Matthew Norman on Monday: Melanie Philips shone a torch on darkness and revealed herself

Ms Phillips found mirth in the aftermath of Woolwich. Plus, let's hope the Commons treats IDS gently over this statistics snafu

Related Topics

It is a natural instinct to seek silver linings in the most menacing skies, so rejoice that the reaction to last week’s monstrosity tickled the famously sensitive funny bone of Mad Mel Phillips. Although best known as the purveyor of choicest umbrellas, the Rihanna of the trade still moonlights as a serious thinker, and diverts her powerful mind from flogging merchandise on her online emporium to the murder of Lee Rigby.

Finding mirth where less acute comic sensibilities see only grief, Mad Mel “hooted at the commentator visiting from Planet Zog ... who wailed, poor dear, that ‘none of it made any sense’.” She obliquely refers to that gifted political writer Dan Hodges, who expressed the widespread bewilderment with typical eloquence. Let me state that Dan’s recent dismantling of Melanie on his Telegraph blog, over her confused reflections on Lady Thatcher’s funeral, is pure coincidence.

Rather than abuse a tragedy to settle a score, Mad Mel seeks only to shine her torch of truth on darkness, to which end she holds Islam itself responsible for the murder. To claim Islam had nothing to do with it, she contends, is “as absurd as saying the Inquisition had nothing to do with the Catholic Church ... ”

She could have made the honest comparison  that “the Inquisition had nothing to do with Jesus’s teachings”, as indeed it did not, but let’s not nitpick. If MM was reduced to hooting by the aftermath of Drummer Rigby’s death, we salute her for that.

Cameron should ask Chukka for advice

David Cameron is off to Ibiza, the sabbath Sun reveals, and if he needs advice about the coolest night spots, he knows who  to ask.

Labour business spokesman Chukka Umanna – who so resents being called “the British Obama” that he continues his enquiry into who at his old law firm hacked his Wikipedia entry to add a reference to him as “the British Obama” – has a £1m residence, Casa Blanca, there. Chukka will happily steer the PM away from clubs full of “C list wannabes and trash” of the kind that so offended him in London.

I could have been a Kalming influence

The one-time Tory Treasurer Lord Kalms threatens to move to Ukip unless the PM takes a firmer line on Europe, the Sunday Times reports, and here I hold up my hands. Long ago, his widowed mother Cissie was besties with my grandmother, Bessie Norman, on the Elderly Jewish Ladies Kalooki Circuit, and at a 1989 family do (simcha, in the Yiddish), I came within an ace of proposing to Cissie. Had the nerve not failed, I would, as Young Stan’s stepfather, have guided the foolish boy away from all the attention-seeking, and the misconception that donating buys a right to dictate policy.

IDS needs to be treated with kid gloves

Worrying times for Iain Duncan-Smith fans, who will be summoned before the relevant Commons committee to explain his  misrepresenting of his own department’s statistics on  benefit claimants driven to find work by tough love.

I beg them to treat him with kid gloves. Iain, a brittle soul who  becomes peevish when challenged, cannot be blamed for the mistakes.

Asking him to address such  complex social problems was the political equivalent of inviting Dibley church verger Alice  Tinker to resolve the question  of gay bishops on behalf of the General Synod.

Mitchell still whipping up a Plebgate storm

Interviewed in the Independent on Sunday, Andrew Mitchell re-lives his trauma on discovering that the police can have a hands-off relationship with the literal truth. However touching this Plebgate epiphany for one  “brought up on Dixon of Dock Green”, it does seem odd that the fitting-up of the Birmingham Six escaped this West Midlands MP.

Then again, who’d be so daft as to compare the sufferings of those beaten up and wrongly imprisoned with those of a man denied the post of Chief Whip?

Mugabe thinks he’s coined a phrase

In a rare instance of ingratitude from one of the planet’s top-ranked horrors, Robert Mugabe tells a flattering Zimbabwean documentary that he refers to a former PM by the refreshingly original nickname of “Bliar”.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...


Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?