A Valentine's Day love letter to Lord Moylan
On Friday night Lord Moylan took aim at The Yorkshire Post.
NEW: WE DISCOVERED HOW MUCH LORD MOYLAN TOOK FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE FOR THE EQUIVALENT OF JUST 5 MONTHS' WORKUpon seeing our front page previewed - as it is each night by the BBC - Daniel Moylan felt compelled to respond by attacking Yorkshire' s National Newspaper and those it serves.
He said: "I’m going to Yorkshire for a short break next week. Everything I’ve read recently in The Yorkshire Post makes me fear I’m going to find it transformed into a county of leftist whingers begging for handouts. Let’s hope that’s not the case."
So what was it that triggered the unelected peer - who takes £300 a day from the public purse - to round on Yorkshire like that?
It was a forensic examination of the perilous future ahead for rural and coastal Yorkshire written by Paul Jeeves; a veteran journalist at The Yorkshire Post, its current Head of News.
The data that informed the journalism was a piece of analysis commissioned by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, an independent body comprising civic and business leaders across the North commited to rebalancing the UK economy through investment, education and empowerment.
In short, it was a measured, well-researched, thoughtful piece of journalism, by a seasoned newsroom leader, in which legitimate concerns were raised by the likes of the Country Land and Business Association (which represents some 28,000 farmers and rural businesses) about the lack of foresight, knowledge and understanding and strategic planning when it comes to protecting and enhancing rural Britain.
In the moment, in the face of such provocation, it would have been easy for me - as someone so invested in the region, its fortunes and its reputation - to react disproportionately. As it was, I replied:
"What you will find is people thoroughly fed up with sneering politicians who think they're better than us, and an awful lot of people who cannot stand liars and charlatans. It isn't about right and left for us, m'Lord. It's about right and wrong. Enjoy your stay. You are most welcome."
But I do not feel that goes far enough, and so this is where The Yorkshire Post's Valentine's Day love letter to Lord Moylan begins:
Dearest Daniel. I hope you are in fine fettle, warm and well fed. Thank you so much for writing to me, though I must say your contempt took me by surprise.
My apologies for not responding sooner, but I wanted to do so properly given you went to such trouble. I am 268 years old this year, and if I have learned one thing in that time it is that manners cost nothing.
With that there are two courtesies I must offer you in return; sorry and thank you.
First of all, two apologies: I am sorry, Lord Moylan, that you were upset by the concerns raised in The Yorkshire Post on Saturday by people who actually live and work in rural Britain. Quite clearly, given you spoke of everything you have read recently in The Yorkshire Post, that piece of journalism is not the only one that gave you indigestion.
Again, I am sorry, but I must advise you that this newspaper and its editor cannot be bought nor harangued into toeing your line. It will continue to fight for a fair deal for Yorkshire and the North. Certainly, I am grateful that you appear to be a loyal reader; that being the case, I would urge you to stock up on the Rennies. You are going to need them.
I am most sorry, though, that you seem to think well-researched, data-led journalism that is informed by topic experts amounts to beggars beneath you pleading for charity - let me be clear, handouts are not what we're asking for. Simply a fair share. Which leads me on to my second courtesy...
I feel I must offer you some thank yous:
Thank you for revealing who you are and what you think of us: "a county of leftist whingers begging for handouts." I must ask: does that sentiment run through your party, or is it unique to you? It is somewhat alarming, though, that what seems to have led you to forming your offensive view of those who live in Yorkshire is our consistent, relentless, fearless campaigning journalism on behalf of those who proudly call Yorkshire their home and this newspaper's rejection of the toxic form of deceptive populist politics that has brought more scandal and disgrace to the great office of UK Prime Minister than it deserves.
Thank you also for your compliment: it is nice that you see Yorkshire as a place you can retreat to for a holiday, using it for your own pleasure and delight. As you were told by the editor on Friday night, you are most welcome.
The Yorkshire Post
Editor's note: this is not the first time that The Yorkshire Post - in my six years as editor - has had its reputation and professionalism come under attack by people in positions of power. Speaking truth to power is not easy, nor is it to be taken for granted. To help protect The Yorkshire Post, please subscribe.