“The barons of the media, with their red-topped assassins, are the biggest beasts in the modern jungle. They have no predators. They are untouchable. They laugh at the law; they sneer at Parliament. They have the power to hurt us, and they do, with gusto and precision, with joy and criminality. Prime ministers quail before them, and that is how they like it.”
He was able to make the 1860 Adulteration of Food Act work to stem the addition of red lead, strychnine, sand, plaster of Paris and mercury to basic diets, to prevent narcotics and hallucinogenics being added to popular drinks, and polluted water and salt being added to milk. According to his own reckoning, no less than eight million pounds of contaminated food was detected, analysed and condemned during his time as public analyst.
Most Tans were young, unemployed, former enlisted men in the wartime military, and products of England’s urban working class. Victims of a spiralling unemployment crisis, they were attracted to Ireland by promises of upward mobility, steady work, good pay, and a comfortable pension. Since little can be determined about the nature of the constables’ prior war service, Leeson sanely suggests historians stop presuming they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the early 1960s Charlotte zealously embraces her role as literary reviewer, criticising what she terms “negative” and “defeatist” books. One particular text is rejected because it does not help to “promote belief in the progress of humanity and the triumph of socialism; it does not, therefore, belong on the shelves of the bookshops of our Republic”.