When Ian Hislop heard the news that the deeply ambiguous Mostyn Neil Hamilton was suing the singularly repulsive Mohammed “you can call me Al” Fayed, he was in the happy position of not being greatly concerned who lost. He would perhaps have been happier if both could have come out on the losing side. Here on Zelo Street, the participants in a less litigious but hateful scrap are viewed similarly.
In the blue corner ...
This is because the two names in the frame are Jan Moir, arguably the nastiest and most sharp-clawed of Paul Dacre’s unappealing bevy of Glendas, and (yes, it’s her again) Tory MP for Mid-Narnia Nadine Dorries. The hack who will forever be remembered for her monumentally crass hatchet job on Stephen Gately had been dispatched by the Vagina Monologue to hatchet Ms Dorries.
There's a strange woman at the door ...
Now this is a relatively new development: the Daily Mail has not always been exactly on the same side as the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire, but the paper that has always been first to put the boot in has previously been the Maily Telegraph. Well, if Dacre has sent Ms Moir into battle, that means a hatchet job is what is on the agenda. And the fragrant Nadine seems to have been wise to this possibility.
So when Moir fetched up chez Dorries, and, it seems, appeared well before the agreed time, and her identity became known, her feet briefly failed to touch the carpet as she was summarily ejected. It appears that Ms Dorries was aware that someone from the Mail would be coming, but not that it would be Moir, who was not alone. She apparently turns up early to catch her prey off guard.
But why has the Mail suddenly become interested in the fragrant Nadine? There are further clues in other happenings today involving her. Mainly, this revolves around an appearance on the BBC Sunday Politics before the inquisition of Andrew “Brillo Pad” Neil, whom she dislikes intensely, to discuss the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Ms Dorries is under investigation by IPSA. She has countered by asserting that it is a waste of money. This may not be the best course of action in the circumstances, unless she is absolutely sure they have nothing on her. Neil also asked about her fee from I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, about which she was evasive and then defensive, asserting that Neil should disclose his own earnings instead.
This openly combative approach may mean she knows she is right. But it may also signal overconfidence. And when politicians kick back, especially at the Daily Mail, they need to be sure they have no dirty laundry hidden away. Because Jan Moir will get her hatchet job published. IPSA will not be diverted from its task. And the rest will see the Dorries snark at Brillo, and conclude she has something to hide.
That means it’s a high risk strategy. And the press tend not to lose many of those.