Iâ€™ve never trusted Melanie Phillips. Apart from everything else, she pronounces â€œissuesâ€ in the same way that Brian Sewell does, which in the mouth of anyone other than Brian sounds like a picking-up of the word, distastefully but righteously, with middle-class tweezers. People who shake their head from side to side while they talk until their earrings jangle use â€œissuesâ€ to describe, broadly, the problems that proles and chavs have.
Anyway, this shrill, poisonous, scaremongering vacuum of intellectual activity, who writes for the Daily Mail (for non-UK readers, this is the newspaper that hates immigrants and women) and appears to be wearing a Melanie Phillips face mask on her own site, was roundly put in her place by Ben Goldacre in the Guardian. For all his faults, Goldacre knows the science that Melanie clearly fails to grasp even in a limp, layman way before launching on another column of high-pitched nonsense.
Melanie wrote back, and showed precisely what an ignorant ass she is, as commented on by todayâ€™s Guardian postbag. Although the juiciest bits are Goldacreâ€™s, a letter from Prateek Buch is worth reading to the end:
For Melanie Phillips to suggest that the â€œgovernment and [the] medical establishment â€¦ have behaved recklessly and spinelesslyâ€ in the aftermath of Wakefieldâ€™s so-called research is itself an irresponsible misrepresentation of the truth, which contributes to the unnecessary confusion in the general public domain.
Trimmed down a bit, that could be a tagline for her own website. Someone should polish it and e-mail it to her. Best entry wins a prize, perhaps? As long as sheâ€™s willing to not present it in person. Or wear a different mask.