Dear Mr Dacre,
My name is Mehdi Hasan and I’m the New Statesman’s senior political editor. My good friend Peter Oborne suggested I drop you a line as I’m very keen to write for the Daily Mail.
Although I am on the left of the political spectrum, and disagree with the Mail’s editorial line on a range of issues, I have always admired the paper’s passion, rigour, boldness and, of course, news values. I believe the Mail has a vitally important role to play in the national debate, and I admire your relentless focus on the need for integrity and morality in public life, and your outspoken defence of faith, and Christian culture, in the face of attacks from militant atheists and secularists. I also believe – as does Peter – that I could be a fresh and passionate, not to mention polemical and contrarian, voice on the comment and feature pages of your award-winning newspaper.
For the record, I am not a Labour tribalist and am often ultra-critical of the left – especially on social and moral issues, where my fellow leftists and liberals have lost touch with their own traditions and with the great British public. In my column in this week’s issue of the New Statesman, for example, I offered a critique of the five Labour leadership candidates, and their various inadequacies, accusing them all of lacking what George Bush Snr once called “the vision thing”.
I could therefore write pieces for the Mail critical of Labour and the left, from “inside” Labour and the left (as the senior political editor at the New Statesman).
I am also attracted by the Mail’s social conservatism on issues like marriage, the family, abortion and teenage pregnancies. I’d like to write a piece for the Mailmaking the left-wing case against abortion, or a piece on why marriage should be a Labour value, and not just a Conservative one. My own unabashed social conservatism on such issues derives from my Islamic faith. But as a British Muslim, I have also upset some of my more hardline co-religionists in the past by arguing, in print, for a change in Islam’s draconian apostasy laws to allow Muslims to convert to other faiths (like Christianity). Here is a New Statesman column I wrote on the subject in April.
In addition, I wrote a column last year condemning suicide bombings, from an Islamic and moral perspective, in which I also castigated Muslims for failing to unequivocally condemn such acts of terror wherever in the world they occur.
And, earlier this year, I wrote a piece for the Guardian belittling Muslim extremist Anjum Choudary and his crude, headline-grabbing attempt to carry “coffins” through Wootton Bassett.
A bit of background: I am 31, and was born and brought up in the United Kingdom, the son of Indian immigrants (an engineer and a doctor) who came here in the 1960s. I am an Oxford graduate. Prior to joining the New Statesman in June 2009, I spent a decade working in television as a news-and-current-affairs producer at ITN, the BBC, Sky News and Channel 4.
I do hope you’ll consider me for future columns and features in the Daily Mail on political, social, moral and/or religious issues. I believe you once told sports columnist Des Kelly that he should “make them laugh, make them cry, or make them angry”. That’s something I believe I could do for you, and for your readers, on the pages of the Mail.
Thank you very much for your time.
Senior Editor (Politics)