If anyone doubted the lengths the Daily Mail newspaper will go to discredit Britain’s public health service, recent stories should have banished thoughts to the contrary.
The paper’s legendary foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre has ordered his singularly unappealing columnist Amanda Platell to launch a full-on attack following the Morecambe Bay maternity unit saga.
There have been fourteen deaths of new-born children which may have been avoidable. The health regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), did not investigate, and there has been a suggestion of a cover-up (which, in Daily Mail speak, is something that becomes a fact in the retelling).
While enquiries progress, as they should, the Mail is in no doubt that the former CEO of the CQC should be “left unemployable and with her credibility and career in tatters”, unlike for instance Jan Moir, or the unfunny and talentless Richard Littlejohn, or indeed the Mail hacks who penned articles such as BBC Turns Its Back On Year Of Our Lord, which was both malicious and totally untrue.
But it is when Ms Platell comes to make her comparison with what happened in the London borough of Haringey that the barrel is well and truly scraped. First, she talks of “the family of 'Baby T', Joshua Titcombe, a newborn who died needlessly after nine days from an infection that could have been treated by antibiotics”.
Then comes the comparison. This case “unwittingly stirred memories of another baby, 'Baby P', who also died after shocking negligence from those in authority. No one can forget baby Peter Connolly's death. It was one of the most horrific child abuse cases ever recorded”. No, Amanda, it does not stir memories of Baby Peter, who had the living daylights beaten out of him by his guardians.
The comparison is as gratuitous as it is utterly wicked, on top of which the Mail is the most blatant at playing both sides of the field on social services: when they intervene, they get crapped on by the Dacre attack doggies, and when they don’t, they also get crapped on. And then those same hacks shamelessly wonder, with their faux innocent faces, why such jobs are so hard to fill.
And this latest Amanda Platell outburst really will not do. What appears to have been an oversight by a hospital is not, repeat not, equivalent to a small child being repeatedly beaten until its bones are broken and its internal organs ruptured. That people like her are given airtime by broadcasters just shows how the fear of the Vagina Monologue trumps decency.
If the BBC had some spine, it would bar her from its studios forthwith. Job done.
*Tim Fenton is a blogger at Zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk.