I have to admit that I don't read Sarah Vine's columns and I know even less about Jack Monroe. But being an avid tweeter, I happened upon the furore surrounding Ms. Monroe's comment about David Cameron using his late son for propaganda purposes and the subsequent reaction by Ms. Vine.
Now, let me start at the beginning. I think that the hashtag about why David Cameron is so disliked is riveting reading. How fantastic that the vox populi can air their views about something that really riles them. We're used to plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose in politics in Britain so to see the blood and guts of real anger as it unfurls live on Twitter is very interesting reading.
Now back to the main story. The two protagonists: Ms. Monroe had no money and had to find ways to feed herself and her child on a very straightened budget. I think her recipes are not non plus ultra, personally. It never ceases to amaze me that cookery books are all the rage and people with no obvious talent end up becoming cooks then chefs or rather, experts in the field of cooking. What, I hear you say! These so-called experts never said they were anything but mere cooks. Exactly and they're not even that. It's a bit like watching virgins have sex for the first time and suddenly they're reciting the flaming Kama Sutra and telling us how to do it. The whole cook/chef thing just gets my goat. We don't celebrate excellence we revel in flipping mediocrity. So, no, Ms. Monroe is merely a Joe Bloggs who likes cooking.
Now onto Ms. Vine- married to a politician- poor thing. It must be difficult to never know what to think when you ask what he'd like for breakfast and one minute it's poached eggs and the next fried but then he switches to boiled eggs with two rashers of bacon because he read somewhere that that's what he really wanted for breakfast after all. Oh, well, the upside is that being married to a politician means that you get a fair amount of exposure and suddenly you're sort of legitimate in a professional sense.
The difficulty I have with all of these individuals is that they don't know how to have a good slanging match without resorting very low down on the not-exactly-fair-play-scale. Ms. Vine brings up the fact that Ms. Monroe got herself into financial hardship and so she is plain stupid. She also brings up the is-she-really-a-lesbian thing plus the fact that she should never have had a child without knowing whether she is or isn't a lesbian. Naturally, Ms. Vine is a model of all that is perfect in this world and therefore feels entitled to bring up scurrilous and pointless information on Ms. Monroe's background with the sole purpose of mocking her.
Who honestly cares what Ms. Monroe gets up to in the sack or otherwise. If she claims to be a cook let us be bamboozled by her ability to cook, dammit! As for Ms. Vine, who maintains a slavish devotion to Mr. Cameron- enough already! I'm sure the combined damehood and knighthood is assured but isn't the mudslinging a bit puerile? Furthermore the welfare state is not a bad thing- entrepreneurs risk going broke every day- that's the nature of taking risks in business which is encouraged across the pond but seemingly frowned upon in this country. In the event that someone genuinely suffers hard times why is recourse to the state for assistance so terrible? As long as taxes have been paid and that person has made a contribution, why not? The us-and-them approach to those who are lower down on the pecking order or who have not been fortunate enough to sail through life, is pretty disgraceful and shows a genuine lack of humanity.
Ms. Monroe is entitled to be peeved- poverty is pretty soul-destroying regardless of how she ended up in a mess. Ms. Vine is entitled to stick her nose in the air but not to pontificate. I mean the comment about her waiting to have children until she felt emotionally and financially secure is just bullshit of the highest order. Billions of women on the planet make choices every day- only in the west do women like Ms. Vine start preaching on a high horse about having made superior decisions. Everyone does stuff they regret and feel badly about in life. None of us is Jesus Christ. If one were to really look at this spat very carefully, one would see how all this 'success' of both protagonists is nothing but a house of cards about to collapse at any time. Perhaps the real issue of whether people, you, me, everyone is permitted to sound off and feel aggrieved. If not then this is clearly not a democracy.