Whenever anyone moderately well-known spoke up in support of any cause of which the tabloid press disapproved, there was, until this week, only one consequence. The well-known person would be the subject of sneering condemnation, they would be branded out of touch, and to put the lid on it, they would be called a “Luvvie”. It was only the Luvvies, and so readers of papers like the Mail could safely disregard them.
Why the f*** can't I slag off celebrities, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
So after the EU referendum, the Mail ran “Luvvies' lament! Bitter stars line up to tweet abuse at 'ill-informed' and 'economically illiterate' decision they feared”. J K Rowling and Gary Lineker were the targets of especially righteous condemnation. Later, there was “Spare us from these bleeding heart luvvies like the Clooneys who lecture us on migrants while jetting off from mansion to mansion”. And there was more - much more.
The Mail brought forth “Luvvies brand Theresa May 'truly shameful' over decision to scrap child refugee scheme”. Lily Allen was one of those singled out this time. And then there was “a belief in the power of crystals is increasingly the domain of showbiz luvvies who have embraced crystal healing with the zeal of the converted”. The Luvvies this time included singer Adele. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
But then, as with the Mail’s obsession with “elf’n’safety” and “yuman rights”, the sneering use of the term “Luvvie” foundered, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.
The Dacre doggies suddenly realised that the endorsement of well-known people could be A Very Good Thing: “Rita Ora goes back to 'the block she played in as a child' to hand out supplies as appeals for tower victims raise £1.7MILLION in just over 24 hours … Celebrities including Jeremy Clarkson, Jamie Oliver and Rita Ora chipped in and urged fans to help survivors”. Not “Luvvies”, then. And what of Lily Allen and Adele?
“Emotional Adele is lauded by fans as she makes low-key appearance at scene of tragic Grenfell Tower less than 24 hours after fatal fire” told … er, the Mail, going on to report “With a number of stars donating to the fund and promoting the services offered to victims, Adele is in a minority in actually heading to the site to support those present”. Adele was no longer a “Luvvie”. And nor, it seems, was Lily Allen.
Instead, the Mail observed “Pop star Lily Allen has claimed 'off-the-record' figures given to police and fire crews reveal the true death toll of the Grenfell Fire to be closer to '150 people’ … The 32-year-old accused local authorities of being dishonest and said the media was 'downplaying' the tragedy”. She was now a “pop star”. Nor was there the usual sneering disdain for Jon Snow of Channel 4 News.
And when Simon Cowell committed to releasing a fundraising single for the benefit of the Grenfell Tower victims, there was once more no talk of “Luvvies”.
Perhaps the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker would like to consider permanently consigning their use of that term to the same bin as the one they’re using for the “red tape” and “elf’n’safety” smears. Celebrities are not mere “Luvvies”. They are real people.