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Paparazzi

Less than two weeks ago a woman was feeling so desperate with the situation in which she found herself that she took an item, tied it around her neck and suspended herself so that she was hanged from her neck until she was dead.  She was discovered by her sister.  She was just forty years old.  And unless you have been on a news blackout because you simply cannot stand it anymore, you will know her name.

I have not followed the life and career of Caroline Flack – I think I first learned who she was when she quick-stepped across the floor on ‘Strictly’.  However, I do know that she hosted a programme called ‘Love Island’. Apparently “a group of men and women participate in a series of tasks with a partner until they meet the love of their life” (not my words – on IMDb).  It is reported that ITV made £77 million from advertising revenue alone from the 2019 series.  This is the programme that shot Miss Flack to fame. 

I understand that in the months and weeks leading up to her death, like many other successful women before her, Miss Flack had been much pilloried on social media and by the msm, particularly with regard to a matter that was being dealt with by the criminal justice system.  When news of her suicide broke, there was and continues to be an outpouring of grief – from those who knew and loved her, from fans and from those who one might suggest, wrote the stories that contributed to her state of mind that led her to end her life. A petition has been doing the rounds to propose ‘Caroline’s Law’ – ‘a law that would make it a criminal offence for the British Media to knowingly and relentlessly bully a person….up to the point that they take their own life.’

Laws are a good barometer of what is acceptable in a country and anyone in their right mind would support a law that might rein in the bile that is spouted by the msm if it has some proper teeth.  I am hopeful that this proposal is a turn in the tide for how we all treat eachother. However, we have a government that last week appointed an adviser who supported ‘universal contraception’ to prevent a ‘permanent underclass’.  Girls, I don’t think he was referring to contraception for men.  And I strongly suspect that the ‘permanent underclass’ is all of us.  So forgive me, but I venture to suggest that this is not going to be a legislative priority for this government.  A government elected less than six months ago with a large majority. 

Also, we must all remember that in Caroline’s case, much as we would wish to, we can’t save her now.  Nor any of the people who have gone before her; they’re dead and no amount of hand-wringing can change that.  They sat, alone, distressed and considered that their only option, out of all of the options that they had no doubt tried or considered, was to die. Whilst the law can send a very clear message about how our society views the factors that can contribute to someone’s mental state and apply a sanction, it cannot ultimately stop someone taking their own life. And that’s what I believe we all would like to help to stop.

Celebrity culture seems to be a big problem in all of this.  And by that I mean a group of people who want to be famous for its own sake and that being promoted as something to aspire to.  Not for having an actual job that contributes to society – a carer, or a teacher, a secretary – but being part of a modern day freak show which also involves being quite unpleasant to eachother because of “telling it how it is”. In reality it is only slightly more sophisticated than the Victorians pointing and laughing at what we now know to be very ill people in lunatic asylums.  Taking ‘Love Island’ as an example; from the photographs of the programme, it would seem that people have to be in their twenties and have perfect bodies and perfect faces to be on the programme.  That’s a lot of pressure isn’t it?  You haven’t even been on camera and you’re probably already preparing yourself for the social media onslaught because the distinction between giving an opinion respectfully on a point of legitimate discussion and being personal has been lost.

With all of the focus on the swimwear and yachts, it also permits a mentality to permeate which forgets that each of these people, are actually people.  With thoughts and feelings.  A gameshow, part of a bizarre culture designed to fuck about with people’s heads and hearts in order to win.  Winning being the ‘perfect relationship’ and the yacht to Instagram and interviews to sell for the consumption of complete strangers.  Infinite wealth and resources on a finite planet.  I bet the psychiatrists, psycholgists and environmentalists could have a field day.

Thankfully I have a plan for something we can all do whether the law changes or not.  Whether we have washboard abs or not.  A yacht or not.  Or simply don’t have a lot of time because we have a proper job to get to.  My plan is a cunning one.  One so cunning that we could stick two ears and a fluffy tail on it and call it a fox.  And we know it works.  How do we know it works?  Because of the City of Liverpool.  Many of us will remember the indescribable horror that was the Hillsborough Disaster.  Taking the Wikipedia page this time, Hillsborough was: “…a fatal human crush during an association football match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England on 15 April 1989.”  Ninety six people died that day.  The Sun ran a story headlined ‘The Truth’ with three subheadings about the Liverpool fans: ‘Some fans picked pockets of victims’, ‘Some fans urinated on brave cops’ and ‘Some fans beat up PCs giving the kiss of life.’  I hope it doesn’t really need stating, but it was complete and utter bollocks.  Four years later, Kelvin MacKenzie, who took that decision to publish said “I regret Hillsborough…It was a fundamental mistake.” To this day, no one buys The Sun in Liverpool.  And so to this day, thirty years on, it is not sold there.

So there it is fellow permanent underclasses.  Vote with your feet.  Cut off the revenue stream. Stop buying it, stop reading it, stop watching it, stop clicking on it and for the love of God, stop sharing it.  Stop.  All of us.  Right now.  Cut off the oxygen supply.   There is a time and a place for cold, hard honesty and debate – why people use food banks, the chronic underfunding of the NHS and why Cadbury’s Crème Eggs seem to shrink every single year – but someone’s struggle with their weight or relationship is not.  So at this very moment, we should all agree that in addition to not participating in other people’s pointless prattle, that if we cannot say anything nice to someone’s face, then we either whinge about them privately to one other trusted person in our own front room or we keep our mouths firmly shut. 

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