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Saturday 5 February 2011

Get Out More, Mandy

Reading the output of the Daily Mail’s resident antipodean hack Amanda Platell is something that I do only rarely: there are more pressing claims on one’s time when paint is drying. And whenever I do happen across the scribbling of this particular Sheila, the impression is given that she ought to, in the words of the Fiesta advert, get out more – and maybe do some research.

Latest target for the Platell platitude is Mr Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow (maybe the appalling Quentin Letts, who I considered a while back, was unavailable for hatchet job duty). Sal has been posing for the Evening Standard magazine with a sheet draped over her, and Mandy has reached the conclusion that this is “undermining the democratic process”.

It is? How does that work? Perhaps the sight of Mrs B dressed (perhaps) in only a sheet is causing MPs to be so distracted that they fail to vote, or enter the wrong lobby. Perhaps all in and around the House of Commons are so busy obtaining a copy of ES Magazine that normal business has ceased. Or perhaps La Platell is indulging in more hyperbolic drivel.

But it is when Platell compares Sal to Christine Hamilton, a Tory whose party loyalty and duty is unparalleled, that she comes unstuck. Mandy tells that “Mrs Hamilton waited until her husband had been booted out of Westminster before indulging her addiction to cheap celebrity”. Er, you don’t get out of the South East much, Mandy, do you?

I concede that the fragrant Christine never – as far as I’m aware – posed with a sheet draped over her, but her celebrity was something she indulged to the full. Whenever and wherever Neil turned up, so did she: there was no photo of one in the local paper without the other. And that was before the legendary “Battle of Knutsford Heath” in early 1997 when she tried unsuccessfully to put the frighteners on Martin Bell.

Indeed, such was Christine Hamilton’s ability to share her husband’s celebrity, the impression was given that, had she been able to find a way to do it, she would have accompanied him into the Commons chamber itself. And you could never accuse Sally Bercow of trying to do that.

So I say once again, Mandy P, you ought to get out more!

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