Tag Archives: Lord Dacre

My audition piece for a Daily Mail editorial

The anthropopper is no fan of the Daily Mail, even though his father was at one time the printer of that newspaper back in the 1960s, in the days of hot metal Linotype machines. (For those of you outside the UK, the Daily Mail is a mid-market tabloid newspaper aimed at suburban conservatives who think that Britain has gone to the dogs – think of a print version of Fox News but without the slavish support for one particular political party. Its web version, Mail Online, is apparently the most viewed newspaper website in the world.)

The anthropopper finds something depressing about the formulaic nature of the Mail stories designed to provoke readers’ outrage over their breakfast cornflakes. It’s also sad to see any number of talented journalists take the Mail’s (reputedly generous) fees to churn out “why oh why” whinges about the social ills of the UK, as seen from the Mail’s editorial offices in Kensington and Chelsea.

Nevertheless, the anthropopper is not proud and an impending house purchase has focused his mind on the need to shore up the family finances; so in a departure from his usual subject matter, here is an audition try-out for the role of leader page comment writer at the Daily Mail. He can guarantee that, although tempted, he made no use whatsoever of the online Daily Mail Story Generator. No, what follows is all the anthropopper’s own work, just using standard Mail boilerplate text and attitudes. Lord Dacre, gissa job!

Lord Dacre, editor-in-chief at the Daily Mail (photo via The Guardian)

Lord Dacre, editor-in-chief at the Daily Mail (photo via The Guardian)



When Sir William Beveridge wrote his report 70 years ago arguing for the creation of the welfare state he wanted to give the poor a hand up from the grim life they faced. But a dependency and entitlement culture has since emerged which provokes anger and disquiet among all right-thinking people.

Margaret Thatcher’s premiership had a central theme that wherever possible we should look out for ourselves rather than look to others for handouts. But despite her sterling efforts, the dependency culture has grown steadily over the past years, particularly during the spendthrift Labour years of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. A sense of entitlement. A sense that the world owes us a living. A sense that not only is it possible to get handouts but that we have a right to them.

Nowhere are these corrosive attitudes more evident than in Britain’s back gardens, in the shameful displays of something-for-nothing fecklessness exhibited by our bird populations, many of them immigrants from abroad, who have entered Britain without proper checks, bypassing all border controls.

Day after day, exploiting the generosity of the British people, who spend increasing amounts out of their hard-earned taxed income on peanuts, fatballs and sunflower seeds, these featherbedded fliers come and gorge to their hearts’ content at the array of feeders set out in Britain’s suburban gardens.

Illegal immigrants exploiting the generosity of Britain's birdlovers (photo via

Illegal immigrants exploiting the generosity of Britain’s birdlovers (photo via BBC News)

Beveridge designed the welfare state for a tightly knit, deeply patriotic and overwhelmingly working-class society, dominated by the nuclear family. Britain in the Forties was an old-fashioned, conservative and collectivist world, in which birds pecked worms from lawns or searched branches for insects and only disreputable pigeons in Trafalgar Square expected passers-by to feed them. Seventy years on, we live in a very different Britain. In this age of selfishness and irresponsibility, much of it induced by lobbying from the vested interests of the RSPB, the work ethic of finches and blue tits has broken down to the point where they now come to the garden feeders as a matter of course. Many will not even think of feeding on a thistlehead or foraging in a currant bush.

Feckless blue tits seeking hand-outs (photo via

Feckless blue tits seeking hand-outs (photo via http://www.sheknows.co.uk)

‘Easy come, easy go’ is a profoundly destructive principle precisely because it is true. Our feathered friends deserve better from us than perpetuation of that disastrous philosophy.

Nobody objects to the existence of a safety net for those who really need it. But people are weary of the culture of avian entitlement. It is high time for Britain’s birds to stand on their own two feet.

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