There are still a few people out there who cling to the belief that Oxford University could never possibly let stupid people through its doors, despite the mounting tide of evidence put forward – albeit inadvertently – by former Tory MP Louise Mensch, now representing the distant constituency of Manhattan Upmarket, who has now become an expert on press regulation, or so she thinks.
Has she got news for us? Maybe later, but not now
The latest successful attempt to open mouth and insert foot came when Lisa O’Carroll of the deeply subversive Guardian took to Twitter to pass comment on an advert in her own paper, for the head of the so-called Independent Press Staandards Organisation (IPSO), the much trailed successor to the PCC, which is casting round for a head, and dangling as bait an annual salary of £150,000.
Ms Mensch was on to this in a flash: “all journalists barred. Six figures to regulate the press. Advertised by the state, in the Guardian. Shameful”. To be on the safe side, she also alerted Piers Morgan, although all he would have told her is that IPSO has stuff all to do with the state, as it is funded by most of the press through the Press Board of Finance (PressBoF) which paid for the PCC.
But help was at hand from Evan Harris, who told Ms Mensch “‘Advertised by the state’?! You’re confused. This post you attack is made by your mates at PressBoF”. In other words, it is supported by the Murdoch press, which has awarded her a regular column in the Sun. Sadly, this advice went unheeded, and instead there was the suggestion that the post advertised wasn’t really necessary.
After Jane Merrick of the Independent on Sunday enquired “Why don’t you apply, Louise?”, Ms Mensch told that, if appointed, “I would be awesome. I would do absolutely nothing”. If only she did that in real life, eh? But when the Mail and Sun – the paper she works for – generated over 2,000 complaints last year, excluding the third party ones that the PCC can dismiss – that is not an option.
And just to show that she wasn’t listening, along came her pronouncement “Chair with INDEPENDENT PRESS STANDARDS ORGANISATION” followed by a link to the job advert and the observation “Guardian journalists, cringe in shame”. For what? For taking a job advert for a position partly paid for by the bloke who owns the paper she writes for (and who owns the cable news channel she’d like a spot on)?
This is not just stupidity, it is wilful stupidity. As Joe Public warned her, “The gift that keeps on giving. More material for Zelo Street”. And who am I to deny him the right to a good laugh every so often? Louise Mensch spends so much time climbing aboard bandwagons and trolling her pet hates – like the Guardian – she can’t be bothered to check her facts before going in with both feet.
As such, she may be just right for Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).