“There were no messages with the flowers,” The Daily Mail’s Liz Jones writes in her latest hacktastrophe, “Just one card… the person who left it hadn't even bothered to scrawl a message.”
The thoughtless, careless wanker. As opposed to dear old Liz, who devotes the full energy of her hollowed-out life-force to retracing Joanna Yeates' final hours in prose that makes Soham: The Musical seem like Primo Levi. Fleet Street watchers have long understood that Mail lifestyle columnist Liz vacillates erratically across the borders of mental illness, but her latest attempt to harpoon passing news stories into her solipsistic micro-world also makes you wonder how many layers of borderline mental illness this had to pass through before it was published. Surely section editor after deputy editor after sub editor had to pass their boggle-eyes across it before they signed it off?
Liz: Hey. You still looking for fresh angles on Joanna Yeates?
Editor: Sure am. Our readers just can't get enough of beautiful young women dying tragically.
Liz: OK. I've got this great idea.
Liz: Liz Jones visits all the places that Joanna Yeates went to on her final evening. She disparages the food selection in the Ram bar, and points out that there is a typo on the wine list, pining with full-throated humbug for Miss Yeates to have spent her final evening "somewhere lovelier". She reveals that the upmarket pizza that Joanna Yeates was captured on camera purchasing from Tescos shows that Yeates wanted "a lovely life, something above the ordinary," thus appealing to our aspirant young target market of mentally bomb-shelled Bridget Joneses.
After walking down the high street a bit thinking !!!MURDER!!! she returns to Yeates' apartment, and mourns the fact that, as a result of this crime, the vintage street lights may have to make way for more modern ones. Then, after revealing that she's got her own pet theory on the killer's intended route, Jones attempts to pay a 50p toll by using 30p and a button. Not only does she do something so manifestly idiotic, she is in such throes of self-justification that she feels that it is somehow society who is at fault here, not her.
Then a patently made-up bloke arrives at her car and rounds out her piece oh-so-neatly by apparently telling her "not all men are monsters" while paying the remainder of her toll for her. Remember – this is the toll that she couldn't pay because she'd got it into her head that you can use items of clothing as cash.
It’s really a piece with enormous dignity, that captures such tender insights as "Bristol is nothing if not upwardly mobile", and "I ask for a veggie burger and it comes without the burger".
Editor: Sounds great. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
In the main, caring about the Daily Mail is a futile and puff-cheeked sport, but there are moments when the sheer deviation from anything anyone you'd meet in the street could ever in a million years consider doing snaps the whole thing back into focus. Why didn’t she ask any of these people roaming the streets of Bristol: “Do you think what I’m doing here has merit, or do you think I should be locked up?”
Russell Brand left a dirty message on one old man's phone. Liz Jones has just left a filthy stinking pile of humbug on an entire nation's doormats. Who's the greater menace? Read this line before you decide:
“Isn’t it interesting that you can snatch a young woman’s life away from her in the most violent, painful, frightening way possible, take away her future children, her future Christmases, take away everything she loves, and yet there are elaborate systems in place to ensure you do not cross a bridge for only 30 pence?"