Along with the equally unfortunate Oliver Tress, husband of Gina Coladangelo, Ms Hoyer Millar has been dragged into l’Affair ‘Ancoque by default. But unlike her, Tress has thus far managed to evade the hacks and snappers, perhaps because the prurient interest of those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet invariably goes after the spurned woman, but not because they make easier targets, you understand.
And talking of the prurient interest, the Murdoch Sun, which had somehow obtained the incriminating CCTV footage from inside Hancock’s office, was on the case, telling readers “MATT Hancock’s wife has been pictured wearing her wedding ring - seen for the first time after it revealed the Health Secretary dumped her after his affair”. There was more.
“Martha, who has been married to the MP for 15 years, was seen in a floral dress barely 48 hours after news of the scandal broke”. So? She can wear what she intercoursing well chooses, a thought that had not been allowed to enter the otherwise vacant cranial area of Mail Online hacks, who gasped “Hancock's humiliated wife STILL wears ring: Mother-of-three is seen Sunday with wedding band on after it emerged cheating ex-Health Secretary walked out on their 15-year marriage the night before scandal broke”. Enough already.
What neither the Mail, nor Sun - or any of the other publications splashing pap shots of Ms Hoyer Millar across their pages - have told readers is the unprincipled and creepy behaviour in which those obtaining them have been indulging. Ms Hoyer Millar leaves the house, she is confronted by a battery of long lenses and flashguns. Snappers are falling over one another as they see only currency symbols, not human beings.
To an extent, they are not the chief culprits in this orgy of unwarranted intrusion: that dubious honour attaches to their paymasters at the Baby Shard, Northcliffe House and elsewhere. Those paymasters are the cause of the pavement scrum: imagine being on the receiving end of all that - with the shouts from hacks thrown in.
And then another thought enters: we supposedly have a press regulator in the UK, or rather, we have IPSO, which was built up as being “the toughest press regulator in the Western world”, but is in reality a paper tiger, a sham, a press establishment poodle which has done nothing about this kind of behaviour, and will continue to do nothing.
The monstering, stalking and harassing of innocent victims, treating them as if it was their fault that a cabinet minister goes off with an aide, will continue to be shrugged off with the inevitable cry of FREEZE PEACH. The bad behaviour will be excused as merely the sign of functioning democracy, an open society, a sense of healthy journalistic inquiry.
It will be excused by all those who objected so vehemently to the Leveson Inquiry, and yet more vehemently to Part 2 of that Inquiry going ahead. Sales and clicks will continue to trump decency every time, whatever the consequences. And that’s not good enough.
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