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Mehdi Hasan and the Daily Mail

So what if Mehdi Hasan pitched himself to work for the Daily Mail three years ago? Journalists, especially those without a berth – as Mehdi was at the time – have got to work to live. And of course he’s going to emphasise how much a prospective employer’s values are congruent with his own. I’m sure if he’d gone for a job at The Morning Star, he would have burnished his peace and socialism credentials.

This is so much nonsense. In my time I’ve known teachers at Catholic schools who, in turns, were gay, an avowed atheist, and a Trotskyist. I’ve known Sainsbury’s workers who prefer shopping at Tesco and Asda. How many staff at the Mail hate the crap they’re reputedly paid well to write? How many newspaper editors laud family values when they themselves out of choice, not necessity, screw around behind their partners’ backs? Little hypocrisies grease the wheels of working life, and this will not change.

Publishing extracts of a letter of application is not only immoral, the Data Protection Act may have been breached. This was essentially private correspondence of a commercial nature. All employers I’ve ever dealt with are obligated to state that information a potential employee provides will be treated confidentially, and that is the case whether applications are solicited or not. I’m not a legal bod and I hope someone in the know will be able to clarify this point. Unlawful or not, it cuts against the professional standards one would expect of any employer and shows the Mail and The Spectator as spiteful, gutter publications that will stoop to every low in pursuit of a vendetta.

Unfortunately, his monstering will achieve the desired effect among some on the left. That Mehdi is a socially conservative Muslim is hardly news, seeing as he’s already written about it. “He’s not really one of us” scream the lefty types for whom politics is an identity choice, and debate is about denunciation, not persuasion. Meanwhile labour movement folk who prefer to think and act about bringing positive social change will ignore the shrill cries and continue to welcome Mehdi’s muscular take down of the Tories, their press and their politics. If we’re going to have to wait for everyone to be a perfectly rounded-out socialist being, we’ll be stuck doing nothing for a long time.

This post was first published at A Very Public Sociologist


  1. Jon Lansman says:

    An excellent piece from Phil — so much so that I hesitate to quibble with his judgement that Mehdi Hasan, whom he so ably defends, is nevertheless “a social conservative”. The link that is used to justify the statement – to a New Statesman piece headed “As a Muslim, I “struggle with the idea of homosexuality – but I oppose homophobia” – does not in my estimation do so.

    Mehdi’s only current struggle with homosexuality as a result of his muslim faith amounts to opposition to mosques being required to conduct same-sex marriages. He is willing to accept same-sex weddings in a state-sanctioned register office. His opposition to homophobia is entirely convincing:

    If you’re gay, that doesn’t mean I want to discriminate against you, belittle or bully you, abuse or offend you. Not at all. I don’t want to go back to the dark days of criminalisation and the imprisonment of gay men and women; of Section 28 and legalised discrimination. I’m disgusted by the violent repression and persecution of gay people across the Muslim-majority world.”

    It seems to me that such tolerance does not amount to social conservatism. It is possible to construct a moral case against Mehdi’s position and as an atheist I am happy to do so but we can only act against the discrimination on grounds of gender and sexual orientation in various religious organisations by sacrificing religious freedom. My socialism does not include swapping one form of intolerance for another.

  2. Jim Denham says:

    Sorry, but I can’t agree with either the author of the main post or Jon.
    Hasan – a commentator notable for his self-righteousness – has been exposed as an opportunist and a hypocrite. The career-requirements of a jobbing free-lance journalist do not absolve him.
    None of which, of course, invalidates his splendid denunciation of the Mail.
    Btw: the term “social conservative” is his own (accurate) description of himself.

  3. Gerry says:

    Good point, Jim

    Every decent person knows that The Daily Mail is a disgusting hate-filled semi-Nazi rag, easily as vile as the Sun…and for Mehdi Hasan to want to work for such a horrific beyond-the-pale paper is truly sickening.

    He should be ashamed of himself, but of course he won’t be…we need to have decent principled non-careerist socialists in public life including journalism, not “socially conservative” fakes like Mr Hasan

  4. Gerry; The Mail is worse than the Sun insofar as it claims to have a respectable readership/support ie:the lower middleclass Tory voting, elderly section of society.
    Michael Foot in his younger, more fiery leftwing days, before and during the war worked for Beaverbrook, owner of the Daily Express, a more vile ractionary B*****d you would be hard pressed to find even among Thatchers or Camerons cutthroats.However you surely must have seen Medhi Hasan wipe the floor with the odious lickspittle Quentin Letts, the toady for the Odious Cowardly Editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre; Letts even went grey in front of the tv camera’s, nearly as grey as Major. Many times since the formation of this verminous pack of class warriors in 2010 Medhi Hasan has taken the fight to them on bbcqt and other platforms, if only Bliar’s heirs in the Shadow Cabinet had put half as much fight up against them we would have had them begging for mercy.
    I can live with a smarmy job application letter(which should be confidential); but it shows the raw panic of the odious vermin at the Daily Mail and the obvious absolute desparation , that they had to leak such information to discredit Hasan. Even greater proof of their desparation was that they had to rope in one of Israels’s and Zionism’s greatest U.K. apologists and red baiter, Nick Cohen(his job application must be in Dacre’s in-tray). His tweet calling Hasan and the British left hypocites, ranks with claiming Thatcher was a human being .
    Any doubts about the revulsion felt by the public at the Daily Mails scurrilous, verminous attack on Millibands late father( make no mistake this was an attack on Ed Milliband to try and mitigate the successful conference that he had , and try to deflect attention away from the Torie’s coming farce of a conference) then the response of the audience on bbcqt(and various other platforms) will leave no doubt about how this has blown back in the faces of the Cowardly vermin at the Daily Mail, hence the sheer panic; long may it continue.

  5. Gerry says:

    Francis – you make some good points, and I generally share your arguments here, although I don’t loathe Nick Cohen as much as you, he wrote one of the best articles (in the Guardian) ever on the bankster mafiosi of the City and New Labour’s complicity..

    But Mehdi Hasan writing that he shares the “socially conservative” values of that rag is truly sickening and craven..I say again: where are the decent non-careerist socialists? We need them more than ever!

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