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Tuesday, May 17, 2011 

The depressing adventures of Melanie Phillips, pt 94.

Those with long memories for the rhetorical ticks of prominent political columnists might recall that Melanie Phillips had taken to referring to criticism of both herself and Israel as "verbal pogroms", as though by daring to take a different view to hers you were essentially perpetuating violence against her.

A Google search suggests that while Mel has cut back on her usage of that specific term, she's still as certain as ever that a concerted campaign of violence against Jewish people in this country, seemingly one which could be sponsored even by this government, is just around the corner. From a recent post on a incident at the School for Oriental and African Studies:

The pre-pogrom atmosphere in the UK against Israel and its supporters turned into outright thuggery at the weekend.

Yes, although you might not have personally noticed it, the atmosphere in this country is now so poisonous against Israel and its supporters that we're at the stage immediately prior to an widespread outburst of racially motivated murder and vandalism. It's one thing to be fearful that under certain circumstances such an atmosphere could arise; it's quite another to actively suggest it's already been reached. What a frightening, angry and incredibly sad place the inside of Phillips' mind must be.

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Ms Phillips has matured into one of the great British comedians. Her subtle brand of humour is quintessentially British, and she herself is on a level with such greats as Tony Hancock, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. As for The Moral Maze, this is undoubtedly the funniest BBC series since The Goon Show and Monthy Python's Flying Circus. I tune in whenever I can to hear the participants cleverly imitating smug, ignorant, patronising fools, deliberately rediscovering the basic principles of ethics as if no one had ever written about the subject. And, of course, making David Aaronovitch, that worthy successor to Peter Sellers, chairman has put the ultimate cherry on top of this fantastic gut-buster.

i used to feel that way too Tom but i've now reached the stage of experiencing nausea every time i think i'm going to have to listen to her so i'm out of the show during the intro. pity, i miss the moral maze.

More seriously, one can also see The Moral Maze as a wonderful psychological laboratory in which well-intentioned, intelligent, reasonably well-educated people demonstrate how ideology and moral comfort trump logic and honesty every time. One could compile a sizeable encylopaedia of fallacies and forensic trickery from Melanie Phillips' contributions alone.

She was so right wing the Daily Mail wouldn't publish her, which is a high bar to reach.

i had one online argument with her and her fans on the Spectator website a couple of years ago in which she argued that there was no evidence of Israeli war crimes in the Gaza war as the names of the specific soldiers involved and the exact time and date had not been provided for each case. I asked her if that meant there was no evidence of Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza if the names of the men involved and the exact time wasn't given for each. Strangely she didn't reply.

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