c2am6bkxcaaaahoIn a fit of self-parody The Sun has suspended Kelvin Mackenzie for writing something they proof-read, edited & then printed. Everton has now followed Liverpool FC in banning the paper from their ground. He wrote a nasty, stupid smear about the people of Liverpool again – the day before the anniversary of 96 deaths at Hillsborough and compared Everton’s Ross Barkley – whose grandfather was born in Nigeria – to ‘a gorilla at the zoo’.

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that The Sun is offensive, and we can only hope that other clubs and institutions in Scotland follow Liverpool and Everton’s example in solidarity with the victims of Hillsborough. Perhaps unsurprisingly Daily Mail hacks like Stephen Daisley has come roaring to the rags defence, citing that old canard of ‘freedom of speech’:

“MacKenzie has his fans but I’m not one of them. Under his editorship the Sun published a photograph of rape victim Jill Saward and branded gay vicars ‘pulpit poofs’. Not to mention the smearing of an entire city with his tabloid’s now-notorious coverage of Hillsborough. But however obnoxious his column might be – he insists he was unaware of Barkley’s heritage – the spectre of PC Plod investigating controversial pundits should alarm anyone who gives a damn about freedom of the press. There was no point in resisting the sinister prescriptions trotted out after Leveson, or the wolf in wolf’s clothing that is Impress, if we are going to allow state regulation by the cellblock door. Newspaper columnists are supposed to be offensive. That’s what they get paid for. ”

Are they? Really? That explains a lot. Journalism as rent-a-quote. There’s just a stepping stone between Daisley’s approach and Katie Hopkins. It’s this mindset that has dragged the press into the gutter. And no, media freedom isn’t under threat in this country. what’s under threat is the rights and safety of immigrants, refugees, people of colour, women and the LGBT community because of the world view promulgated by tabloids like The Sun and the Daily Mail and their billionaire owners for decades.

Daisley goes on with a bizarre comparison of the withdrawal of Mackenzie’s column to the ‘anti-liberal mood’ across the world:

“What unites the political pathologies spreading across the globe today is that they are all varying flavours of anti-liberalism. Whether it’s the deplorables in Trumpland, the millennial moralists of Corbynised Labour, or the happy-clappy cultists of the SNP, there is a common antipathy towards a free press and the dissenting views contained therein.”

You following that?

In the Daily Mail World ‘press freedom’ gets confused with inciting racial hatred.

It’s interesting who comes out to defend this form of ‘journalism’.

Stuart Campbell famously wrote that ‘Normal people simply DON’T despise the Sun. It’s NOT “toxic”.

I don’t agree. There is everything toxic about The Sun. It’s institutionally misogynist and has been in the vanguard of every reactionary political movement of the last thirty years.  It – and Mackenzie in particular – have been  relentless in their attacks on Scotland for years.

In a rant in the Sun in 2015, MacKenzie used the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean to take yet another pop at Scotland, or “Jockestan”, writing:

“Get those Libyan people smugglers to bring their boats to the Thames and we will load up all the Jocks and drop them off in Edinburgh.”

He continued: “We’re funding them as we do their free prescriptions, free university places, free etc.”

“The sooner they are off the payroll the better. If the UK votes to leave the EU (and I hope they do) the Scots say they will stay in. On that basis we should then repatriate all the Scots making good money down here.”

This is just one of dozens of examples you could pick.

The same year the ‘regulators’ that Daisley is wheezing on about took no action when Mackenzie ranted on air about ‘the lady who ruins Jockestan’ on the Daily Politics show.

In 2006 he was taken to task for celebrating the fact that Scots were dying younger than their English neighbours.

Mackenzie and Murdoch have been peddling their racist filth for years, contaminating the entire public realm and degrading political discourse with their disgusting view of the world. Looks like he may be “off the payroll now”. But as Roy Greenslade writes (‘MacKenzie has scored a spectacular own goal by insulting Liverpool again’):

“This time, surely, MacKenzie’s great supporter, Rupert Murdoch, cannot save him. It was he, the ultimate chief of News UK, who gave him the column in the first place. Now, despite his affection for the man who edited the Sun during its most successful sales period in the 1980s and 90s, he must fire MacKenzie. Then again, it will be too little too late. That Merseyside boycott, which has already reached Belfast, is likely to spread still further across the UK.”

Let’s hope so.

Boycott the Sun.