Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Daily Mail: Sorry?

Steve Bell in The Guardian.

Does anyone honestly think that Ms Harman could ever have been some kind of a cheerleader for child-abuse? Of course not. And if we don’t think that, and if we do think that it was through inattention that, as an officer of the National Council for Civil Liberties, she didn’t spot the unwisdom of a dodgy lobbying outfit’s association with the council, then for pity’s sake what’s all the ruckus about? But lacking further evidence against her, we rant at her “refusal to apologise”.

She was silly not to apologise, but can’t you understand her sense of righteous indignation that her reputation should be impugned by the suggestion that there might be something morally suspicious about her behaviour? Her anger at these newspaper attacks stung her into playing into the hands of her tormentors by trying to tough it out and take no notice.

Easy to say, though, after the event. Sometimes taking no notice works, and it’s difficult to say when the tactic will or won’t backfire. Being attacked by the Daily Mail is rather like being mobbed by bullocks when crossing a Derbyshire field. The standard advice is to take no notice but walk confidently through the herd, which, seeing you’re unafraid, will shrink back. And (the standard advice continues) if they do run at you, run back at them, preferably waving a stick. They’ll back off. Whatever you do (the advice concludes) don’t run away or, emboldened, they’ll run after and trample you.

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