Sarah Vine started row with Hugh Grant; another day, another outrage from Rod Liddle; and why the Telegraph is unlikely to acknowledge Christopher Booker’s groupthink book.
Sarah Vine, supposedly Michael Gove’s “better half,” has added her twopenn’orth on the subject of Hugh Grant declining to shake Sajid Javid’s hand at an event to promote Martin Scorsese’s new film The Irishman.
“Hugh Grant did a similar thing to me a few years ago at the home of a mutual acquaintance,” Vine told her paltry 12,000 followers on Twitter. “He was incredibly unpleasant and clearly relished humiliating me in front of his (showbiz) entourage. Disagree, by all means, but be civil.”
Mandrake wonders if Vine is really the woman to lecture Grant on civility as she doesn’t explain the back story to Grant’s decision not to engage with her at the gathering at the home of Evgeny Lebedev, the co-owner of the Independent and Evening Standard.
Vine had started it by savaging Grant in her Daily Mail column – it’s not for me to repeat such venom – and when Grant told her and her oleaginous husband to hop it there was a spontaneous round of applause from many guests.
Grant, meanwhile, declined to shake Javid’s hand because he said the parliamentary candidate for Bromsgrove had been rude to a group of individuals with grievances against the press who had turned to his campaign group, Hacked Off.
The star said his exact words to Javid were: “If you don’t mind, I won’t shake your hand because you were rude and dismissive to the victims of press abuse when you met them as culture secretary.”
Not content with calling Gina Miller a “monkey” in the Sunday Times, Rod Liddle has now found another market for his discrimination in the Spectator, where he wrote that he wanted an election date that would be favourable to the Tories “when universities are closed and Muslims forbidden from doing anything on pain of hell”.
This matter has now been referred to the press watchdog IPSO on the basis it breaks their rules on publishing content that discriminates on race or religion. It’s the second complaint against Liddle in as many weeks now that Miller has confirmed she’s also complained to them. It will be a test of whether the organisation has any teeth at all. “Liddle is a fanatical Brextremist and Fraser Nelson and Martin Ivens, the editors of respectively the Spectator and the Sunday Times, now seem only too happy to use his offensive copy,” I’m told. “Ivens used to be quite rational on the subject of Europe, but he’s been nobbled.”
What are the rules to groupthink? “One is that a group of people come to share a common view, opinion or belief that in some way is not based on objective reality; rule two is that, precisely because their shared view is essentially subjective, they need to go out of their way to insist that it is so self-evidently right that a ‘consensus’ of all right-minded people must agree with it.
“Rule three is that to reinforce their conviction that they are right, they need to treat the views of anyone who questions it as wholly unacceptable.”
If this quote explains Brexit, it may well be because its authors are Christopher Booker and Richard North, two journalists who once worked alongside most of the driving forces behind it. Don’t hold your breath that Groupthink: A Study in Self Delusion will be acknowledged in their old paper, the Daily Telegraph, when it comes out early in the New Year.
Do you remember “Trousergate”? That was one of the few occasions when Theresa May, as a prime minister, appeared to take decisive action and put on a £995 pair of Amanda Wakeley leather trousers, only to have Nicky Morgan say: “I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on anything, apart from my wedding dress.”
I don’t know how much Sam Gyimah paid for the natty orange corduroys he wore at the launch of his campaign to win Kensington for the Lib Dems, but his party leader Jo Swinson reckons they might have the makings of Trousergate 2 about them.
“He was wearing those very trousers when we first met many years ago,” she noted, archly. At least Sam took responsibility for them. May ended up saying she’d been told to wear hers by her aide Fiona Hill.