Yesterday, it declared Nick Clegg is "by blood the least British leader of a British political party", as we discussed last night.
But I think they go further today when, in a "United Nations of Clegg" piece, the Mail on Sunday offers this headline (in the print edition).
His wife is Spanish, his mother Dutch, his father half-Russian and his spin doctor German. Is there ANYTHING British about LibDem leader
Can that all be good, knockabout stuff. Surely not, when it is the BNP theory of who is British, surely rejected by this country when we won the second world war against fascism.
And I had been confident of winning my battle for citizenship education to be extended to the Daily Mail newsdesk.
Last year, the Daily Mail apologised for their mistake and published my letter, by way of correction, when I challenged their news report criticising the official classification of the British-born children and grandchildren of immigrants as British in immigration statistics.
Today's Mail on Sunday news report suggests some vague sense that English ethnic origins and being British are different things, in reporting Clegg's sensible response to a silly question.
When it was pointed out that he was only a quarter English, he said: ‘Well, biologically...yeah. But I was born here, brought up here, went to school here, and I feel very proud to be British. I have been very fortunate to have different bits to my identity. That’s enriched me.’
Yet Paul Dacre's newspapers have now raised the bar signficantly with today's new Britishness test, in which you are less British if you:
* were born to parents who were born abroad;
* marry somebody from abroad;
* work abroad
* work with anybody from abroad;
Never mind being born abroad yourself. It may be some small sign of progress that I can not imagine the Mail explicitly applying this British "by blood" theory to individual black, Asian or mixed race politicians, like Sayeeda Warsi, Shaun Bailey or Sadiq Khan, to challenge their citizenship or patriotism - though they would all fail it. The fact remains that, among over 4 million non-white British citizens, barely a single one of us could hope to pass the Britishness test which the Mail applies to Mr Clegg, though we are far from alone in that.
There is Nothing British about that BNP argument, as a conservative-led 'Nothing British' campaign has communicated punchily, as one of many campaigns challenging the BNP's values.
The suspiciously multilingual Mr Clegg isn't the first person of suspicion to somehow sneak under the radar and pass for Britishness. Take this motley crew, somehow voted top ten 'greatest Britons' by the great British public in the BBC's series and poll a decade ago.
Next Left has put these so-called "greatest Britons" through the Mail's Britishness test so we could find out if any of them should really count as British in Dacreland.
1. Winston Churchill, (1874–1965), Prime Minister (1940–1945, 1951–1955)
Not British: mother was American.
2. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, (1806–1859), engineer, creator of Great Western Railway and other significant works
Not British: his father was a Frenchman by birth.
3. Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997), first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales (1981–1996), and mother of Princes William and Harry of Wales
Not British: married husband who was second generation immigrant of highly mongrel Greek-German stock. Got divorced. So plenty of grounds for disqualification, without relying on final liasion with the Egyptian millionaire Dodi Fayed.
4. Charles Darwin (1809–1882), naturalist, originator of the theory of evolution through natural selection and author of On the Origin of Species.
British (provisional): Passes the ancestry test, though family had unorthodox Unitarian religious beliefs. Extensive travels abroad on five year voyage, and use of his theory to challenge religious orthodoxies may call patriotism into question.
5. William Shakespeare (1564–1616), English poet and playwright, thought of by many as the greatest of all writers.
Not British (Rejected, pending appeal).
We have few biographical details of the English playwright's life. Highly disreputable choice of career. Evidence of continental travel and "lost years" in Rome, and hypothesis that he could have been secret Catholic, mean application for proper Britishness rejected, or at least held pending awaiting further evidence.
6. Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727), physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist.
British (provisional), pending appeal. It appears the great English scientist would pass the Dacre Britishness test on ancestry or marriage. Mother's remarriage when very young may have held him back. But not an unblemished patriotism, as close engagement with continental scientists and philosophers, and heretical religious views may offer stronger grounds for disqualification on appeal as Nick Clegg's employment of a German-born press spokeswoman.
7. Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533–1603), monarch (reigned 1558–1603)
Not British: Famously did not marry. However, seriously entertaining the claims of foreigners, such as the Duke of Anjou, sent wrong message as role model. Dacre editorials could have praised and cultivated cult of virginity, though failure to marry and insistence on putting career first could be seen as disappointing.
Studied Latin, French, Greek and Italian. Her mother was schooled in the Netherlands, while her father married two foreigners.
8. John Lennon (1940–1980), musician with The Beatles, philanthropist, peace activist, artist
Not British: Married a Japanese-American woman. Also failed to cut his hair properly and travelled extensively abroad. Expressed unsound views on war and peace. As 'sixties icon, can be held responsible for broken Britain more generally.
9. Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758–1805), naval commander
Not British or questionable at least: Married wife who was born in the Caribbean, in Nevis, though to a wealthy plantation famiily. And became estranged from his wife. Also briefly attempted to learn French. Daily Mail has been among those to debunk apocraphyl claims that his final words were "Kiss me Hardy".
10. Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), Lord Protector.
Not British, surely. Overthrew the Monarchy, though kindly put it back afterwards. No obvious ancestry bar though wife's maiden name, Bourchier, may repay scrutiny. Mail could surely have directed fire at her, using one line of attack or another.
Popular royalists, unlike their republican opponents, did not object to the very presence of a court culture. However, Elizabeth, who was known on the street by such endearing nicknames as "Old Joan, Old Bess, Old Bedlam, Old Witch, Old Hagg, [and] the Commonwealth's Night Mare" was simply too plebeian to be the official icon of the court ... For republicans, she was too royal, for royalists, too republican ... Either she overfed a commonwealth meant to be slimly republican, or she starved what was supposed to have been a jolly fat monarchy fit for a king. In both cases, she was a rotten cook whose unappetizing fare was said to have sickened the body politic.
With so many of the usual suspects out of the running, here is our challenge. Can we please hear who is on the top ten list of Mr Dacre's Greatest British thoroughbreds (no funny foreign blood allowed) and we'll put up our Best of British Mongrels team to take them on.
That way, we might finally sort out the argument about exactly what it is that has made this country great.