Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Why Liz Jones knows all about revenge

LIZ JONES: I know all about revenge...I stalked my husband's mistress

Vicky Pryce was, of course, stupid to take points, coerced or not, on her licence for her husband, but a jail term seems excessive, given the leniency with which we treat people who commit actual violence, or steal, or abuse animals, or become bankers.
I currently have nine points on my licence and know how devastating it would be to face a driving ban. I’ve changed my mind now, of course.

Vicky Pryce and Chris Huhne in court
Wait a minute, I’m confused. What have you changed your mind about? 

It becomes slightly clearer in the next paragraph:

But before this case, it occurred to me that – if I were ever sent another speeding fine (accompanied by a blurry photo of my face, rigid at the wheel) – I might let my assistant take the rap, wearing a long black wig. 

How are we supposed to know what you’ve changed your mind about (of course) in the first place, let alone when you don’t tell us what it even is till the next paragraph!

Perhaps it was deliberate to distract readers from your boast that you would let your assistant take the rap for your speeding fine.

I would have been speeding, you see, because I am special and important, and need to hurry everywhere. 

Chris Huhne
I’m still confused. I don’t know whether this is supposed to be funny or not. I assume it is, but I don’t get it. 

Pryce is not the biggest villain of the piece, because there by the grace of God go I, and many of us. Couldn’t she be sentenced to pick up litter instead of being confined, or be an unpaid lollipop lady?

That doesn’t even make sense! It’s There but for the grace of God go I Sort your idioms out Liz!

I wish you'd stop claiming that the things you do are done by everyone else. It doesn't justify it and it isn't true.

Huhne is to blame, almost entirely. I bet he’s the sort of man who beeps when stuck behind a woman who fails to zoom away from traffic lights the nanosecond they go green.

And I bet he flashes women in the fast lane when they won’t get out of his super-busy way. 

Not Chris Huhne
Wait a minute – Huhne is almost entirely to blame. I'm not really interested either way but I'd like to know what you're basing that fact upon. 

Oh. Because you bet you know what he’s like behind the wheel... 

I’m sure I read something recently about someone else who was so special and important that she had to hurry everywhere too. Was that the joke then? I’m not sure.

The toxicity of their marriage is familiar to me, too, as I’m sure it is to many.

They're not even married. They divorced 2 years ago. Have you researched for this article at all Liz?

 When a woman learns that her husband has cheated, revenge is not only tempting, it seems the only course open to us. 

Perhaps his wife’s actions in exposing the lie will make men think twice about how they break the news that they are having an affair.

 Huhne apparently broke the news of his infidelity to the mother of his three children during half-time of a World Cup football match, and then went off to the gym. 

Shocking enough, but you didn't mention this fact in the article Liz. 

Even if you had, it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that other men will now admit their affairs by candlelight (perhaps hire a Mariachi band?) to avoid making the cheated spouse angry enough to turn police informant. In any case I'm fairly sure it wasn't just the way she was told that made her angry.

I certainly wreaked mine: I emailed my husband’s mistress, telling her she was only number five in a series of similar conquests. I even went to New York, found out where she worked and waited in reception at her office for her to turn up; I hadn’t thought through what I would do when she did, but luckily never got the chance to slap her as she was away on holiday.

I continued to stalk her on Facebook for years after, though, only ceasing when I saw she had given birth to a baby who, thankfully, looked nothing like my ex-husband. 

I am ashamed of becoming a cliche of a woman scorned. But really, having read the email exchanges between Vicky Pryce and a reporter on a rival Sunday newspaper, I’m more ashamed of being a journalist.

So it was a journalist from a rival newspaper that made Liz ashamed to be a journalist. Nothing that Liz did. That's a relief then.

Pryce had wanted to get revenge on her ex-husband by selling her story, either as a book or as a spread in a newspaper, and was emailing a writer on a broadsheet about the whole licence rap thing. The journalist was using her powers of persuasion to get the story for herself.

Pryce could ‘draw a line’ under the whole affair. She would be taken away for a few days on a mini-break (‘You look like you need it’) to somewhere that could be fancy, where they could conduct the interview in peace. It could be ‘fun’.

In a few days, it would all be ‘done and dusted’. The journalist talked about the pair having ‘a relationship of trust’, and signed off with a ‘love’. 

Wow, she was good. But we have all done this, haven’t we, those of us who toil away in Fleet Street? Persuaded someone to do something to further our own career? 

Maybe everyone who ‘toils away on Fleet Street’ actually DO lie and exploit people for stories. But if they’re getting paid over £250,000 a year then I’d expect them to toil a little harder and to learn the difference between ‘There by the grace of God’ and ‘There but for the Grace of God’.

I’ve pretended to be someone’s friend to get a story, many, many times. 

Ooh, let’s talk about my plans for adoption, to get you to open up about your IVF and your own plans to adopt, as I did with someone who was then an MP.

When the writer Alexandra Tolstoy was poised to run off with a penniless Cossack, I got the story for my daily paper by promising her a weekly column, which of course never materialised.


You might try sounding a little less pleased with yourself Liz. Not least because you are exploiting them a second time by selling another article on the back of what you did to them the first time. Which I note you don't apologise for or justify.

 And I didn’t just do this to public figures. A young woman who had been evicted from Celebrity Big Brother did a story with me that, thanks to the heading which blamed Channel 4 for ruining her life, lost her a budding career in TV. 

It’s the little people we tread on that haunt me. The small misdemeanours that don’t land us in jail, but probably should.

I would love for Liz Jones to sit down and read one of her own articles back and try to see it from the perspective of those she writes about. Just to see if it would flick a switch in her brain and she would see how her actions and words affected others. 

As someone who considers herself the perpetually wronged victim of others cold and unfair treatment how would she feel if others had treated HER like this?

PS My friend Dawn’s beloved black cat Coco was put to sleep on Thursday, having eaten the leaves of a lily. My friend had no idea they were toxic. She sent an email telling all her friends of the loss, accompanied by a photo. 
She received the following from one woman: ‘Don’t know what I’m going to  say to the kids [who adored the cat]. 
Can I not say anything please? Means they will ask you about her every time they see you, though.’ Um, hello? It might be Mother’s Day, but the myopic selfishness behind this missive beggars belief...

I’m confused yet again. Who starts a paragraph with P.S?  Or did she mean to write RS? Did she get confused and start writing him an email?

Assuming she meant to finish the article with this paragraph - I know the story that a cat was poisoned by water lily leaves is sad and should be told to warn other cat owners – but it didn’t seem to belong right there at that particular point in the article. It looked more like the start of a whole other article.

So leaving that aside for a moment - some woman didn’t want to tell her children about the cat’s death. But then that would make them ask where the cat was when they saw the cat’s owner. And even though it’s Mother’s Day the woman (mother) is selfish and short sighted to the point that it beggars belief?

 Nope. Read it three times now and still don’t understand it.

Surprised by Liz Jones managing to slip in an attack on selfish mothers on mother’s day while telling a sad story about an animal in an article that had absolutely nothing to do with cats up until that point though.

So much so in fact that I almost didn’t notice that she neglected to give closure to the main body of the article.

Liz Jones: The highest paid female journalist in the UK.

Clearly toiling away in Fleet Street is far more lucrative than blogging in a burka.

I’m starting to think she’s doing this on purpose and laughing at us.

All the way to the bank.

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