Following his stunt on Saturday which interrupted the Boat Race, the actions of one Trenton Oldfield are now being picked over by the punditerati in order to prove one or more dubious theories as to why he did it, and whether it means the upcoming Olympic Games will also be disrupted. In the vanguard today is Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips.
The view from the buffer stops at Upminster
And Mel knows exactly what the cause of Oldfield’s action is: it’s “the social media”, which means Facebook. And Twitter. And blogs. And anything else that has, over the past months, incurred Mel’s displeasure. In her latest Daily Mail rant, “A Boat Race rebel without a clue and the politics of narcissism”, she asserts that Oldfield’s anti-elitist stance “leads to imbecility”.
Then she lays into the Internet, which by coincidence is her only guarantee of getting anything she writes out into the public domain: there is always the prospect that Simon Heffer at Mail Online or Stephen Pollard at the Jewish Chronicle might take the marker pen to her copy or even spike it. But with this piece, she has managed to slip the odd whopper past the bumbling Hefferlump.
Oldfield, she tells, attended “the elitist Sydney Church Of England Grammar School”. Really? Otherwise known as the “Shore School”, it has a non-selective enrolment policy. Perhaps Mel got it confused with Sydney Grammar School, which is selective. Five minutes’ Googling, and all that. Then she calls the LSE “elitist”. That’s a truly breathtaking slice of hypocrisy.
Because this is the same writer who said in the Spectator – before they booted her out – that “not just the LSE but swathes of the British academy have debauched the very notion of education”. It wasn’t elitist then, was it? Whatever. Mel is away with the fairies, then telling that “anti-elitism” is “hatred of the better-off”, and that this is “the sacred dogma of all three political parties”.
And if this sounds incoherent, there’s worse to come: “The internet and social media have the potential to transform every crank, narcissist and bully into an instant celebrity ... they provide a platform for any rabble-rouser to incite untold numbers of followers to abusive, disruptive or violent activity. There are innumerable examples of remarks posted on Facebook or Twitter that have ignited instant firestorms of hatred, bullying and death threats”.
Unlike folks getting death threats through the post, to their faces, or by anonymous phone calls, then. The way that they have been made for scores of years. And folks have been disrupting sporting events for that long too, without the social media which Melanie Phillips denigrates, but uses herself to spread her own abusive and rabble-rousing message when it suits her. What a stinking hypocrite.