There was a time when I read the music press avidly. It was, admittedly, a long time ago. One weekly that passed before my inspection was dubbed the “New Musical Excuse” by a work colleague. The NME aimed to be that bit edgier; to this end, it employed two young, up-and-coming writers. One was Julie Burchill, and the other Tony Parsons. One is still a bit edgy, and the other isn’t.
"How high would you like me to jump, nice Mr Murdoch?"
Parsons has drifted so far from his 1970s beginnings that he endorsed Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP this year. He claimed that “politicians are just completely removed from any kind of life experiences in a way they weren't when I was growing up”. Yesterday the pundit who flounced out on the Mirror to take the Murdoch shilling sold the pass.
He told that “Myleene Klass is a single working mother who knows more about the real world and supporting a family than Eds Miliband, Balls etc ever will”. This apparent, er, removal from any kind of life experience brought a swift response from Harry Harris, who clearly had difficulty believing Tone actually said that. “She’s not doing nights down f***ing Iceland Tony, Christ”.
He wasn’t the only one expressing disbelief, as witness @gfrancie: “She’s worth 11 million. There is a HUGE difference between her and most single parents ... She isn’t scrambling to find childcare, to have reliable transport, getting a job with a living wage. She has support”. Certainly, being able to shell out eight bags of sand a month to rent a house suggests Ms Klass won’t be taking the bus any time soon.
A Tweeter called Jenny underscored this situation: “£2 million houses are not the ‘real world’, any more than private jets represent ‘real’ air travel ... there’s something very ‘let them eat cake’ about this and it’s disappointing”. That something is called “being so desperate to kick Mil The Younger that hacks and pundits will back a selfish and gobby sleb to curry favour with Creepy Uncle Rupe”.
Among the others joining in to pass adverse comment on Parsons was someone telling “Technically yes, she is a single mother, but seems to manage some nice holidays on a motor yacht! And a single mother with a LOT of money in the bank. Oh, my heart bleeds”. Or maybe not.
But the most damning comment came from someone who reminded Parsons just where he really sits in the pantheon of literary greats: “Stay in your lane mate. That lane being naff Nick Hornby rip offs for UKIP voters”.
When Tony Parsons left the Mirror, he bid it an apparently sad farewell, only to fetch up at the Sun, denounce the paper that had given him a well-paid berth for 18 years as “dying”, and praise Murdoch for paywalling his titles. His clumsy defence of Ms Klass to kick Miliband shows he’ll do anything to please his new boss.