Life of a Daily Mail hack

A blog detailing the abuse suffered by reporters at the Daily Mail was quickly removed this week when it was picked up on by the Guardian and a number of media-watching blogs. Reproduced here are the missing blog posts detailing life in the newsroom under conservative tyrant Paul Dacre.

The editor is prone to issuing edicts which he contradicts within hours, or sometimes even minutes. For example he said at Afternoon Conference a few weeks ago that weather stories were an absolute priority. ‘Do I need to have it written in letters a foot high on the notice board behind the back bench that we must have weather stories?’ he said. That evening the only possibility went in, a picture piece about Tewkesbury suffering floods similar to the previous year. When the editor saw it he yelled: ‘What the fuck have you put this in for? There are floods all the the time. Don’t you understand anything about journalism?’ This is a good example of what makes it such fun to work for Paul Dacre. His nimble changes of direction keep us all on our toes, and it is a privilege to learn from such a great teacher.

== Holiday blues ==

A pall of gloom hangs over the Kensington office. The editor has gone on holiday for three whole weeks (presumably to his property in the British Virgin Islands, which entirely coincidentally has a reputation of being a tax haven). How on earth will the paper come out without Paul Dacre’s wise guiding hand on the tiller? Of course he is entitled to have holidays, but the staff would be much happier if he was present all the time to tell us how to do it right.

Word has it that the editor is grievously upset about an item in the latest Private Eye which quoted an unnamed director of Associated Newspapers referring to Paul Dacre as ‘the Robert Mugabe of Fleet Street’ because of his reluctance to retire. Apparently he stayed in his office all day after it appeared. The Eye also said that Dacre had forced out anyone with a spark of originality and surrounded himself with mediocrities. This is obviously a grossly unfair way to describe such talents as Jon Steafel, Paul Carter and Ted Verity, who all demonstrate tremendous flair and wit. However I think the editor should be proud to likened to Robert Mugabe, a man who has brought torture and oppression to a fine art. We need more people like him to keep up standards.

== Post 5 ==

It is many years since the Daily Mail switched to computer-based new technology, but Paul Dacre refuses to have anything to do with screens. He believes that only lower orders use screens (that’s everyone in the office but him). If he wants to read an article he demands a paper print-out and makes any alterations in fountain pen. A minion then transfers the alterations to the article in the computer system. In my opinion it is good to see someone taking a stand against the march of computers in this time of moral decline. We all rely on them far too much, and it would be much better if everyone used fountain pens.

== Post 4 ==

Did you see that article a few weeks ago which said that people born in 1948 were the most fortunate of all? They missed the war and National Service, grew up in the Swinging Sixties, did well out of the property boom, have good pensions, etc. Guess who (to use one of Paul Dacre’s brilliant headline formulas) was born in 1948? Of course. In fact he shares his birthday with Prince Charles (Nov 14 1948). Woe betide any Mail hack who describes Prince Charles as elderly. Actually I think it’s amazing how youthful a man of 61 can look. He certainly has no need to dye his hair.

== Post 3 ==

The editor can only function with a sidekick who shadows him constantly, like sharks have cleaner fish which tidy up their orifices. The main qualification for being a cleaner is the readiness to be in the office from 9am to 10pm five days a week, if not more. You also need to say ‘Yes Paul, you’re absolutely right’ and ‘That’s a brilliant idea, Paul’ at regular intervals. Until fairly recently the chief cleaner was his deputy Alistair Sinclair, but since Sinclair’s retirement (reputedly because he was told he would never be editor, but who knows) the role has been taken on by three new cleaners, deputy editor Jon Steafel, and Ted Verity and Paul Carter, who both have some sort of title like assistant editor or associate editor. The three are always within shouting distance of the editor, prepared to do his bidding and drop someone else in the shit when necessary. The only difference between a shark and the editor is that while the shark protects its cleaner fish, the editor will turn on his cleaners and bite their heads off for any reason at all, or none. The cleaners suffer as much as anyone else from his rages. That must make them even less intelligent than a fish, though admittedly better paid. Steafel is thought to be on about half a million. Anyway full marks to the editor for the way he has improved on the shark.

== Post 2 ==

It is strongly rumoured that the editor has a nap in his office after News Conference, a half-hour entertainment which usually starts around 4pm (for a pale imitation see the Downfall link on the right of this page.) Apparently it is impossible to contact him for a couple of hours after that, but then he emerges refreshed for the evening onslaught on the Back Bench. His energy for yelling is prodigious. It all points to a power nap, and I for one think this is a very good idea.

== Post 1 ==

A lot of journalists aspire to work at the Daily Mail. But when they achieve their goal, most of them can’t wait to get out again. Why should this be? Maybe it’s the unique form of encouragement given by the editor. Every day he makes it his business to tell his subordinates that they can’t do their job and that they are useless in every way. He calls them cunts if they haven’t done too badly. Worse efforts are rewarded with five-minute tirades in which obscenities outnumber the ordinary words. This is the way in which he believes he will achieve good work from his staff, and I am sure he is absolutely right.

Posted By

Anonymous
Feb 3 2010 20:46

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PartyBucket
Feb 6 2010 00:57

Theres scope to be a jobsworth, no doubt, or you can be a bit more sensible about it.
But even the most jobsworth ticket checker is not 'oppressing the workers in the interest of capital', and even the most laid back one still has to lift fucking fares if they want to keep their jobs.
Oh sorry, they have to quit their jobs, I forgot roll eyes

888
Feb 6 2010 00:57

It'd be nice to have an argument that didn't consist of extreme caricatures on either side.

Yorkie Bar
Feb 6 2010 01:01

It would be easier to resist that temptation if everyone else wasn't always so obviously wrong.

PartyBucket
Feb 6 2010 01:04
888 wrote:
It'd be nice to have an argument that didn't consist of extreme caricatures on either side

Whos caricaturing anything? The exact phrase was...

Hungry56 wrote:
So ticket collectors cannot become revolutionary unless they quit their job.
Tojiah
Feb 6 2010 01:10

How is it that the most jobsworth ticket not 'oppressing the workers in the interest of capital', but the most lackadaisical copper is?

PartyBucket
Feb 6 2010 01:25

So the social functions of a ticket collector and a cop are the same?
Or their motivations for taking on said roles in the first place?
The only thing a jobsworth ticket collector has the power to do is be a jobsworth, as opposed to having powers to search, detain arrest, etc.
Taking money off people on a bus/tram/train, station etc is not qualitatively different to working a cash register in a supermarket...would you think a cashier was 'oppressing' you if they dared to ask you for the full amount?

Lexxi
Feb 6 2010 01:18

Let's not forget those taxi-drivers!

PartyBucket
Feb 6 2010 01:43

Actually, one of my co-workers at the time did do a spectacular oppression on revol68 one cold winters evening,

Lexxi
Feb 6 2010 02:25

We must recognize that the crushing domination of capital affects everyone without exception. Particular groupings cannot be designated as "the elect", exempt from and unmarked by capital's despotism. The revolutionary struggle is a human struggle, and it must recognize in every person the possibility of humanity.

grin

888
Feb 6 2010 03:14
Quote:
We must recognize that the crushing domination of capital affects everyone without exception. Particular groupings cannot be designated as "the elect", exempt from and unmarked by capital's despotism. The revolutionary struggle is a human struggle, and it must recognize in every person the possibility of humanity.

We're all in it together maan... Who said that? The ridiculous Camatte. Presumably you don't actually believe that is a meaningful quote. I prefer

There is no one single humanity
There is a humanity of classes
Slaves and Masters

J wrote:
It would be easier to resist that temptation if everyone else wasn't always so obviously wrong.

But you're certainly not right, if you're arguing that the only important factor here is class, as you seem to be doing:

me wrote:
the point isn't whether they are part of the ruling class

you wrote:
Yes it is.

In that case, police and prison guards' struggles should be supported - do you agree? Or if class isn't the only factor, what exactly is it that draws the line between cops and ticket inspectors? (I do not, incidentally, believe that "ticket collectors cannot become revolutionary unless they quit their job (etc)" - that was other people.) And where should the line be drawn? Cops? Prison guards? "Asset Protection Officers"? MI5 office workers? Security guards? Ticket inspectors? Prison plumbers/electricians? Teachers? Pigeon fanciers?

Why do ticket inspectors read you the right to silence bullshit, by the way?

Samotnaf
Feb 6 2010 06:32

I wrote

Quote:
Abstractly, ticket collectors could be defined as working class - but when you're surrounded by 5 of them giving you crap and threatening you because they declare that your ticket is invalid (as happened to me the other day), when they're acting what their role entails, then that is a class relation with the ticket collectors on the other side of the metaphorical barricades.

That is not the same as saying that ticket collectors are ruling class, a convenient caricature of my position by some of the previous posters. Bailiffs aren't ruling class - but when they perform their job they are clearly anti-working class. Soldiers aren't ruling class - but when they, for example, shoot at Palestinian stone-throwers or kill a 15 year old looter in Haiti or whatever, what are you going to do? Hand out a leaflet to them telling them not to do the ruler's dirty work for them, that they are acting against their own class interests? Try it if that's what you think you should do (it's the logic of your attitudes). Class is not just something neatly "objective" and safely abstract. It's so banal but apparently it needs repeating - class conflict is there when a section of the working class and/or middle class does their masters' bidding and when another section of the working class revolts against other members of the working &/or middle class fucking them over. It is rare to have direct conflicts with the ruling class - even the most blindly ideological of you must have noticed that it's not Jack Straw or Bill Gates or The Queen who nicks you for stealing from a shop, or for fiddling the fares.

And I have never said that people shouldn't give accounts (and analyses) of the misery of their jobs (in fact I linked to an analytical account in the libcom library of a work situation I was in for quite some time) - just that the Paul Dacre piece is pathetic Middle Class self-pitying (weeler, like the typical journo that he is, feels no embarassment in contradicting himself by accusing me of being "self-pitying") almost on a par with movie stars complaining about how difficult it is being famous; the account, like the complaints of movie stars, is not uninteresting in the sense of making me think how pathetic some people are enduring certain types of humiliation in pursuit of a relatively well-paid career, but it's utterly trapped in the standard mainstream media publicity of misery which has nothing to do with a struggle against misery. And to say that "complaining" is the first step towards struggling - rarely yes, usually most definitely not - complaining is almost always a safety valve, and there's nothing to indicate, in the mainly crappy article we're commenting on, the slightest hint of going beyond complaining.
But maybe tomorrow I'll be proved wrong and Paul Dacre will be hanged from the nearest lampost, the repulsive Daily Mail building burnt to the ground by journalists who have decided that enough's enough. .

As for quoting Frederick the Great - perhaps we shouldn't quote Machiavelli, Clausewitz, Lenin, etc. in case it's seen as supporting them. This is the logic of politicos who argue for the sheer hell of it (and sometimes internet forums, libcom included, read like disharmonic moanings from the abyss, the nasty ego-battles of people trapped in Dante's inferno, taking out their misery on each other without the slightest serious consideration of what the other person is really saying).

Rob Ray
Feb 6 2010 09:14
Quote:
perhaps we shouldn't quote Machiavelli, Clausewitz, Lenin, etc. in case it's seen as supporting them

Actually, far from denying your right to quote whichever historical despot you wish I was actively mocking your ongoing argument which appears to imply it's okay to write about a subject if it's something you're interested in, but not if it's something you're bored by or which hurts your delicate sensibilities. I'm sorry if this was unclear.

Quote:
just that the Paul Dacre piece is pathetic Middle Class self-pitying

No, it's working class self-pitying, done by people you (and I for that matter) sometimes find personally objectionable because of the work they do.

What I, and others, are doing here is pointing out the weird absurdity that you'd be actively condemnatory of anything which a) puts bosses in a bad light b) undermines the reputation of one of the right wing presses' most powerful people c) will act as a draw to a libertarian communist site d) may well get other journalists thinking about their own working conditions (which you still seem to think would be a bad thing, see my earlier arguments).

What's more, Daily Mail journalists are one of the few groups of people trusted by the right wing of society. You may not like that, but it makes a difference if one of them is saying their workplace is actually run by a self-contradictory megalomaniac where a communist saying it would just be laughed at.

Tojiah
Feb 6 2010 11:45

888 is actually stealing words out of my mouth, so I think I'm done here. wink

flaneur
Oct 31 2010 23:49
notch8 wrote:
So the social functions of a ticket collector and a cop are the same?
Or their motivations for taking on said roles in the first place?
The only thing a jobsworth ticket collector has the power to do is be a jobsworth, as opposed to having powers to search, detain arrest, etc.
Taking money off people on a bus/tram/train, station etc is not qualitatively different to working a cash register in a supermarket...would you think a cashier was 'oppressing' you if they dared to ask you for the full amount?

To save making a thread about this, ticket inspectors (in the UK anyway) can detain people if a name or address is witheld or made up, until police arrive. Or they have the power to caution you, believe it or not. Hardly like the indifference of a supermarket assistant, is it?

Steven.
Nov 1 2010 10:28
flaneur wrote:
notch8 wrote:
So the social functions of a ticket collector and a cop are the same?
Or their motivations for taking on said roles in the first place?
The only thing a jobsworth ticket collector has the power to do is be a jobsworth, as opposed to having powers to search, detain arrest, etc.
Taking money off people on a bus/tram/train, station etc is not qualitatively different to working a cash register in a supermarket...would you think a cashier was 'oppressing' you if they dared to ask you for the full amount?

To save making a thread about this, ticket inspectors (in the UK anyway) can detain people if a name or address is witheld or made up, until police arrive. Or they have the power to caution you, believe it or not. Hardly like the indifference of a supermarket assistant, is it?

flaneur, anyone can detain someone until the police arrive if they think a crime has been committed - it's called a citizen's arrest.

The difference in the scenario you describe is that a supermarket is big enough to have a division of labour between the till attendant and the security guard, whereas in a train carriage both of those roles are combined in the inspector/guard position.

Anyway, this is a pretty pointless discussion, as thousands of jobs have to impose aspects of behaviour necessary for capitalism on other workers.

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 12:10

Cheers Steven for telling me what a citizen's arrest is. roll eyes Are you actually trying to say that the two are comparable? Not forgetting they're able to give out cautions.

Actually, I've only ever worked in shops where there's been no security guards. Nor any have a go hero workers. Since there is a line between those that have to impose aspects of behaviour and those who can do so but are not obliged to - not sure why the shop assistant example keeps being offered up, none of them would be compelled to run after someone, nor censured for not doing so. I'm not making any huge statement as a result but lets not kid ourselves with 'it's all the same'.

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 12:46

Well weeler, I did a whole paragraph with points. How it usually works is you read what is said and then take it on board, hopefully coming away with understanding. Or you could just disregard the first bit and ask silly questions. Perhaps I can spell it out using tomato spaghetti, would that make it more clearer, if not a whole heap more fun!?

There are workers that by the virtue of their job are forced to do certain things whilst there's others who are not. Shop assistants fit into the latter. Which makes the whole 'we're all oppressors in the service of capital' a load of toss. Uncommon citizen's arrests compared with far more common detainings by ticket inspectors is not the most sensible comparison. Legislation allowing ticket inspectors to caution someone makes the comparison redundant anyway.

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 13:19

You mean the point, that was amongst the other points? Tomato spaghetti exhibit A.

flaneur wrote:
I'm not making any huge statement as a result but lets not kid ourselves with 'it's all the same'.

But why even ask? Because you're only interested in reducing an affirmative to a CAPITALS ONE LINER which might not be forthcoming.

Cooked
Nov 1 2010 14:16

What is the purpose of splitting the working class into subfragments with various levels of purity? Please prove that having them as part of the class struggle movement is dangerous or counterproductive. Reducing people to what they do for a living is a big mistake.

There is already a significant confusion regarding class as more and more working class people call themselves middle class. Starting to split the distinction further and further into hierarchies of approved jobs (and lifestyles?) only makes matters worse. How complicated do you want membership to be? Should people worry if their job is on the approved list? Discussions like this are damaging.

Again at a critical point in the distant future certain groups might become problematic but I question our ability to spot them in the now and why should we even try.

Why not leave the heated discussions to things that matter? If this separation out of certain groups is important please tell me what the worst case scenario is and make sure you consider the best case.

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 14:39

Well for such a simple revelation, you'd expect you'd get it right. And though I have an answer to where I see ticket inspectors in relation to other anti-working class roles, I don't see it fitting into your crude Paxman like, yes or no dichotomy.

As an aside, why do you even bother? You're evidently not interested in debate or whatever, only cockwaving and point scoring. Cue the boring "but I'm at work and being paid to it" spiel but that doesn't explain why you have to be such a bellend about it. I'd say nearly all of your posts are one liner little jibes or snide remarks designed to wind people up rather than anything else. No one likes a wind up merchant.

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 15:30

Well it's never going to be you, is it Jeremy? What you lack in ideas, you make up in how much of a berkeley hunt you are.

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 15:46
Cooked wrote:
What is the purpose of splitting the working class into subfragments with various levels of purity? Please prove that having them as part of the class struggle movement is dangerous or counterproductive. Reducing people to what they do for a living is a big mistake.

There is already a significant confusion regarding class as more and more working class people call themselves middle class. Starting to split the distinction further and further into hierarchies of approved jobs (and lifestyles?) only makes matters worse. How complicated do you want membership to be? Should people worry if their job is on the approved list? Discussions like this are damaging.

What is the purpose in lumping them in all together? As has been said in the comments already, class is not in a vacuum, there's the social role to consider. Do you not accept there are some workers that would be duty bound to smash a class struggle movement?

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 16:03

I said it quite clearly. It's not my fault if you can't get it. Probably not enough capitals. The fact that they do rather than can (when the opposite applies with citizen's arrest) detain people and are able to caution people makes them qualitatively different from shop assistants.

Jesus, we're really scrapping the barrel if it's chipshop anecdotes we're basing things by. Didn't know Frank Castle was working in SuperValu. Certainly wasn't in my contract to kill people shoplifting at Sainsbury's. In your view, is this what the common shop assistant is like on the whole? Otherwise, what does that have to do with the price of fish?

Didn't know my Mum was American either but considering I worked in a shop more recently than she did, I doubt she'll have much useful to add about the matter. I think you'll find all shops, for legal reasons, instruct that you shouldn't chase after a shoplifter. Infact, you're more likely to lose your job for doing so.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/6409511/Security-guard-sacked-for-apprehending-shoplifter.html

http://blog.americantheftprevention.com/2010/05/27/stops-shoplifter-gets-fired/

http://t3chh3lp.com/blog/stop-a-shoplifter-get-fired-from-sprint.html

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 16:21

Do you have any others? Maybe they'll REALLY add to the discussion. I know loads of shop workers who didn't chase nor kill anyone. And the shoplifters didn't have guns or nowt (armed robbers???), just a pack of Pink Panther Wafers under their arm.

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 16:39

We'll try it again. I've run out of spaghetti tomato letters so it'll have to be plain boring black ones. Do you think shop assistants are generally like how I'm saying or like your mate (maybe he was trying to get away from you?). And even if they're all generally jobworths, do you think, on the whole, they go around doing citizen's arrests and cautioning people (even though they can't by law and ticket inspectors can)? I like how your one anecdote is comparative to my months of working in different shops with no Frank Castles. I met a decent ticket inspector ONCE aswell.

Linking what's said to crude analysis of someone's mental health. I thought you was a journo, not a psychologist. ONE TRICK PONY.

flaneur
Nov 1 2010 16:51

It's quite offensive of you to suggest I'm your mirror image. hand

PartyBucket
Nov 1 2010 23:10

Im only sorry that in my time as a nazi train guard I didnt get the opportunity to oppress flaneur. In that time I can tell you I never had any legal power to detain or caution anyone. And I never have heard of any of my co-workers carrying out a citizens arrest on anyone for fare evasion, as any staff doing so would likely find themselves on more serious charges than the fare dodger (assault, false imprisonment etc.). And anyone mental enough to do so would probably do it in whatever line of work they found themselves in; whereas most people use a bit of discretion...but there are times when you cant just look the other way without risking your own job.
I got a parking ticket today, wish I had never supported those fucking traffic wardens when they went on wildcat strike and won roll eyes

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 00:14

Notch, it's probably a really good idea to take anything said about your previous job so personally. And to make assumptions based on what I've said about whether I'd support strike action by ticket inspectors or not. I at least appreciate you're more erudite than your knobhead mate.

Samotnaf
Nov 2 2010 05:22
Quote:
Im only sorry that in my time as a nazi train guard I didnt get the opportunity to oppress flaneur. In that time I can tell you I never had any legal power to detain or caution anyone. And I never have heard of any of my co-workers carrying out a citizens arrest on anyone for fare evasion, as any staff doing so would likely find themselves on more serious charges than the fare dodger (assault, false imprisonment etc.).

A train guard is not, as far as i know, a ticket inspector - whose function is very different; notch8 - surely ticket inspectors have the power to detain or caution, no?

The 2 class theory has nothing to do with any understanding of a hierarchy of differences in how different methods of survival, different social positions in the reproduction of our alienation, actually produce very different attitudes and possibilities of revolt. All work is compromised, but some is definitely more compromised than others. And flattening everything out into some equality of misery that can produce an equality of revolt against our condition only exists in ideology - it has nothing to do with experience, with history, with what actually happens. And even the lowest in the hierarchy, when they make unnecessary (ie not forced on them, but chosen) ways of complying with their enemies, make themselves the enemies of the individual proletarian in themselves as in others.

And, btw, weeler, you'll be glad to know that, in response to this, I give you permission to indulge in an orgy of your usual contentless, and not even funny, insults & parodies of my point of view (expressive of a very deeply embittered resentment of anybody who makes an effort at making sense against this senseless world) without me feeling the slightest inclination to waste my time replying.

Rob Ray
Nov 2 2010 10:50

First result on a Google for train guard:

Quote:
Working Duties Expected

Railway train guards may also be known as conductors, customer service inspectors or train managers. Their work routines vary between long distance, local/suburban, and metro/light rail trains. It is not now common for guards to be placed on freight trains.

The main task of guards is to walk through the carriages checking, clipping and selling tickets. They also answer passengers' questions and give advice on arrival times, connections and routes. They may also have to carry out safety and customer comfort checks prior to the start of a train journey.

Guards make announcements to passengers and may also be responsible for opening and closing the train doors via remote control. In addition, train guards ensure that passengers get on or off the train safely and will take necessary action if anyone falls ill or there is an accident.

A guard on a freight train would inspect the load for safety and security. Both drivers and guards have to make written reports of any unusual event occurring during each freight train journey.

Nice one flaneur, incidentally, sterling job in pretending notch hasn't just torn your entire argument to shreds and has instead "taken things personally." Care to keep digging?