We all like to make brash statements from time to time against our favourite right-wingers. And since the comeback of the mouthy Mancunians the Stone Roses, it seems they have returned with political vengeance as front man Ian Brown subjected a Daily Mail reporter to a torrent of abuse during a recent conference. Antagonising the rather sheepish reporter, Brown asked “Let me ask you a question. What’s it feel like to write for a newspaper that used to support Adolf Hitler?”
Unfortunately, Brown’s statement rings true as although the newspaper may seem middle-of-the-market pro-Conservative these days; the Daily Mail, devised by brothers Alfred and Harold Harmsworth in 1896, was originally an imperialist political newspaper in line with the Second Boer War. It was then pursued further by the brother’s predecessor, Lord Rothermere during the Second World War in which the Lord was an avid friend and supporter of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini which influenced the Mail’s political stance towards them during the 1930s. Rothermere’s 1933 leader “Youth Triumphant” praised the new Nazi regime’s accomplishments, and was subsequently used as propaganda by them.
The minor misdeeds of individual Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is already bestowing on Germany (1933).
Authors Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur of the 2006 best seller, “Is it Just me, Or Is Everything Shit: The Encyclopaedia of Modern Life”, together with the book’s publishers Little Brown Book Group, produced an article about the Daily Mail featured in book. They refer to Rothermere and the Mail‘s relationship to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. “Hurrah for the Blackshirts” epitomises the Daily Mail’s apparently unbiased take on politics, as the headline made front page news of the 8 July 1934 edition. The news articles that followed described the BUFs as:
[A] well organised party of the right ready to take over responsibility for national affairs with the same directness of purpose and energy of method as Hitler and Mussolini have displayed (1934).
The paper’s similar enthusiasm for Europe’s Fascist parties, especially Adolf Hitler’s burgeoning Nazi movement remained strong: “The sturdy young Nazis are Europe’s guardians against the Communist danger.” However, following the BUF rally at Kensington Olympia, June 7 1934 in which hundreds of anti-fascist protestors were injured; a public outcry ensued and Lord Rothermere and his Daily Mail newspaper withdrew its support and over the next few months, membership of the BUF went into decline. The interesting parallel suggests the sheer gravity of the Mail’s support for fascist groups.
And as Ian Brown continued his rant towards the Mail reporter, he also asked if he had ever voted Tory. The journalist denied his affiliations with the party, which led Brown to retort: “No one ever votes Tory, do they?” The Daily Mail nevertheless, are still staunch Conservative supporters as seen through various headlines towards the end of the Tony Blair reign. “However you Vote, Give Mr Blair a Bloody Nose,” was the headline in May 2005, epitomising their partial attitude towards the Tory government whilst bitterly alluding to Gordon Brown on the other hand as a ‘spendthrift.’
The Daily Mail have cost themselves more than their principles over the years, so it’s about time that a Mail reporter be charged with a moral-ethics bill.