Despite her recent ejection from the pages of the Spectator, following a libel action which caused serious annoyance – not to mention financial penalty – to both editor Fraser Nelson and publisher Andrew Neil, Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips retains her habit for misinformation, abuse and occasional forthright dishonesty, all of which shine through in her Mail rants.
Mel in her natural habitat
Sensibly, though, RightMinds Generalissimo Simon Heffer appears to have pointed Mel away from commenting on anything combining controversy and the state of Israel, and onto domestic politics, where he and his team can more easily pick up on those occasions when she inevitably strays the wrong side of the defamation line. And today she has come perilously close.
Mel is unhappy about taxation, and in her latest rant accuses politicians of being “infantile” about the matter. This is a tactic she employs more and more: Scots stood accused earlier this year of “infantilism”, as the Foreign Office had previously been accused of being “infantile” towards the Pope. Now it is Corporal Clegg and the Lib Dems who are also smeared as “infantile”.
Then comes the central act of dishonesty: taxation on the top 1% of earners is not going to get Mail readers going, so Mel picks out the word “wealthy” and, after laying down a fog of ranting froth, substitutes 5% for 1%, and then expands that to mean the whole of the middle class. She then declares that the Lib Dems “demonise [them] as fat cats leeching off the rest of us”.
So far, so predictable, but then she doubles down by emphasising that those rotten Lib Dems are coming after anyone paying Income Tax at 40% - they aren’t – and pinning any reining back of child benefit on the junior Coalition partner. And, once she has them on the deck, Mel puts the boot in by telling that the middle class “are vilified by the Lib Dems and their ilk (Who they? – Ed) as social parasites”.
Having dismissed the junior partner, Mel turns her dishonesty bazooka on the Tories, and here she has the 50p Income Tax rate in her sights: “in terms of raking in extra revenue it was utterly self-defeating, since the measures people were taking to avoid it actually reduced the amount coming into the Treasury”. As 60% of those affected are employees, that’s total crap (a different take with actual figures is HERE).
And from here, Mel works herself up to the required peroration by additionally calling the Government “anti-business and anti-wealth creation”, deriding policies that supposedly “belittle the striving classes” (someone on £150k plus is striving already?), and that the whole thing “takes political stupidity to an epic level”. It is a rant of sheer magnificence in its venom and aggression.
Sadly, it is also serially dishonest and wrong-headed. No change there, then.