Each time I read the latest rant by Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, I marvel at her ability to top the last one, to go from the mildly batshit to the utterly screaming, to take prejudice and snobbery to a new and more rarefied plane. And today has brought a Mel rant to satisfy the most discerning connoisseur of the genre, and a new high in batshit content.
“She's foul-mouthed and attention-seeking, but it's the new Health Minister's views on assisted suicide that are truly disturbing” trumpets the headline as Mel launches a full-throated hatchet job on health minister Anna Soubry, authorised and encouraged no doubt by her foul-mouthed and attention seeking editor. Ms Soubry is clearly not one of the Daily Mail’s kind of people.
And Mel wields the hatchet right away: “Brought up in the county where her father ran petrol stations until he went bust, Ms Soubry, a former TV presenter and union shop steward, has been divorced twice and brought up her two daughters as a single mother”. A motor trader – oh, the shame! Single parenthood!! Two divorces as well, I mean, that’s like, well, Wallis Simpson!!! See those net curtains twitch, eh?
But what has set Mel going is that Ms Soubry has shown a less than totally censorious attitude towards cannabis. You do that and you set her off about the dangers of the stuff – while all the time not mentioning that the drugs that kill far, far more of the population every year (as well as fouling up A&E of a weekend and the rest of the NHS full time) are alcohol and tobacco. Want to ban those too, Mel?
So, having gone off the end of the pier over cannabis, there follows a carpet bombing of insults: “raunchy, swaggering attitudes ... provocative and outrageous ... distinctly laddish language ... she likes gin, champagne and especially beer”. I’ll have to get in touch to see if she’ll stop off in Crewe after the Tory Party conference and get a group together to have a few scoops.
But Mel saves the maddest stuff for her condemnation of Ms Soubry’s stance on the subject of assisted suicide. “Suicide is not dying, and assisted suicide is not ‘helping someone to die’. It is assisting self-killing”. Er, what? Suicide is not dying? Bloody well is. And if assisted suicide is “assisting self-killing”, you’re admitting as much. Something to do with killing ending up with someone dying, Mel.
And, as the man said, there’s more: “how on earth did this individual become a health minister, of all things? How indeed can she be a Conservative?” she howls. Search me, Mel. I mean, how on earth did any editor is his right mind allow you to become the moral arbiter of the nation when it’s blindingly obvious that you’re not dealing from a full deck?
Still, it pays the bills and keeps her out of harm’s way. Mustn’t grumble.