How do I find these stories? I type 'fat' into Google. Simple as that. How does the Daily Mail find these stories? Well, this one seems to have originated in a local newspaper, the Halifax Courier, and then spread its tentacles far and wide through the national and international media.
And it doesn't (quite) start out as a story of a fat woman on benefits wanting the government to pay for something which she could achieve by just taking a bit more responsibility. And the headline frisson of 'daughter blames mother for being fat' materialises out of the text as the story grows.
And as proof of how these stories mutate and of my own innate prejudices, I just went back to reread the stories to make sure I wasn't doing anybody a disservice and misrepresenting them. Turns out I was. I have turned into the worst, frothing at the mouth, middle class, judgemental tit because the 'on benefits' bit is my new addition to the story which isn't present in the Daily Mail but was created by me. I was either being presumptuous about the Daily Mail or about the mother, who is this lady...
So that should teach me a lesson about my own prejudices. But, aside from all that, this picture, or a similar one, appeared with all the news reports and I started wondering about the t-shirt that mum was wearing. HOOP UK, it turns out are a charity established to be the voice of the obese person, to break down the stigma attached to obesity and, working with partners, to affect change at a strategic level in the UK. I copied that off their website. Go their if you want to read about what they do! Which I'm sure is very good and admirable. They have various celebrity supporters including the guy who does 'One year to save your life' (or whatever it's called) and Dr Chris Steele off of 'This Morning'. One of their trustees is also the guy who runs/owns the organisation which would take the £4000 fees if the government did fund the child's trip to weight loss Boot Camp. And I'm not saying this is bad. HOOP UK aren't trying to conceal any connection. All I'm saying is that, having used her for publicity, I hope they have her a free ticket to boot camp. It would seem fair. Because these poor people, especially mum, are in for a lot of abuse from the lovely readers of MailOnline.
My favourite bit of this whole story is that I found one website where the Mail article had clearly been translated into another language then translated back to English again for no obvious reason. In this version the mum wrote to the lovely sounding 'Wellness Assistant Jeremy Search'.