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Monday 1 August 2011

Not Wanting To Keep Up With The Jones

What, I sometimes wonder, would it be like to be stuck in a lift with a Daily Mail hack? This has to be one of the most unappealing prospects ever considered: these, after all, are the willing occupants of the cab rank, there to turn out knocking copy at the whim of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, a bully without equal on the dunghill that is Grubstreet.

As one of those unfortunates told Nick Davies, “It’s constant fear versus good money”, which may generate a little sympathy, but then, they don’t have to sacrifice self-worth and credibility. It’s their choice. And when one gets to read some of the more jaw-dropping copy those hacks generate, the thought enters that the Dacre deal may also involve detachment from reality.

So who may be remote from the space-time continuum right now? Step forward Liz Jones, who is not happy about the NHS. She tells how little demand she has made of the service, making a desultory “I was born, I suppose” quip designed presumably to illustrate her independence.

No, Liz goes private: “I have a private GP, gynaecologist, two therapists and dentist, who charges £900 for a root-canal filling [In case you didn’t get that, it means she’s considerably richer than yow]. I don’t drink, smoke or overeat [Jones has been diagnosed as anorexic]. I don’t have children. I exercise every single day. I’ve been a vegetarian since the age of 11

All of which makes her sound unsympathetic and boring as hell. But then comes her brush with the NHS, and it gets a whole lot worse. She admits to not being registered at her local surgery, but calls up expecting that they would give her the inoculations needed for a trip to the Horn of Africa. They decline, pointing out that they have no records for her.

What would happen if she had a reaction to the jab? What about all the patients that had booked to see the nurse already? Why should she be treated as some kind of emergency just because she’s off abroad? None of these considerations bother Jones, who makes herself look even nastier by trying to compare her experience to Winterbourne View care home, featured in a recent BBC Panorama.

Liz Jones gives every sign of being supremely self-important, and to the extent that she cannot see beyond her own little world. And she confirms my initial thought, that it would be a most unappealing prospect to be stuck in a lift with a Daily Mail hack. I’ll go further: I wouldn’t want to get stuck in the vicinity of Liz Jones anywhere, or at any time. She needs to get a life and rejoin mainstream humanity.

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