Is Mail’s aversion to reality being ignored?

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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The front page of Friday’s Daily Mail reminded me of that great British actor Ian Holm.

Specifically of one role on this outstanding thesp’s CV; Ash, in 1979 sci-fi horror Alien.

A turn of incredible control, Holm’s science officer and – we eventually learn – corporate robot is an island of stillness amid the mayhem; calm, rational, measured.

Right up until, that is, Ash goes berserk, tries choking Sigourney Weaver with a rolled up Cosmo, then ‘dies’ in what must be one of the most remarkable sequences of physical acting ever captured on camera. Foaming, gibbering, eyes rolling, careering across the set, slamming off walls, arms pointing, clutching, flailing. Which is where that Mail front page comes in.

For some time now – beginning, I seem to think – with the Telegraph exclusive on SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon apparently sharing for no reason her plans to keep the Tories in Downing Street with the French ambassador, the right wing press has been whipping itself into what can only be described as a frenzy.

Half-truths as fact – screaming banner fact – all shape and size of ‘smear’ daubed on any and every non-Tory human, the line between reportage and opinion effectively binned for the duration of the GE campaign (which thus far seems to have been around 3,000 years)...

So business as usual for the vast majority of our free (of everything bar dogma and the Machiavellian manipulations of overseas or non-dom owners) press at election time.

Yet something about the current mood speaks less of the traditional arrogance, more of fear gnawing at their vitals, driving them slightly crackers, to the point when their relationship with reality crumbles.

That the Mail front page treats Cameron’s claim Labour will ‘bring back uncontrolled immigration’ as fact is not in itself noteworthy, not even in VAST BLOCK CAPITALS which fill half the page.

Business as usual. But a panel in the lower right corner is literally chilling in the madness implied.

‘It’s the issue of our time. So why is immigration being totally ignored?’

My italics...

I rubbed my eyes. Looked again. Did they really say that the issue which has dominated UK politics like no other for the last five years, longer, is being ‘totally ignored’?

Yes. Yes they did. Which is when my thoughts turned to Ian Holm. To Ash. In the end, they had to bash his head off with a fire extinguisher.

Just saying. That’s all.