Twitter has turned today into a popularity contest between Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones and BBC presenter Clare Balding. No prizes for guessing who won.
Under the headline "You need more to be a TV role model than bad clothes, Clare" Liz Jones has written a piece in today's Mail on Sunday ostensibly about Balding's failure to "criticise the use of the whip by jockeys, or collapse in tears and rage when yet another horse has broken its neck", but which reads more like a wholesale character assassination of the much-beloved winner of a recent Women in Film and Television Award for her work on the Olympics and Paralympics. Jones gets digs in at Baldings "cheap hat and shoes" and "sense of superiority", but seems mostly miffed about Baldings refusal to grant Jones's interview request.
The twitteratti are almost unanimous in their support of Balding:
@AnneBillson: "Clare Balding goes up in my estimation for pulling out of a Liz Jones interview. Jones tries to get revenge by being catty in print. Fails."
@helencwarner: "I doubt @clarebalding is weeping into her cornflakes to discover that Liz Jones doesn't like her. I'd say it's more of a compliment."
@woodo79: "Liz Jones must be mighty pissed off that someone else managed to print a more offensive article than hers today and is getting all the anger." [presumably a reference to Julie Burchill's controversial comment piece in defence of Suzanne Moore.]
@clarebalding herself, of course, rises well above the fray: "Please don't turn today into a Liz Jones hatefest. I'm not upset at all. She has merely justified my choice not to be interviewed by her"