Watching the Dailies Mail, Telegraph, Express and the Sun spew rage-fuelled invective across their own front pages this week has been wonderfully exhilarating. That their attempts to slur Nick Clegg prior to the second leaders’ debate amounted to little more than, in Tabloid Watch’s memorable description, ‘hysterical bawlings from the sidelines’ caused the warm glow that comes from being proved right to reach blistering levels at ten minutes hate HQ. It was delightful to look on as the rest of the population finally caught up with what Liverpool fans have known for 21 years.
The problem with lying, as your mum probably taught you once, is that eventually it catches up with you. You start off with the ones about fascists being good chaps, if a bit misunderstood, and eventually it leads you to a place where stories about a live TV debate that contradict the evidence of anyone who actually saw it for themselves seem normal.
The Independent tried to take advantage of the anti-Clegg furore with a cheeky advert stating that ‘Rupert Murdoch won’t decide the election. You will.’ Apparently this breaks the cosy rule about one newspaper not going after the proprietor of another, the dishonouring of which caused James Murdoch to pop round to the Indy’s offices to engage in the kind of toy-pram-evacuation manoeuvre which is a gift to anyone within hearing distance with a Twitter account.
As the newspapers in question take a short breather from hysterical ranting, Anton Vowl asks a pertinent question when he wonders if it is them or us who have run out of steam. While there are promising signs that this election is not going to be the usual handing over of power between two identical political parties, following an ordination of the eventual winner by an Australian media mogul, it must be a remote possibility that they will let go of the levers so easily.
Still, this election is perhaps the best chance we have to fuck up their programme and raise merry hell before they go back to ignoring us for another five years. So, along with the White Rabbit and Beau Bo D’Or, I urge all ‘people of goodwill’ to engage in some evidence based voting to disobey Rupert Murdoch on 6 May. After all, he can’t send James round to yell at all of us.