremists and wierdos among it's readership and I'll eat my hat. Oh I'd be really grateful for any evidence that those who comment on news websites are representative of all those who read the items. Still lets not let facts get in the way of our prejudices eh?

  7. badweed:

    I think you make a valid point regarding web commenters not necessarily being representative of the readership. However, in fairness to MacGuffin, he does not make such a claim.

    To say that there is no link between Davies and the Mail is wrong. MacGuffin links to the post label for Philip Davies to demonstrate his ever-presence in tabloid media. Davies' views are often given a favourable platform.

    MacGuffin is exposing the regressive views of an elected representative, and the biases of mainstream media. Your accusation of prejudice is misplaced.

  8. Why doesn't The Mail etc just go the whole hog, and start writing headlines like, "Osama Bin Ladin Seizes Power at Number 10." They can then clarify matters, at the bottom of the page, explaining the headline as a quote from a conversation overheard during their editor's visit to Broadmoor Hospital for his monthly cranio-anal-ectomy.


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