Today’s Daily Mail front page has sparked hundreds of reactions after claiming the UK has “lost all sense of proportion” by focusing on the scandal emerging from government lockdown parties allegations.
Picturing a rocket launched during a Russian combat drill and a soldier from Moscow, the 26 January edition argued Putin is taunting the West with “terrifiying military displays”.
The newspaper expressed outrage that meanwhile, Westminster is focused on “whether the prime minister’s birthday cake broke Covid rules”.
The Mail then proceeded to attack the Met Police’s investigation into the series of party allegations dubbed “PartyGate”.
One Twitter user quickly pointed out: “that poor birthday cake did nothing wrong.”
But the publication pushed on, arguing senior Tories asked for a “sense of perspective” over PartyGate in the light of rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which has implications for Western countries including the UK.
“They urged colleagues and critics of Boris Johnson to let him try to shore up the West’s response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and deal with the cost of living crisis.”
It comes as the cost of living rose to the highest level since 1992, with rising prices recorded for food, non-alcoholic drinks, energy bills, furniture and clothes – and a national insurance hike adopted by the Tories from April.
Reactions poured in in response to the front page. Former Labour leader of Brighton City Council Warren Morgan said: “The Mail thinks the man who doesn’t know he broke his own lockdown rules, can’t recognise a party in his own garden, and is easily ambushed by a cake, is the only one qualified to lead us into war with Russia.”
“I think you can only really get away with this if you have expressed absolutely any interest in Ukraine before today,” Journalist James O’Malley reacted.
Lib Dem activist and councillor Stephen Drew added: “I think what the Mail, on behalf of the PM and his government, are telling us is that we all need to leave Mr Johnson alone. Enough of the outrage plebs. Now just get back in your places and realise that the rules don’t apply to people like Mr Johnson and his friends. Look over there – WAR!”
Meanwhile, pro-EU campaign group Brexit Shambles said: “Enjoying the Daily Mail UK pleading with a nation to allow a man who was ambushed by a cake to: ‘try and shore up the West’s response to Russian aggression.’”
And Alasdair de Costa, senior analyst at Engage Britain, a charity working on bringing people together to tackle the UK’s biggest challenges, added: “Really enjoying thinking about the counterfactual where everything plays out the same except it was Corbyn that won in 2019, and the Mail is the outlet to warn an outraged public that it’s not focused enough on the real issues.”