Why the Daily Mail is mother's ruin

21st April 2006 at 01:00
Teachers' union supremo Chris Keates is not famous for being a shrinking violet. So it's touching to discover that her mum is still willing to wage war on her behalf.

As most teachers know, NASUWT leader Ms Keates is rarely out of the papers.

But the coverage reached a new pitch just before Easter, when she waded into the fray after judge Jonathan Finestein criticised the prosecution of a 10-year-old for racist name-calling.

The judge - himself Jewish - uttered the favourite Daily Mail line that it was "political correctness gone mad", and said that when he was at school the headmaster would have given the child "a good clouting" and sent him on his way.

Ms Keates, interviewed on Radio 4, accused the judge of "feeding the pernicious agenda" of right-wing extremists. The Mail, in its 2,000-word story on the case, quoted an unnamed former colleague describing Ms Keates as "blinkered and inflexible," and "difficult to get on with".

But it's an ill wind that blows no one any good. Ms Keates has been nagging her 70-something mother, Kathleen, for years to stop reading the Mail...

and now her wish may have come true.

"She rang me completely indignant about the terrible coverage, and said she was going to stop reading the Daily Mail altogether," says Ms Keates cheerfully.

In fact, she is pretty cheerful about the whole thing. "To a certain extent your street cred increases the more the Daily Mail attacks you, in my line of work."

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