Sympathy From The Devil

A friend of the senior partner in the Mother and Child Quiz team said last week that she was depressed reading her newspaper - all those stories of stabbings, immigration and Gordon Brown. Her newspaper of choice? Step forward The Daily Mail. Yes, it does depress and make you think life under Labour is shit: that is its purpose. As if on May 1st 1997, the halcyon days nurtured by Madame Thatcher had been replaced with the nastiest government ever. The record unemployment, decaying industrial base and the belief that 'there is no such thing as society' only the Me, Me, Me lodge, are long forgotten by the idiots who buy and read the paper.

I noted recently that the Bad Science writer, Ben Goldacre said there was a risk of being inculcated by reading this bile all the time - a sort of journalistic Stockholm Syndrome. Well. I'd rather be trapped in a lift with a flatulent Michael Winner and an amorous Jade Goody than fall victim to this. Therefore, every now and again I treat myself to a life. I've begun to engage in the Liverpool Capital of Culture Year and even had the sad privilege of watching the Mighty Whites robbed by the not-quite-minimum-wage-slaves from Anfield today.

I also managed to satisfy one of my (legal) fantasies by singing a Beatles track (in German, oh yes) with a proper backing band, live on radio - to be heard throughout the discovered world.

However, there are times when my masochistic hobby has to take centre stage. Whereas alleged Formula 1 Max Moseley pays lots of alleged money for alleged fun, in no way connected to his mother and father's political leanings, I like mine to be free.

Max Moseley's father's favourite hate rag, The Daily Mail, today, has a 'moving' story of a Romanian child, Florina Vranceanu, who was allegedly raped by her uncle in Romania and her family sought an abortion in the UK.

The Mail puts their compassionate soul, Natalie Clarke on the case. Nat, who famously covered the Wayne and Colleen Rooney wedding, informing us that,

  • But cynics also point out she's intelligent enough to realise that if she wasn't the wife or girlfriend of Wayne Rooney, the clothes and TV contracts would soon dry up. That Coleen without Wayne reverts to being Coleen, just another kid from Croxteth. How nasty people are.
and then Natalie sneers further:
  • Then she was given her own column with Closer magazine, talking about her clothes and holidays, worth around £100,000, it's said. On her marriage banns she gave 'journalist' as her occupation. Er, right.
Obviously, Coleen will never reach your standards, Natalie but not that you're bitter, right?
  • I don't know, but I would guess that the big chavtastic wedding at Portofino is all down to Coleen, who the aforesaid cynics say is going to demand a lifetime of financial payback for those nights down at the massage parlour.
  • Meanwhile, Wayne took a bunch of what some would call freeloaders - sorry, friends and family - off to Ibiza last week for a five-day stag do.

The rest of this article is just as bad. Shoddy, ill-informed snobbery. Phrases like (and I paraphrase) 'barely a day goes by without Coleen shopping at a designer store' should not be allowed in a free-sheet, let alone a so-called serious national newspaper.

As usual, I digress, for our Nat tries to make recompense with her story about Florina Vranceanu. The article appears to suggest that this is an interview with the girl and her mother. If only they realised what a vicious and evil paper they were talking to; a rag with a less than hidden agenda.

Exhibit A

The original story in The Daily Mail

As the story broke, there was some debate as to whether the girl would be allowed to have an abortion due to the lateness and this brought out the pro-lifers to effervesce over 24 weeks.

On the face of it, the Mail does not make any judgement about the case. That is not its modus operandi, which is to merely light the blue touch paper and let its moronic and bigoted readership fill in the gaps. Much has been said before about headlines bearing no relation to the actual story, and the caveats secreted within the articles. Here, despite the fact that it clearly states that,
  • A wealthy Romanian businesswoman living in London has spoken to the family and promised to make arrangements for the abortion and cover all the costs.
the cerebrally-challenged DM haters vent their collective spleen:
  • I am sorry for this young girl and for what has happened to her, BUT doesn't Romania have their own government? Why should we have to pay for a termination when there are other very young girls of our own falling into the same trap?

    She only got 16 weeks left to go. Why not just let her have the baby then put it into care for adoption?

    - Jules, UK, 26/6/2008 11:16

  • A sad story but why, yet again, are we no doubt picking up the medical bill? Why does the whole of the world think we can sort their problems out?

    - S, Essex, 26/6/2008 14:13

  • Why the hell is this our problem, and why should the taxpayer subsidise or pay for this. I see no mention of anyone paying for the actual operation, only the trip.

    No, sort it out in your own country, we will not pay for this out our taxes.

    - Steve, Lincoln, UK, 26/6/2008 21:57

  • Excuse me? Will they pay for this procedure or just be like many others and do an NHS sponge visit at our expense? I do feel for the girl and her predicament, but good old GB is to be used again when our own are denied treatment because of cost.

    - Karen, London, UK, 26/6/2008 23:04

Then there are the people pontificating about whether abortion is right or wrong, or whether adoption should occur. Nice that people feel so free to pass judgement on morality from the comfort of their own arsehole.

To be fair, others did show compassion and point out the stupidity of the comments. Perhaps the finest comes from - I believe - someone orginally from Bucharest:
  • To the ones who are so much afraid that they will have nothing to eat because they will have to pay for this, can you actually READ? The text is written in your own language.

    And to the Romanian Orthodox Church, for the first time in my life: BRAVO for admitting it is not YOUR judgement and decision but the family's.

    - Gabriela, Bexleyheath, Kent, 27/6/2008 9:37

Romania and its people are always at the forefront of the Mail's compassion. Witness another story on the same day:

Police fury as bosses tell them to 'celebrate' gipsies

  • Their arrival in the capital is said to have led to a huge rise in thieving and prompted the creation of a specialist police squad to tackle their sinister activities.
Ah yes, the tried and trusted trick of hearsay evidence to blacken the reputation of a group of people. The story is ostensibly about a Gipsy (sic) Roma Traveller History Month but is just an excuse to have a go at people whose lifestyle does not fit in with the Mail idyll - ever see ethnic minorities in Mail TV ads? - and allow further bile to pile up. If people don't want to celebrate this, or feel it is an empty gesture on a par with National Foot Odour Day (sponsored by Adidas and Odour Eaters)then so be it, but what do we get?

  • What are these people doing to Britain. I think they have a plan to completely destroy our way of life. Who will stop them.

    - Peter, Greece, 12/7/2008 3:35

  • This is typical in PC Britain only Italy has the guts to get rid of them, but then as usual the rights of the criminal are put above those of the victim.

    - SHIRLEY, France, 12/7/2008 5:49

SHIRLEY, I SAID SHIRLEY, is a fan of Berlusconi. Perhaps she supports Le Pen. Anyway, nice of her to lecture us on foreigners from across Le Manche. Ditto Peter, whose Ouzo drinking has led to him forgetting how to use punctuation.

The frustrating thing about Planet Mail is that it increasingly resembles Groundhog Day. The article continues,
  • Earlier this year, police staged a dramatic series of dawn raids in Slough, Berkshire, in a campaign to stamp out a Fagin-style crime ring involving Romanian slave children smuggled into Britain.

    Ten children were taken into care and 24 of their suspected controllers arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and organising theft involving up to £1billion a year. Many of those arrested were understood to be Roma gipsies.
Sounds familiar. Oh yes. As The Guardian reported in February 2008, and I referred to here.

From brilliant coup to cock-up. How the story of Fagin's urchins fell apart

In the nine days since the raid all but one child has been returned to the Roma community in Slough, according to a Romanian diplomat, and none of the 24 adults arrested at the scene has been charged with child trafficking offences.

Now, I'm not suggesting that The Guardian is correct and The Mail is lying, twisting bastards but I know who my money is on.