As if to prove that some pundits effortlessly combine an ability for creatively rehashing facts, together with utter shamelessness, the Daily Mail’s regular Saturday Glenda Amanda Platell has waded in to the Cliff Richard saga, forgetting that the last time she did that – with Rolf Harris – she ended up covering herself in less than glory. Rolf didn’t do it, and now she says Cliff didn’t, either.
Viewers may want to look away now
She does not get off to the best of starts: “Though you won’t find me screaming at the front of a Cliff Richard concert, I’ve always enjoyed his slightly cheesy brand of pop. No sunshine break is complete without me humming ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday’ as I pack”. I too am not a Cliff aficionado, but am aware that he has recorded other songs since “Summer Holiday”.
But the news still shocked her: “The shock gave me instant déjà vu: another hugely popular entertainer; another Berkshire home. Yes, I felt that same disbelief when Rolf Harris was arrested. Yet, after Rolf’s conviction, anything seems possible, and our capacity to think the best of stars we thought we knew has been eroded”. With friends like Mandy, Cliff is not in need of enemies.
After all, she cursed Rolf, and now she’s effectively suggesting that Cliff can’t possibly have done whatever it is that someone has alleged he has done, even though she’s not privy to knowing what was alleged, and doesn’t know Cliff. But she does know who to blame: after all, she is a faithful servant of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, and so instinctively knows to kick the Beeb.
Yes, if in doubt, blame the BBC: “Sir Cliff hasn’t been arrested or charged with anything, and wasn’t even told about the raid — which took place while he was abroad — yet BBC cameras were there to record the event and turn the whole thing into a circus like some cross between The Sweeney and Starsky And Hutch”. They were outside the apartment complex. And what about her own paper?
The Beeb website does not feature one story about Cliff on its front page right now. Mail Online, on the other hand, has, for example, “Tennis fan Sir Cliff Richard 'to miss annual trip to US Open as he returns to Britain' to face underage sex assault quiz by police” as well as a creepy article on his friend who was once a Catholic priest. Catholic priest, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more, eh?
So the usual Mail hypocrisy, then. And yet again Ms Platell curses Cliff as she speculates “The shocking exposé of Rolf Harris has taught me to wait and see what might be revealed, but every instinct tells me Cliff is innocent, as he claims”. But it’s hardly any worse that laying into the Beeb, only to accept every invite she gets to appear on its programmes, and trouser all that licence-payers’ cash.
Principles, honesty and credibility – Amanda Platell flushes them all down the pan.