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Monday 6 May 2013

Mad Mel Makes Bad Move

They used to say that, when British comedians went to Australia to ply their trade, it meant they were on the way out. There are times when what appear to be bold attempts to branch out are not a sign of popularity and strength, but a tiring audience and weakness. That was the first thought to enter on reading the news of a new venture by Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips.

About to become even less fair and balanced

Mad Mel is going to conquer the USA, or at least she believes she is. And this will not be some kind of cheap and nasty addition to the plethora of shock jocks, right-leaning pundits, and the roster of dubiously talented hosts and pundits at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). Mel has declared, with jaw-dropping pretentiousness, that she is pitching to the more thoughtful market.

I’m certainly not setting myself up as a figurehead and certainly not in the Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh model,” Mel told the Independent. “My model is much more the kind of people who read The Wall Street Journal, the kind of people who are thoughtful – the centre ground rather than the red-in-tooth-and-claw political right”. This from a Daily Mail attack pundit.

Just how “thoughtful” a discourse Mel customarily brings her readers is then helpfully explained as the Indy reminds its readers that she recently called Barack Obama a “sulky narcissist with close links to people with a history of thuggish, far-left, black-power, Jew-bashing, west-hating politics”. So the conclusion has to be reached that the sternest of Dacre’s Glendas is having a laugh.

Those Stateside who may still be unsure of where Mel fits in to the pantheon of American literature (or not) should also check out her latest rant in the Mail, where she makes an art form out of her undoubted speciality “Someone said something nasty about me on social media therefore THE LEFT IS TRYING TO CLOSE DOWN THE DEBATE BECAUSE IT HATES FAMILIES”.

This line of attack is recycled an infinitum, and ultimately ad nauseam, with some unnamed former Guardian colleague voicing disquiet about something she said being followed by the conclusion that this means THE LEFT IS INTOLERANT. Children were being born out of wedlock because THE LEFT HAD OBLITERATED THE FAMILY AND SEXUALISED LITTLE GIRLS.

This is not an upmarket export. It is more than likely an attempt to rationalise today’s reality by packaging up all that she finds bad and shoehorning it into a form which she can then dump on her critics. That, to an audience that is largely unaware of her backstory, is not going to interest them. There is an oversupply of right-leaning voices in the USA right now, too, after that election they all called wrongly.

Melanie Phillips is unlikely to make an impact there. She’ll blame the left for that.

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