Today, Britain's worst tabloid features a textbook display of dailymailism. We're on about Laura Clark's piece titled Britain is the worst place to live in Europe (despite our big pay packets), which shamelessly rehashes a study by uSwitch published -seriously- in July 2008.
First off, this stuff is vintage Daily Mail because it bases an entire point on "reports" or "studies" originating from the age when Paul Dacre's head was still full of hair. Don't be surprised if you soon spot a Mail piece that goes: "We're shunning radio for telly, a study from 1978 reveals".
Secondly, it's fantastic to see the country's most neurotic rag twistedly slamming Britain for the same policies that are regularly championed by the Mail itself.
For instance. Apparently, Britain's a bad place to live because it's got long working hours and not enough holidays. But the Daily Mail has always called in favour of opting out of the European Working Time Directive, echoing the CBI's fears that it "would have a 'significant or severe' impact on business". Not to mention the numerous Daily Mail lectures about "lazy Britons".
Similarly, the Mail now says Britain is bad because less cash is spent on both health and education. But, aside from the daily bombardment of "stories" about the expensive NHS, whenever the government announces extra spending on public services, you get the Barmy Army of Littlejohn, Phillips and friends ranting that ZaNu Labour is wasting taxpayers' money on 'Nanny State'.
Retirement age. Apparently Britain has the third highest retirement age. But guess who applauded George Osborne last week for making the "tough call" to "extend our working lives by a year?".
But this is also "vintage Daily Mail" right from the headline. "Despite our big pay packets", it reads. Speak for yourself, Laura Clark. She keeps going on about high incomes in the UK but little does she say about the huge (and increasing) wage differentials between rich and poor and also between different parts of the UK.
Finally, the uSwitch study reveals that "41,026 Brits fled [the] UK in 2006, the highest number in Europe", but that's the one thing Laura Clark's piece does not mention. Perhaps because it sits at odds with the Mail's relentless bombardment about immigration.
And even for such a ridiculous paper, that would be one contradiction too many.
***UPDATE*** 13 Oct 2009
Sure enough, Richard Littlejohn's preying on the carcass already. "Britain is the worst place to live in Europe, according to a new survey [our emphasis]", he writes in today's Mail.