Melanie Phillips: the story of her journey into madness.
Perhaps it's all down to what happens when she sits down in front of her computer screen. While her pieces for the Daily Mail are somewhat staid, it's the entries for her blog, and now, following her move to the Spectator, on their group blog that show her in a light that she only lets those most acquainted with the more "radical" side of her work examine and imbibe in full.
Take for instance her views on the dismissal of John Howard from office in Australia:
It was Howard who was the staunchest Prime Minister in the world against the jihad and who alone seemed to grasp its full dimensions.
Whatever now happens, the fact that he [Kevin Rudd] ran on a platform of pulling troops out of Iraq and endorsing the ludicrous scam of man-made global warming are enough in themselves to tell the jihadis that Australia has now lost its (one-man) nerve. Australia just made itself (and the rest of us) a whole lot less safe.
For Mel, the obsession with jihadist takfirists has now reached such a proportion that any election anywhere is somehow influenced by "the threat", and the very fact that Australia booted out Howard and installed Rudd means that the jihadists have just won another victory without having to lift a finger. It makes no difference to Mel that Howard was widely loathed for the very reason that she so supported him; Australia, a nation which due to its location and size has very little to nothing to fear from anyone, but due to Howard's belligerence was led into the Iraq adventure anyway, was also dragged into an era of mistrust, dislike and even paranoia thanks to the hardline stance on outsiders and refugees that he took. There's a rich irony and hypocrisy in nations of immigrants shutting the door to the next generation, but to Mel that was just another sign of his strength. Even that though isn't enough; Australia's stupidity in changing prime ministers somehow, in Mel's twisted and frankly bizarre logic, has made both them and us less safe. It's a statement jaw-dropping in its full frontal lunacy, one that she'd most likely not repeat in her Mail column even, but she feels secure in doing so on the comfort of the Spectator's blog.
Amazingly, as Matt points out, the above isn't even the most deranged post from Mel yesterday. She stretches historical analogies so far beyond breaking point to back up her perverse reasoning on the Annapolis "peace" conference that it's a miracle the static electricity generated from her furious pounding of the keyboard hasn't set fire to her hair:
Whatever actually happens at Annapolis, what is blindingly obvious right now is the extent of America’s betrayal of the Jewish people and, in the process, of its own supposed core doctrine post 9/11...Annapolis is America’s Munich — and Israel is the new Czechoslovakia.
This is despite almost unanimous agreement that the Annapolis meeting, which isn't even being played up as a summit for goodness sake, will achieve precisely nought, for the simple reason that Israel isn't prepared to deal and Mahmoud Abbas, thanks to the infighting between Hamas and Fatah, doesn't have the strength to agree to anything approaching what would be considered a just settlement. Somehow, Mel believes a simple peace meeting will amount to such an act of treachery that history will repeat itself. Never mind that the Palestinians could never, even in the most fevered, deluded imagination play the role of an all-powerful, rearmed and vengeful Germany led by a dictator playing on the weaknesses of his opponents, with Bush betraying the Czechs to their fate, but to compare what Israel will eventually have to give up if it seriously decides it wants peace, namely the settlements built illegally on occupied, impoverished, Palestinian territory, to the industrial heart of the Sudetenland is so ahistorical that it makes you wonder whether Mel, so preoccupied with the Holocaust as she is, doesn't really know her history leading up to the second world war. But she does, which is surely the point. No one with even an ounce of intellectual honesty would contemplate comparing the two, let alone setting it out as an established fact, but Mel, without the slightest trace of embarrassment, displays her handiwork for all to see.
Then again, why shouldn't she? She basks in adulation on the Spectator blog, so heavily moderated that only the odd critical comment is allowed through. (Korova from Mask of Anarchy managed to get through, somehow.) On the first piece, she's variously praised:
Absolutely! As an Australian, I am distraught. All of what you say is true, and more.
You have hit the nail on the head, Melanie.
Dhimmi kangaroo down, sport!
As always, Melanie Phillips talks a lot of sense..
And the second:
Absolutely!!! As a long standing supporter and admirer of George Bush and Condi Rice I'm having my breath taking away!
Thank, you, Melanie...for validating my intuition.
Perhaps madness really is infectious. Either way, Melanie Phillips now increasingly resembles a lift where the mechanism has well and truly snapped, with the only thing remaining an ever accelerating descent before the eventual crash.