‘Crush the Saboteurs’: how Remainer Twitter became the Mail’s PR wing

If the Mail didn’t exist, the perpetually offended would have to invent it. And if the perpetually offended didn’t exist, the Mail would need to spend a lot more on PR.

The despised right-wing rag sparked outrage again this morning. Splashing on Theresa May’s shock announcement of a snap election yesterday – an attempt, May said, to see off Rearguard Remainers – the Mail’s front page shows a glaring Theresa May above the words ‘Crush the Saboteurs’.

Like the ‘Enemies of the People’ High Court splash before it, today’s Lenin-lite front page sent the liberal Twittersphere into apoplexy. Labour MP Stella Creasy called it ‘chilling’, Gary Lineker warned about a rise in ‘hate and aggression’. Guardian journalist Michael White called it ‘the language of fascism’.

Appearing on the Today programme this morning, May was even moved to distance herself from the paper. And somewhere, on Fleet Street, the Mail team toasted another job well done.

For years, the Mail’s political relevance has been fuelled as much by those who hate it as those who love it. And post-Brexit it’s outdone itself. For all the talk of the Mail whipping up the fury of Brexitland against the ‘Remoaners’, ‘saboteurs’ and judges, what it really excels at is driving right-on types to the brink of hysteria, and hitting the trend list in the process.

Remainer tweeters seem to be blissfully unaware they’ve become the Mail’s unwitting PR wing, and that they’ve become masters of the double-standard. Lineker and Co may have balked at the Mail’s supposed one-page war on dissent, but they’ve also been enthusiastic backers of press regulation and defunding campaigns like Stop Funding Hate, all designed to silence the Mail and other tabloids they dislike.

But it’s the elite Remainers’ understanding of democracy that seems most maddeningly, wilfully potty. Creasy decried the cover as a blight on our ‘democratic tradition’. But May has called an election, not a purge. If the saboteurs end up being crushed it will be by the expressed will of the public at the ballot box, not by the sharp end of a kitten heel.

While quotes from Nineteen Eighty-Four have been trotted out to show the totalitarian intent of the PM, it was this sentence, on the New Statesman’s site this morning, that was truly Orwellian: ‘The PM’s suggestion that the enemies of Brexit have to be defeated at the polls corrodes democracy.’ There you have it. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Election is tyranny. And the Remainer elite continues to lose the plot.

Tom Slater is deputy editor at spiked. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_

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