The Daily Mail today compared its left-wing critics to mating warthogs as it defended its “crush the saboteurs headline” on yesterday’s front-page.
Its interpretation of Theresa May’s calling of an early general election said in full: “In a stunning move, Mrs May calls bluff of the ‘game-playing’ Remoaners (including ‘unlected’ Lords) with a snap election and vows to…CRUSH THE SABOTEURS.”
Asked on Radio 4 whether she agreed with this description of her actions, she said: “Absolutely not”. May does not appear to have used the term ‘saboteurs’ herself.
Today the Daily Mail stood by its headline and said in a leader: “Like the mating dance of the warthog, a must-see ritual of the natural world is the British Left throwing a fit of the vapours over a headline in the Mail. The latest to provoke hysteria was our front-page summary of why Theresa May called for a snap election: ‘Crush the saboteurs.’
“‘Nasty and divisive!’ tweeted Labour’s IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah-sympathising John McDonnell (look who’s talking!). ‘This kind of hate and aggression is the last thing the country needs,’ whimpered the ever-smug tax avoider Gary Lineker.
“‘Fascist!’ said a Guardianista. ‘Stalinist!’ opined another, with some halfwit tweeting: ‘Stalin killed millions by labelling people saboteurs and enemies of the people. Literally the same words as the Mail. Chilling.’ Not for the first time, this paper advises: calm down, dears.
“For the avoidance of doubt, neither the PM nor this peace-loving paper proposes genocide. All that Mrs May plans, with our support, is an election to establish her mandate for pressing on with Brexit (backed by 52 per cent) without further frustration from ‘game-playing’ Remoaners and an unelected second chamber.
“As for the word ‘saboteurs’, how else to describe a Labour Party which has threatened to vote against a final agreement with the EU? Or Lib Dems who say they want to grind government to a standstill? Or Scots Nats who say they’ll vote against legislation repealing our EU membership?
“If they don’t like being called saboteurs, shouldn’t they give up the sabotage?”
Those criticising the Mail’s coverage included Labour MP Stella Creasey: “This is not democratic tradition dissent and debate of which we are proud -Britain deserves a better future than this chilling tone offers,”
Labour’s Liam Byrne MP also took aim at The Sun’s “BLUE MURDER” headline saying: “This is not who we are. The Britain I’ll love is confident and kind – not bitter and twisted.”
Former Guardian journalist Michael White said: “I try to avoid glib use of F word. But ‘Crush the saboteurs’ is the language of fascism. The Mail has form .”