The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has clearly been searching his roster of obscenely overpaid and dubiously talented pundits for someone who might be able to demonstrate even a tenuous connection to the North Kensington area of London, to write something about the community in and around the Grenfell Tower. Sadly, the best the Vagina Monologue could come up with was Sarah “Vain” Vine.
So it was that the presence otherwise known as Mrs Michael “Oiky” Gove brought Mail readers “Bags of love: SARAH VINE on the day mountains of donations from ordinary Britons put point-scoring politicians to shame”. Yes, the Mail’s beloved Tory Party is getting it in the neck right now, so lump all politicians together and ignore them. But do go on. “SARAH VINE was until recently a resident living streets away from Grenfell Tower”.
How many streets would that be? And remember, she no longer lives in the area. Anyhow, what’s she got to tell us? “Until a few weeks ago, I was a resident of North Kensington, living just streets away from Grenfell Tower … Over 15-plus years in the area I’ve driven past it countless times, on the school run, shopping, picking up children, dropping them off, filling up the car at the little petrol station it overlooks”. Ri-i-i-ight.
So Ms Vine’s claim to fame is that, over a 15 year period, she drove past the Grenfell Tower a lot. Y’know, every time I travel to and from London - that would be several times a year - the train passes Whilton Marina, which is sandwiched between the West Coast Main Line and the M1. But I don’t have a narrow boat. And I don’t know anyone who does.
Worse for Ms Vine, most of those who would have lived in Grenfell Tower, unless they needed a vehicle for their work - like minicab drivers - would not have had cars. But not for a Daily Mail pundit the ignominy of helping a struggling Mum get her baby buggy up the steps at Latimer Road Underground, or stumbling off a heaving full 295 bus with bags full of shopping from the Sainsbury’s at Ladbroke Grove.
But do go on. “You always read about people coming together in a time of crisis, so much so that it’s become a bit of a cliche. But seeing this principle in action for the first time has made me understand what it really means - and how truly inspiring, uplifting, it can be”. So switching on the TV and seeing the local community pulling together in the aftermath of the fire is the first time she has noticed this happening.
And Ms Vine was quick to deflect attention elsewhere: “Sadly, not everyone feels the same. The fire had not yet been fully extinguished in Grenfell when those seeking to fan the flames of hatred were hard at work”. Like your editor and fellow pundits, you mean.
Moreover, it’s not long before normal Daily Mail service is resumed: “North Kensington is an interesting place … Houses on the St Quintin Estate, an affluent enclave just a five-minute walk from Grenfell, sell for upwards of £2 million … On nearby Oxford Gardens, a Victorian villa will set you back closer to £10 million”. It’s all about house prices. Again.
Sarah Vine’s utterly faux sincerity is so transparent, it’s an embarrassment. Another pundit totally out of touch with the world outside the media bubble.