Monday, August 1, 2011

Daily Mail’s Liz Jones Killed My Baby

Blogger Alex Andreou is baffled by the Daily Mail's decision to send Liz Jones to Somalia

Liz Jones did not really kill my baby. It just felt appropriate to give this post a ridiculous headline which has absolutely zilch to do with its content, in the finest Daily Mail tradition. I don’t even have a child and Ms Jones has not, as far as I know, ever killed anyone.

Having said that, after reading her latest serving of tripe, I did bang my head on the desk very hard a number of times, so I may well have developed a slow and deadly subdural haematoma, driving to me to an early grave even as I type this.

The article in question, The caring professions? They just don’t seem to care at all [no links will be provided on this post to Daily Mail articles - I would rather direct you to donkey porn] concerns Ms Jones’s disappointment at the NHS. The background to the story is that the Daily Mail asked Ms Jones to cover the famine in Somalia and she needed inoculation in order to get her visa.

The first question in your mind may be: WHY? Why would anyone want to send this self-obsessed, asinine twerp to cover the Somalia famine? I gave up trying to understand what motivates the DM a long time ago. It is like trying to explain why a fungal infection spreads on a petri-dish. There is no answer. It just does. Perhaps, since Somalia is experiencing War, Famine and Death, sending them this personification of intellectual Pestilence, adds a terrifying symmetry.

Jones explains: ”I don’t scrape and scrabble at the coal face of the NHS very often. I was born, I suppose. My mum has great palliative care, but I’ve contributed £30,000 towards that.” – I am very surprised to find this out, considering the attitude Jones terrifyingly illuminates in a March 2009 article, where she compares her mother (unfavourably) to her cat:

Every morning, she is hoisted out of bed and strip-washed. I know that she is suspended, butt-naked, by her bedroom window, but I have never quite got round to having net curtains put up. I now use her dementia as an excuse not to visit her. She doesn’t know I am there, I tell myself. I don’t have time, what with my super-busy life. When I do see her, she searches my face, trying to work out who I am and I lie and tell her I came just two weeks ago. Her nurse is making sure she has a lovely Mother’s Day today, putting mascara on her tired eyes, handing her tulips. I am 250 miles away. I wouldn’t not be with my cat on his birthday, or risk not being with him when he dies.

Jones goes on to boast that she has a private Sloane Square GP, a private gynaecologist (whatever she is paying him, is not enough), two therapists (presumably to give each other breaks) and a £900-a-root-canal dentist (I would cheerily give her a root canal for free). Her private GP could only give her one of the six shots she needed, which frankly seems rather shite. And so, Jones had to brave the NHS “coal face” the next morning.

She called her local “Health Centre” – which she insists on putting in quotation marks throughout her article; as if the name is not really earned until said “Health Centre” has catered to the urgent whims of their local DM columnist. In a conversation which seems laced with implicit do-you-know-who-I-ams, Jones demanded that she go in that day for her vaccines and was refused. The local “Health Centre” explained that (a) she was not registered with them, (b) they did not have her notes, (c) there were no appointments available and (d) this did not constitute an emergency – all highly unreasonable and “jobsworth” reasons, according to Jones.

Never mind that all the reasons cited were in place for her own protection. She may have been allergic (possible), mentally ill (probable) or even – heaven forbid – an immigrant taking advantage of our healthcare system, of the kind Jones and her colleagues often warn. Jones goes right on, to make an explicit and nauseating link between the treatment she received and the humiliating abuse suffered by patients at Winterbourne View, as exposed in Panorama. She does so, without the slightest hint of irony, having presumably missed the fact that Winterbourne View is a privately-run facility.

It is oddly touching to witness the precise moment when a megalomaniac is informed that the sun, in fact, does not rise out of their arsehole. Undeterred, Jones presents her final argument to the surgery manager, her pièce de résistance: ”I mean, it’s a global crisis. Millions of people are dying and you won’t put yourself out to allow me to be seen by a nurse, not even a doctor, for five minutes?” Suddenly two therapists don’t seem sufficient… The answer, of course, was “no”. And Somalia breathed a sigh of relief.

Perhaps I am being harsh. After all, it was Liz Jones – this paragon of humanity – who wrote the hard-hitting exposé on the dispossessed in December 2009 entitled I’ve never liked the homeless – they’re smelly and scary that practically eliminated homelessness from the UK.  As soon as Jones had pointed out ”But homeless people in the West? Surely these people are mostly drug addicts, drunks and prostitutes. They like doing what they do, they won’t want my help.” In an instant, those lousy loafers all got up, pulled their fingers out and packed their cardboard boxes, remarking “Game’s up lads. We’ve been found out, by that superb Liz Jones”.

Why am I telling you all this? Actually, because I am really ticked off about the mock indignation at reports that Daily Mail opinions on immigration written by Melanie Phillips were quoted in the manifesto of Breivik, the far-right perpetrator of the mass murders in Norway. Expressing this indignation, while continuing to churn out malevolent nonsense.

I think it is important to report this link between the Daily Mail and far-right extremism. Because people who read the bile of Jones, Moir, Phillips, Littlejohn and co. – and nod their heads in agreement like dashboard doggies – should know that they belong to a very particular readership of which they ought to be ashamed. But also because it seems to me disingenuous to publish misinformation and misguidance and pretend to be surprised that your readers are misinformed and misguided; to publish venom and feign shock that some of your readers got poisoned by it.

There is only one vaccine for such poison, whether you “go” private or NHS. The Truth.

[Note: if you would like to comment on this article please do so on the original at Alex's excellent blog]


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