I've mentioned before on this blog how much I despise the Daily Mail and, to a similar extent, the Daily Express. I hate these papers because, unlike the red-tops, which are essentially a more text-heavy version of the Beano, they aspire to respectability. People who read these papers are aspirational, middle-class folk who think that a paper with a fancy masthead and a posh font confers an importance on them. Sun-readers, in my experience, don't integrate the paper into their self-concept: they know it's bullshit, and they read it for the football and the tits. But the middle-market tabloid readers do integrate their paper into their self-concept. This is particularly strong in the case of the Mail, which openly admits that it advocates for the interests of its readership rather than presenting news impartially.
A large part of that self-concept has to do with identifying as British, or more particularly English, being anti-immigration and weeping over what Britain's coming to (quite often from an expat reservation in Spain, but still). The weird upshot of all this though, is that the supposedly pro-British Mail readers have the most negative opinion of this country of anyone you're likely to meet. They don't live in the same country as the rest of us - a place which, yeah, has problems, but is still one of the best countries on the planet in which to live. I mean come on: we have hardly any natural disasters, we have a health service which is, in spite of all its problems, one of the best in the world, our government, corrupt as it is, isn't actually fixing elections, crime is not out of control and, though we aren't one of the Scandinavian countries, we at least have some kind of safety net to protect people from the effects of the recession. And hey, immigration's falling too! Not that I see that last thing as an unalloyed good, but to the Mail crowd a fall in immigration is like the second coming. Surely, for the first time, their front page, and that of the Express, will have something positive to say, for once?
This is the ugly reality of the Mail: they hate this country. For them and their ilk, Britain has to be Hell on earth or they'll have to find some way of selling their papers that's based on something other than fear. And that, of course, is what the Mail fears most of all. So, even when a story about which they should genuinely happy comes along, they pick the one tiny aspect they can use to spread the virus of fear and convince their readers that Britain is a suburb of Hell where you'll be killed by a Muslim teenager with a swine-flu-infected knife and now they'll end up living in your house because of 'yuman rites' and you couldn't make it up gnash gnash grind teeth seethe
The Daily Mail hates Britain. I don't, which is why I hate them. Fortunately, as the now-one-year-old Daily Quail points out, 'readers are deserting print media because they can get everything offered by The Mail or any number of other newspapers for free online and not be treated like morons.' And, in the case of the Mail, it can't happen soon enough.