The time we tried to doorstep Paul Dacre at his house

9:45 am - October 22nd 2013

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by Chris Coltrane

A couple of weeks ago, 200 activists protested outside the Daily Mail’s offices, in response to the paper’s ongoing campaign of hatred against anyone that isn’t white, male, straight and middle-class.

There were guest speakers, placards, banners, chanting and fun. There were press photographers there too, which gave us some good media coverage. I say that – The Guardian covered it. The Daily Mail? Not so much.

Isn’t that strange? We practically gave them the story on a plate. Perhaps there wasn’t enough room in the paper. I expect they suddenly discovered an important 15 year old in a bikini they had to cover instead. And then they’d have to make room for the columns about how the bikini has affected house prices, which as we all know causes cancer…

I had a drink in the pub afterwards with a prominent left-wing blogger. It’s no big deal, I’m just a very popular guy, and I need you to be comfortable with that. As we were talking, he leans in and says ”Chris, are you busy this afternoon? It’s just, I’ve got an idea for a little ruse. You know Paul Dacre? Editor of the Daily Mail? Well, the thing is… I know where he lives.”

How do you know where he lives? “Oh, I just know people” he boasted, hoping the director of his life was going to shoot today in the style of an East End gangster film. Vinnie Jones stars in “Paul Dacre: The Slappening.”

“I’ve got his address, and a video camera. Fancy an adventure?” It took me about 0.1 seconds to decide yes.

He lives a short bus ride from the Daily Mail’s offices, in Knightsbridge which, as British readers know, is where bastards come from. Turns out he also lives near a lot of sweet shops, which made me happy because it meant I could do some activism, and reward myself with some chocolate truffles. I’m not a champagne socialist, I’m a champagne truffle socialist.

We didn’t really have a plan. We were fuelled by excitement, not by consideration. All we had was a circular placard that read “Hated by the Daily Mail.” Could we use it? Could we, using our biggest and most preposterous shoehorn, give Paul Dacre an award for being the man most hated by the Daily Mail?

It’s conceivable. After all, Paul Dacre edits a newspaper that dodges tax (unlike the hard-working middle-classes), and the language Dacre allegedly uses in the newsroom is sickeningly vulgar – utterly at odds with their family values!

We turned the placard into a cone, and put three flowers inside, which we proudly stole from the window-box of a millionaire. We then made a quick video explaining that we were giving him the award on behalf of the League of Justice (look, we were working under pressure). Then we buzz on his intercom, and knocked on his door, for five minutes… before we realised it was Sunday, so he’d be editing Monday’s newspaper, and that we’d utterly wasted our time. When the revolution comes, let’s hope it isn’t me organising it. I’d probably do it on a Bank Holiday by mistake.

We decided to leave him the reward on his doorstep as a present. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but in retrospect, and as you can see from the photo, leaving a wrap of dead flowers on someone’s doorstep with no explanation looks less like an award, and more like a death threat.

It’s a bit mafia, isn’t it? Like we’ll return a week later and leave a horse’s head.

Still, I’m glad we tried. After all, if your neighbour was being noisy, you’d knock and complain. And when someone is polluting the country with toxic lies and hate, and you know where they live, I have no moral issue with knocking on their door to complain.

Now of course, I couldn’t print his address. That would be thoroughly inappropriate. However, you might be interested in my new idea for a business: Mogul Tours™. I’ll take you on a jaunt around London, stopping at the homes of the most powerful media magnates. If you then choose to pay them a visit, well, that’s up to you. It’ll be a bit like those Jack The Ripper tours, but somehow even more creepy.

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Reader comments

Doesn’t he have a country estate where he would otherwise be on a Sunday anyway?

And are you sure that was his door? I can see the Banham locks – very smart – but the white paintwork really needs a new coat.

So brave, doing this anonymously …

Door stepping Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Wail, may be all very exciting but it would surely be of more practical relevance for most of us to pick up on this front page story in Tuesday’s Daily Mail:

The TRUE cost of health tourism: Foreigners using NHS cost Britain up to £2BILLION a year, government report reveals…up to 100 times more than thought

I’ve certainly no objection in principle to charging foreign visitors for NHS healthcare. What annoyed me about the Mail’s report was that there was no mention – which extended to coverage inside – to the costs of setting up and running the administrative bureaucracy necessary to charge foreign visitors for NHS healthcare.

Every time I get a new hospital appointment with a clinic at my local hospital – even when I’ve had previous appointments with that same clinic and been discharged – I get three pages of useless stuff saying I must show eligibility for NHS care and evidence of local residence.

As can be easily checked from my NHS and hospital numbers, my history in personal medical records of contacts with this hospital goes back nine years and I have lived at my present address 25 years, as can be confirmed from the electoral register. I have in the past presented my birth certificate to show that I was born in London before WW2. According to the 2011 Population Census, 37pc of London residents were born abroad.

What is this rambling pile of rubbish?


Oh what jolly japes this press regulation stuff is. I almost split my sides laughing so much.

Fancy leaving your name so that Associated Newspapers can send reporters to knock on your door?
Thought not.

If it was humour you were after here’s Private Eye’s take on this trivial matter of press regulation:

Freeman: “What is this rambling pile of rubbish?”

Rubbish? The costs to the NHS of providing healthcare to foreign visitors has featured in BBC news bulletins on Tuesday with the claim that £500 millions of the £2 billions total cost is recoverable. What is not mentioned is the cost of setting up and running the administrative bureaucracy necessary to identify foreign patients in the NHS and to charge them. Nor is there any discussion about what this administrative structure could be used for later.

Is this what passes for thoughtful progressive commentary these days? A jumble of sweeping generalisations, teen angst class hatred and puerile ad hom? Have you ever thought of writing for the Daily Mail?

The Cricks

Predictably, your abuse is more evident than any reasoning.

Bob – seems more likely that the people you think are criticising you are actually criticising the original article, rather than going off on a completely unrelated subject. Just a guess.

Couldn’t you have left something more useful on his doorstep? A rabid weasel, a bottomless pit, a Claymore mine. Or simply had a waz through his letter box.

Door stepping Paul Dacre seems a bit infantile to me even if a Mail reporter tried to gatecrash a memorial for Ralph Miliband.

I thought there was more to be discussed about the Mail’s frontpage report on Tuesday on charging foreign visitors for any NHS healthcare they re3ceigvfe while here. Why lead on that? The frontpage lead in the FT was about what looks like a developing property price bubble in Germany. Is another financial crisis looming?

This photo is clearly for illustrative purposes, unless a badly made door as entrance to a dingy flat within a concrete cancer riddled wall is somehow a visual metaphor for Dacre’s true morality 😉

13. Churm Rincewind

@ Bob B (6) I think you’ll find that the BBC did not in fact claim that the cost is £2 billion. They reported that a consultancy firm, Creative Research, had come up with this figure.

In July, David Cameron was reported as suggesting a figure of £10 million. Health Minister Jeremy Hunt claimed the figure was £200 million, while the then Health Secretary Anna Soubry thought the figure was £33 million. The Government’s own official estimate is a figure “between £70 to £300 million” thought they readily admit that they don’t really know.

And of course, whatever the real figure actually is (and it’s certainly nothing like £2 billion) it’s only an estimate of the costs of providing NHS care to visitors and migrants. No-one has bothered to compare it with the costs to other European countries of providing healthcare to British visitors and migrants. And given the number of elderly Brits retiring abroad to sunnier climes it’s perfectly possible, if not highly likely, that other countries are in aggregate paying more for healthcare for British visitors, migrants and retirees than we are spending on foreign visitors and migrants.

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