Nurse to ward 6, please...
"Begging your pardon there Petie, but would you mean the Melanie Phillips we see on question time? The one who just recently talked about 'America’s neuralgic conscience over its historic racism [and] the monstrously unjust over-reaction to that racism.' Because we were leaning more towards the idea that anyone who thinks that Affirmative Action is an over-reaction to slavery and segregation should be lynched, then offered a place at university on favourable terms and told to have another think about it."
Well, you're all entitled to your own opinions. But I think you should really look at the thing in its proper context. That context is the much-covered arrest of Henry Louis Gates. For those who sensibly avoid most news about Americans that doesn't involve them either trying to conquer the world or crash its economy, this is the story of a black literature professor at Harvard who was arrested for assaulting a police officer after he lost his key and tried to break into his own house. Apparently he had a few choice and rather loud words with the officers who responded to the call, so they asked him to come outside, then arrested him for assault. Then they dropped the charges.
Now there's a range of different spins you can put on this, running the gamut from "it was all the fault of the viciously racist police force" to "it was all the fault of that black man with his hysterical liberal rhetoric." I wasn't there, and so have no idea which way it actually happened. Mel, however, was and does. Or something.
Anyway, she read the officer's report, and after a quick update to clarify that yes, she does know what Gates was actually charged with, thankyou very much, she wants it to be understood that she's very upset with Barack Obama for going off half-cocked on the whole thing. You know, because he wasn't really there and so should shut the hell up about it. He has, apparently, revealed once again that he is "steeped in anti-white grievance politics of the most bitter and corrosive kind."
She was pretty sketchy about waht he'd actually said. He'd called the police "stupid" but that didn't seem to fit the "anti-white grievance politics" bill. All issues of race aside, they arrested a Harvard professor for yelling at them, right? I mean, let's say for a minute I completely buy Mel's take on the story here, that Gates had no reason to feel aggrieved for being treated like a criminal in his own home, that he shamelessly played the victim card and started yelling at the police, and they then arrested him for assault on a charge they subsequently dropped.
That would still make them "stupid", no? I mean, even in Mel's version of events, all they've done is give a very angry man a big political stick to hit them with.
So after a quick visit to youtube, I had a look at Obama's announcement to find out that, no, he did just say that they acted stupidly.
And The Phillips reckons that this is the thin end of the wedge for Barack's race war.
If you want to try and imagine what it must be like for her, think of being a Labour supporter just after Blair's invaded Iraq. In order to adjust for Mel's frankly shaky grip on reality, imagine that this time you're experiencing it with a head full of bad acid. The whole political project you thought you were working for has just turned into a werewolf, pinned you to the ground and fastened its jaws around your neck. Mel's world right now is like a horror film written by Hunter S. Thompson and directed by David Cronenberg: fun for the rest of us to watch, but deeply unsettling for her to live through.
 Although my knee-jerk reaction is summed up pretty well by this, from James Grimmelman.