Thursday, 14 April 2011

To Daily Mail Readers Everywhere.

Today there was a demonstration against The Daily Mail and it's malicious slanders against the most vulnerable of British citizens. It was organised by the group 'Claimants Fight Back!' in reaction against the exaggerations and outright lies peddled by the Mail to stir division among the public. A favourite line being that the benefit claimants are pampered and are really just work shy scum. Even though benefit fraud costs £500 million a year and the over-payments cost £3 billion, whilst the cuts to benefits are at £18 billion. The hateful attitude of the reactionary press towards the unemployed is not surprising if you consider that Richard Littlejohn is convinced that Jody McIntyre is not disabled and therefore deserved to be dragged from his wheelchair. So it would seem the understanding of disability accepted by society is not shared by the right-wing media, from which The Daily Mail has consistently tried to distinguish itself as a middlebrow newspaper of Conservative persuasion appealing to the middle-classes. Though it is often accused of being a fascist rag for a reason...
As of 2011 the Mail has a circulation of over 2 million people today, but back in the 1930s it had a readership of around 1.5 million and at the time it consistently supported the rise of National Socialism. The headline "Hurrah for the Blackshirts!" is well known as the endorsement of Oswald Mosley by The Daily Mail in January of 1934. The editorial was penned by Lord Rothermere and in it he praised Mosley's "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine". The support given to the British Union of Fascists by the Mail is well known. But less well known is that Lord Rothermere was a friend and supporter of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. The fascist leanings of Rothermere were reflected in the pages of The Daily Mail. In 1933 there was the headline which marked the advent of National Socialism in Germany, it read "Hurrah for the Sturdy Young Nazis!" Around the same time Rothermere remarked in defence of the Nazis "The minor misdeeds of individual Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is already bestowing on Germany."

This went as far as Lord Rothermere saluting Hitler in July 10 1933 with an editorial article under the banner of 'Youth Triumphant' which went on to be utilised as Nazi propaganda. At the time the British establishment, which went as far as the Royal Family and aristocracy, the commentariat and the literati, were riddled with Fascist sympathisers. From Edward VIII, along with the Duke of Westminster and Duke of Kent, to the flirtations of DH Lawrence and a juvenile Philip Larkin. Hitler once said of Edward VIII "I am certain through him permanent friendly relations could have been achieved. If he had stayed, everything would have been different. His abdication was a severe loss for us." Though a lot of reasonable people thought Hitler was the saviour of Germany, it should be noted that the kind of support lent to the Third Reich by the likes of Lord Rothermere and Prescott Bush. The support of high society and the business community for Fascism has been forgotten. It was IBM which drew up the "traffic management plan" for the Holocaust and the concentration camps were used to produced cars for companies like BMW and Ford.

The Third Reich attracted support among the English middle-class because of its racial romanticism and the promise of an organic society which would arise beyond the commercial and industrial landscape of the times. The class structure would not be demolished but transcended through class cooperation so that the glories of the nation could be realised in a radical alternative to Bolshevik socialism and liberal capitalism. The Jews would be painted as both dangerous radicals and sleazy bankers. Into this tension the Fascist offers an organic order in which individuals, classes, political parties and trade unions are subordinated to the nation as an ethnic entity. The emphasis was on 'Blood and Soil' with the imperative that we "think with our blood". Fascism presented an answer to the working-classes and the middle-classes, it eventually gained the support of the elites, all of which had been devastated by the economic turmoil of recent years. It was a horrible answer, the consequences of which we all know, which was posited as a "third position" to capitalism and socialism. Along with class, individuality and the state, even left and right was to be transcended by racial purity.

The Mail has been involved in spreading propaganda against asylum seekers for decades. In 1938 the scapegoats weren't Somalis but Jews who were fleeing persecution by the Nazis in Europe. The Daily Mail objected to the Jews seeking asylum in Britain: "The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage. The number of aliens entering the country through the back door is a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed." We might want to tell ourselves that the right-wing press were not conducive to the rise of Fascism in Europe and the ultimate consequences of Nazism. As part of the cultural amnesia of post-WWII Britain the tendencies in the Establishment which effectively appeased Hitler, and cheered him on in some cases, have been forgotten. It should be remembered that if there had been a German invasion of Britain, we could have had experienced the kind of occupation witnessed in France. There would have been death camps on British soil and a puppet government in Whitehall. We should never forget that Winston Churchill was a maverick and that is why he is so great.

The right-wing rags have a great deal of influence and shape discourse. We still hear the usual lines that people have the independence of mind to resist propaganda. And yet we have Fox News, which is basically the propaganda wing of the GOP, where Glenn Beck calls Obama a "racist" as well as a "communist". As the Nazi Party knew all too well, big lies are the ones which are believed and swallowed en mass. The mass-media actively disseminates such lies, often in the most sensationalist terms of sex and death, in a bid of competition. We have reached the point that you don't even have to read a right-wing newspaper to come across the latest story. When told that the media is not infuential always remember the words of Hitler in September 1942 ''The attitude of the Daily Mail at the time of our reoccupation of the Rhineland was of very great assistance to us . All the British of the Beaverbrook-Rothermere (The Daily Express and The Daily Mail) circle came to me and said 'In the last war we were on the wrong side'."

1 comment:

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