Everybody, get your pitchforks! Gordon Brown's going to sell the Cliffs of Dover to the French!

And then he's going to put a baguette up his arse, and use it to draw a beret on the Union Jack!

Both of these stories are in fact, made up. Now, one was made up by me, and the other the Daily Mail. Regular readers will probably recognise which one's mine - it's the one about sticking things up peoples bums, like usual. The other one, though - The one on the website of a national bloody newspaper, and I'd imagine somewhere in the print version too - is the Mail's own work, and is one of those slabs of ineptitude that they truly excel at - the ones that might as well have 'based on a true story' underneath the headline, so much do they twist the original story to their own demented, BNP-lite worldview.

So, the headline reads:

White Cliffs of Dover to be sold to the French to help reduce Government's debt

Although the URL and page title reveal that it was originally:

Dover, symbol of British sovereignty, could be sold to French to help reduce debt

Which meant it was changed to be further from the truth than the original - A theme that runs throughout the article.

Right, you've read the headline; if I asked you to explain the story to me now, I wouldn't judge you if you said "Gordon Brown is selling the White Cliffs of Dover to make a bit of fast cash." Of course, you would be terribly, dreadfully and completely wrong, but I can understand why you'd say that.

Four sentences in, we begin to expose the actual truth:

The Port of Dover is being recommended by Government advisers for sale to the French authorities.

So not the cliffs then. The port.

The sale is expected to be rubber-stamped and the leading bidder has emerged as Nord-pas-de-Calais regional council, which also owns Calais.

So it's not definitely happening yet, it's just 'expected' to be given the go ahead - Who by? Dunno. Oh, and it's not being 'sold to the French' (Implying we went round and offered it to them), it's just that the leading bidders are French.

Chief executive Bob Goldfield said: ‘The time is right for the voluntary privatisation of Dover. We want to invest around £400million on a second terminal and need to invest in the existing terminal, but are unable to because of public sector borrowing constraints. We want to throw off the shackles.’

And it's not being done to decrease debt, it's just being done so that the Port can expand.

It amazes me that the Mail will willfully rubbish it's own lies in it's own articles - I mean, if you're going to spout shit, at least be consistent - but what is even scarier is that people don't see it (This taken from the comments, green arrowed to the sky):

How dare any UK Government sell the country to foreign owners. So called New Labour has surely plumbed the depths as far as this is concerned.

Except they're not, are they? They've applied for their own voluntary privatisation to fund expansion so they can cope with the increased traffic they are expecting. The fact that it's potentially going to be bought by the French just means that they want it the most - And as yet, we don't even know if the bloody sale's going ahead yet!

The introduction of the story, it must be said, sounds like it's torn directly from the UKIP book of England:

For generations Dover has stood as an indomitable symbol of Britain’s freedom and independence.

The town, with its white cliffs, port and sprawling castle stood at the very edge of the nation’s frontier with the Continent.

But now part of that proud history is up for sale and the leading bidder is revealed as the former age-old enemy – France.

Is it just me, but is calling France the 'age-old enemy' just a little bit dickish? If it were a German company, would that have read "Recent conquest - Germany"? Those three sentences are followed by a picture of a Spitfire flying over the Cliffs, just to remind us of what happened last time them Forrins dicked about with our ports. Prospective Tory MP Charles Elphicke has also stuck his dirty little oar in, saying:

‘It’s clear Gordon Brown has no sense of the history of our nation or the pride of our town.

‘How dare he consider selling it all off to the French? Dover is the English border. The people of Dover have a clear message for him – hands off our port, hands off the English border.’

Which is really fucking despicable. Whether it's the Mail's editing or a direct quote isn't clear, but the heavy implication there is that Gordon Brown himself is selling the entire town of Dover, and that somehow this going to affect the border of the country - And for a prospective MP to so willingly distort the reality of the situation is fucking sickmaking.

Looking back at the story, it's very nearly the perfect Daily Mail story: We've got truths being knowingly distorted, Labour Bashing, hatred toward foreign people and commenters who've read exactly what they want to read - the only things missing are Bad Muslims and PC gone mad - Both of which I'm fairly certain they could have got in, if they'd really tried.

Update: Tabloid Watch have further destroyed the story here and here.

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