The Daily Express has proved itself beyond the satirical capabilities of Shot by Both Sides with a front page Assistant fans assumed must be fake (and given the misspelling of ‘sponging’ you’d think them correct). It’s a small relief that such hysteria is almost certainly an effect of the Conservatives’ political impotence: all they can do is squeal from the sidelines. And the more shrill the Express gets, the sharper its decline. Just as there are no votes to the right, it seems there are no readers there either.
That’s not to say that the Express and the Daily Mail, of which it is a cheap copy, aren’t dangerous. Of course they are.
Contrary to the Express headline the successful bombers were British born and bred. But that’s beside the point. The Express and Mail constantly propagandise against those – like ‘travellers’ – who don’t conform to their narrow yet ill-defined notions of Britishness. In doing so they contribute to a climate in which minorities are bound to feel alienated and which ensures efforts to define their own strand of Britishness are stifled. This comes at a time when the Muslim community does need to take action against those who bomb in Islam’s name, as only Muslims can define what is and isn’t Islamic with authority. People like Shahid Malik, MP for Dewsbury, recognise that the Muslim community has ‘reached a dangerous crossroads, and the direction we choose will prove to be a defining moment in our history’ and is working tirelessly to ensure it takes the right path. He points to a ‘fear that criticising radicals in our midst gives ammunition to the far-right’. That fear must surely extend to the mainstream Conservative press.
So this afternoon I’ve written this complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, which outlines at least two breaches of the Code of Practice to which the Express allegedly works. I believe the Express may be providing ammunition to terrorist propagandists and so may even encourage further terrorist activity. Why not send a copy yourself, by clicking this link and then send? And do let me know how they reply to you.