Almost Fooled, But Not Quite

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, one of my least-favourite and most self-obsessed of The Independent’s stable of columnists went off on one because some Tory councillor had dared to Twitter something she didn’t like:

Prompting this:


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown very nearly had me fooled. I had reached the final few column-inches of her piece on language today when she reassuring reverted to form and all was well with the world.

Instead of a carefully considered piece on the place in the world of the English language, it turns out to be a several hundred word piece moaning about a piece of crass Twitter flippancy that was massively over-reacted to by her and her PC acolytes.

With the possible exception of Julie Birchill, there is no writer on your staff who uses more first-person pronouns, or who plays the gender/race/religion cards as often as she. I find it quite understandable how her smug and self-satisfied output would drive someone to consider such a Twitter posting.

The post was, of course, totally inappropriate, despite being well-aimed. A stoning is out of proportion to the irritation caused, however considerable. A mild sanding-down or gentle pebbling might have been more in order, just to knock some humility into Ms -Brown. (Clue for the clueless – that was a parody of the Twitter posting, not a serious suggestion).

A lack of humility like, for example, using a national newspaper column to moan about a sub-140 character post that nobody would have seen had there not been a massively disproportionate fuss made about it.

Paul Harper