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A better place to live? The issues Paul Dacre tackled at the Daily Mail

Paul Dacre - Credit: Getty Images

In his parting letter to staff the editor of the Daily Mail said he hoped he had made Britain a better place to live.

We take a look at the issues that under Paul Dacre’s leadership the newspaper has tackled.

From the topics of lorry drivers to computers and brown shoes here’s a flavour of what really concerned Dacre.

Does this sound like a convincing manifesto for making the country a better place?

1. Dentists

After a US dentist killed a lion called Cecil in Zimbabwe, the newspaper carried an article explaining: ‘Why we all fear dentists are natural born killers’.

2. Cellulite

A Mail obsession. The newspaper has dedicated much time not only to finding ways to ‘beat’ cellulite, but also to minutely scrutinise any evidence of it on the bodies of female celebrities.

3. Lawyers

Noted for their ‘greed’, ‘self importance’ and ‘lack of scruples’.

4. Judges

The worst of the lot – those who ruled that Brexit could not be triggered without a vote in Parliament were considered nothing less than the ‘Enemies Of The People’.

5. Remoaners

An ugly portmanteau with an ugly meaning. Anyone concerned about Brexit is deemed ‘unpatriotic’, ‘whingeing’ and ‘contemptuous’.

6. Stephen Gately

The death of the Boyzone star prompted Mail writer Jan Moir to write an extraordinarily catty piece on the tragedy, prompting hundreds of complaints and adverts to be withdrawn from part of the paper’s website.

7. Wikipedia

The website has banned the Mail as a source in all but exceptional circumstances, after deeming it ‘generally unreliable’

8. Child migrants

The paper has a mixed record on this issue. Last May it prompted a government u-turn, to let some into the UK. But when they arrived – and were not necessarily the cute seven-year-olds envisaged – the paper soon changed its tune.

9. Gary Lineker

Had the temerity to speak out on issues like child migrants, prompting a character assassination in the pages of the Mail

10. Gina Miller

Another character assassination victim. Despite its best efforts, the paper has failed to find any dirt on Miller or, as it calls her, ‘the gloating Guyana-born investment manager who alternates between glorying in self-promotion and complaining that her safety is under threat’.

11. Brown shoes

The paper is always on the lookout for celebrities breaching the golden rule for men’s footwear – ‘never brown in town’. It is a directive enforced with an iron fist on the news room floor.

12. Flip-flops

More frowned upon footwear. These can increase your risk of cancer, says the Mail.

13. Ed Miliband

As Labour leader, resident of Primrose Hill and husband of a lawyer (see above), he was never going to get on well with the Mail.

14. Ed Miliband’s father

He may have died in 1994, but that was not enough to help him escape the wrath of the Mail, which described him as ‘The man who hated Britain’.

15. Ed Miliband’s kitchen decor

More specifically, Ed Miliband’s second kitchen’s decor. The layout, captured in a photo of the then Labour leader having a cup of tea with his wife, showed you, said the Mail’s Sarah Vine, ‘all you need to know about the mirthless Milibands’. She suggested they use it as a utility room instead.

16. His staff

Dacre’s foul-mouthed treatment of his staff is said to be legendary.

17. Following the crowd

When the neo-Nazi killer of MP Jo Cox was found guilty of murder, every national newspaper, except the Financial Times and the Daily Mail, ran the story on the front page. The Mail put it on page 30.

18. Lego

The toy firm made itself unpopular at the Mail by declaring they had no plans for future promotions with the paper, in response to criticism from parents that they were associating with the paper.

19. Foreign lorry drivers

The paper singled out foreign lorry drivers for using their mobile phones at the wheel – apparently unconcerned about the menace of British motorists doing the same thing.

20. Melania Trump

Not popular round Mail HQ. An article implying the first lady once worked as an escort got the paper in serious hot water. She sued in the US.

21. Jonathan Ross

Will never be rehabilitated, in the eyes of the Mail, for his role in Sachsgate.

22. Russell Brand

See above.

23. Financial Times

The newspaper’s pro-European credentials have drawn the wrath of their fleet street rivals, which accuses the ‘pompous Pink ‘Un’ of ‘poisonously trashing Britain’.

24. The Japanese

In one article attacking the Japanese-owned FT, the Mail described it as ‘Owned by the Japs, loved by the Eurocrats’, deploying a term long since considered a xenophobic slur.

25. JK Rowling

Unable to accept her talent and backstory at face value, the Mail accused Rowling of creating a ‘sob story’, with false claims about her time as a single mother. The paper did finally take her word though: when, after it was taken the high court, it offered an apology and substantial damages.

26. The BBC

Staffed by ‘Lefties’. And each Christmas the Mail repeats its stories about how many repeats the Corporation broadcasts.

27. The honours system

It is a stance which can, occasionally, win support from critics of the paper, but the Mail has long railed against the ‘tawdry’ honours system.

28. The House of Lords

It is, the Mail says, ‘stuffed to the gunwales with cronies and dodgy donors’. Just remember this, if the Brexit battle hots up in the Lords.

29. Patience Wheatcroft

A member of the House of Lords and a prominent Remainer. Or, in Mailspeak, ‘a cheerleader for the moneyed Metropolitan elite’.

30. Lord Sugar

The paper paid Lord Sugar £20,000 after it called him a ‘spiv’.

31. The EU

Ex-Telegraph editor, and well-connected man, Charles Moore, said Dacre was prone to ‘bellowings of Eurosceptic rage’. And these scream from the pages of the Brexit-backing newspaper. Dacre’s attitude to EU subsidies, however, may be a little more tempered. He has received £460,000 in agriculture money, for his country houses in Sussex and the Scottish highlands, from Brussels since 2011.

32. The peace sign

The Mail accused Barack Obama of ‘playing the clown’ for making the two fingered sign in a team photo with other global leaders, suggesting others were unimpressed. In fact, the sign had been to indicate that two more late comers were anticipated.

33. David Cameron

The feeling is obviously mutual here, as the former PM is said to have tried to get Dacre sacked. Before then, the Mail had run unsubstantiated allegations that Cameron had put a ‘private part of his anatomy’ into dead pig’s mouth.

34. Oral sex

It can give you cancer, says the Mail.

35. Amal Clooney

The Mail had to apologise for a false story about George Clooney’s then fiancée. The actor then rejected the apology and called the Mail ‘the worst kind of tabloid’.

36. George Clooney

See above.

37. Stephen Fry

The broadcaster got both barrels from the Mail after he dared to suggest Russia should not get the 2014 Winter Olympics, because of the country’s treatment of gay people. Fry hit back in a blog, saying Dacre was ‘a frothing autocrat’.

38. Giggling

A bizarre piece in the Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle diary drew attention to the race and gender of two academics who appeared in a science section on the BBC’s Newsnight show – and the fact that one had been ‘giggling’ – with the implication being that this was why they had been selected to appear on TV.

39. Jon Danzig

The investigative journalist submitted a complaint listing 13 reasons why a Mail story from the period when Romanian and Bulgarian EU migration restrictions were lifted, was wrong. The piece had claimed almost all flights and buses to England were fully booked, with plane tickets selling for up to £3,000 each. The Mail later ran a correction.

40. Computers

Tech-shy Dacre has long shunned having one on his desk.

41. Lipstick

It can give you cancer, apparently.

42. Common Purpose

The charity, which runs leadership development programmes, was the subject of a blistering, innuendo-laced assault from the Mail, which claimed it exerted an improper influence over the Leveson Inquiry.

43. Sherlock

While viewers try to work out the convoluted plots, the Mail scrutinises the BBC series for evidence of left wing bias.

44. Cyclists

Or ‘lycra louts’, as they are known. And they are usually ‘smug’.

45. Kale

Mail writer Richard Littlejohn deployed his trademark ‘you couldn’t make it up’ phrase at the suggestion by food writer – and occasional New European columnist – Jack Monroe in a Guardian recipe column, that readers might want to make a low-cost Kale Pesto Pasta. He couldn’t fathom the idea that ‘poor’ people might eat kale.

46. Alastair Campbell

Described as ‘rabid’ by Dacre, the Mail also usually inserts a swift mention to the Iraq War dossier.

47. Lily Allen

After the Mail ran a piece documenting the singer’s fluctuations in weight, Allen said she nearly went through with liposuction and surgery.

48. Mail on Sunday

The Daily Mail’s Remain-supporting stablemate, frequently offers a markedly different editorial line, much to the fury of rival Dacre. Editor Geordie Greig had the last laugh, however, succeeding Dacre to the top job.

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