Something to Say with Keith Newbery: If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out

When chiselling out a crust by writing columns for a living, you must be prepared to allow your thoughts to drift across the entire landscape of imagination and ideas.

Occasionally you find yourself wandering contentedly over the sunlit uplands, but more often than not you end up in the soulless backstreets or grim cul-de-sacs of reality.

It’s in one of these you are likely to stumble across Edwina Currie, still revelling in every opportunity to fulfil her role as the public’s number one irritant.

She first came to national prominence when Margaret Thatcher made her a junior minister in the health department.

It was at this time she almost single-handedly destroyed the egg industry by claiming that ‘most of the production in this country is now affected by salmonella.’

She also gave the elderly some bizarre tips on how to keep warm in the winter, which stopped just short of suggesting they stuff a freshly-boiled suet pudding up their vests.

When the lady’s constituents finally ran out of patience with her at the 1997 general election, only the naive or desperate really thought she had gone for good.

In the 15 years since, she has written six novels, appeared in virtually every reality television show ever conceived and is now best described as a ‘media personality.’

This means no medium is safe from her personality, which appears to be based on a triumph of self-regard over objective opinion.

This means she has made a fortune for the nation’s orthodontists, because teeth are ground on an industrial scale every time she is seen or heard.

But like most people of her ilk, Currie can be a bit of a bully.

She recently reduced a young mother to tears during an exchange on national radio by telling her she only had herself to blame for her family’s financial problems.

However, when Currie herself was challenged on the matter a few days later by Owen Jones - who looks and sounds about 15-years-old and has a familiar common-room approach to socialism - she twice threatened to walk out on the discussion.

Admittedly he was a bit brattish, but the points he made were relevant.

Anyway, it’s the first rule of politics dear - if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.


The Big Question on the eponymous television programme last Sunday was: ‘Is Britain still a Christian country?’

But the little question on everyone’s lips was: ‘Why is there no representative from the Church of England taking part in this discussion?’

Ayatollah Dawkins was there, together with some chap from the British Humanist Association and a bloke called Jonathan Bartley, who founded a religious think-tank and now makes a decent living by popping up on every programme where God is under the microscope.

There were also a few Muslims scattered around the audience - but of a dog collar, there was nary a sign.

It was a fairly typical example of what passes for balanced discussion at the BBC these days.