Anorak News | Checking The Mail: Sherlock And Bashing Benefits Claimants

Checking The Mail: Sherlock And Bashing Benefits Claimants

by | 13th, January 2014

A misspelled sign on the house of 'Fungi' on James Turner Street in Birmingham, as residents of the street appear in the controversial Channel 4 series Benefits Street which has been attacked by a senior MP, who described it as a "misrepresentation" of life for people on social security. Picture date: Friday January 10, 2014. The documentary, which aired on Monday night and depicted the lives of residents of James Turner Street in Birmingham, sparked hundreds of complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom and Channel 4 about the way it portrayed people on benefits. Some residents have claimed they were tricked by film-makers into taking part. But Channel 4 insists that it was "very clear and transparent" with those taking part about the nature of the programme it envisaged.

A misspelled sign on the house of ‘Fungi’ on James Turner Street in Birmingham, as residents of the street appear in the Channel 4 series Benefits Street.


CHANNEL 4’s documentary Benefits Street has been an absolute boon for The Daily Mail. The sound of the boners popping up must have been audible in the office as the hate-filled shitstirrers of The Daily Mail’s crack Poor People Hating unit grew aroused at the thought of some easy targets. And lo, as it was foretold, the stories of “odious” benefits ‘cheats’ have been spewing out of the Mail’s collective maw faster than crumbs flying out of Paul Dacre’s gob at lunchtime.

The latest is today’s energetic destruction of a family that The Daily Mail says features “a drug dealing dad [and] 22 children including an armed robber and a murderer”. And there’s lots of the Mail’s usual framing of benefits as “state handouts” coming to the conclusion that “Britain’s lost its marbles”. Remember when The Daily Mail speculated about whether Ralph Miliband hated Britain? We don’t need to guess when it comes to the Mail: it actively hates modern Britain. It it could press a button and go back to 1950, it would in a heartbeat.


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In the first few paragraphs of its story on Raymond Hull [the drug dealing father], the Mail hits all of the required beats to make its readers froth into their fry ups. Hull lives in a Cumbrian village (Mail Reader: WHY DON’T I LIVE IN A CUMBRIAN VILLAGE? I PAY TAXES!) and walls “proudly displaying several generations of the Hull family” (Mail Reader: WHY DO THESE PEOPLE BREEEEEEEEED!). Then the kicker: “Hull appears to have won over a judge who spared him from jail last week after he was convicted of drug dealing…”

And it goes on, Hull’s partner is a 26-year-old woman, he has 32 convictions and 22 children, ranging from 39 to his baby boy – pictured in the story. A former labourer, Hull hasn’t worked for ten years (according to The Daily Mail). It doesn’t, of course, give any suggestion of why work might have become scarce in that period of economic upheaval but that’s by-the-by because Hull is the father of a “feckless” brood and so any mitigating circumstances are merely frippery distracting us from our hatred of this man and his children – “a poster boy for Broken Britain”. Are we still using that one? I thought that went out with “we’re all in this together”.

The Mail then does its usual trick of blaming all of the sins of the children on the father and vice versa while brazenly stealing pictures from Facebook profiles and using status updates to build a picture of nastiness. Unsurprisingly, Hull’s son who was found guilty of murder is not the worst of the children in the eyes of the Mail. That’s his daughter, a single mother!!!! who “openly boasts of promiscuity, drug-taking and alcohol consumption on her social-networking pages [and] has a history of drunken violence.” That her mother was jailed for arson and her father is wayward at best seems not to matter much to the Mail. These people are all the same right?

And, of course, The Mail doesn’t mention that families like Hull’s represent a tiny percentage of those claiming benefits. It’s important to ignore that. Mail readers should think that there are thousands upon thousands of people like Hull out there. That’s the Mail’s worldview, Britain is broken and only it dares to call out the corruption and lies. If you’re rich, white or ideally rich and white, misbehaving becomes “hijinks” and pissing money away like it’s going out of fashion is something to be emulated. The Mail loves celebrities more than any council estate-dwelling Heat-magazine loving fame-chaser. It pushes the idea of conspicuous consumption then wonders why others pick that up.


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Then there’s its passionate, ongoing and frankly deranged dislike of the BBC. The Daily Mail would like to see the BBC scrapped or replaced with reruns of Jackanory while other channels show wall-to-wall tits so that it can be so appalled that it fills its pages with screen captures and draws on them to totally highlight the truly rousingly offensive bits. The latest manifestation of its obsession is Sherlock which it sees as the latest standard bearer for BBC impartiality and left-wing bias.

It got in a tizzy over a joke at Boris Johnson’s expense – which only appeared in passing and required a freeze frame to read – and has now turned to the subject of Series 3’s big bad – Charles Augustus Magnussen. Because Magnussen is a press baron, The Mail has decided that Moffatt, Gatiss and the rest were attacking the press in general and Rupert Murdoch in particular. But if that was the case, why present Magnussen as a Danish businessman? And as usual The Mail is ignoring inconvenient facts – Charles Augustus Magnussen is based on Charles Augustus Milverton, a character from the Sherlock Holmes canon. In the original he was a blackmailer, in the updated world he’s a tabloid proprietor – the modern equivalent.

The real reason The Daily Mail hates Sherlock? It’s fun. The Mail may be popular – in sales and clicks at least – but it is categorically anti-fun.

Posted: 13th, January 2014 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, TV & Radio Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink