Melanie Phillips

Posted on 06/06/2010

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Melanie Phillips

Melanie Phillips

Melanie Phillips is a ‘controversial’ -I love that polite word- British journalist and writer. She frequently writes in the Daily Mail from a conservative or right-wing perspective. Her favourite subject is scaremongering about ‘mass immigration’ and ‘Islamic terrorism’ and how these are changing Britain’s (white) identity. She has also written in The Guardian, The Spectator and regularly appears on BBC Radio 4. She has a number of books, including Londonistan (2006) and, most recently, World Turned Upside Down (2010).

Melanie Phillips was born in 1951 to a middle-class Jewish family. She read English at Oxford and trained as a journalist at the Evening Echo, a local newspaper in Hemel Hempstead. In 1977, she joined The Guardian and soon became the paper’s social services correspondent. Interestingly, Phillips gained initial attention for articles on the treatment of asylum seekers and immigrants. A scoop of hers on female immigrants being forced to undergo virginity tests at Heathrow airport led to a policy change. [1]

In 1993, she took her opinion column from The Guardian, where she had been writing since 1987, to The Observer, then to the Sunday Times in 1998, before switching to the Daily Mail in December 2001, where she has had a regular column ever since. The career change seems to have accompanied a drift from a liberal-left position to the right of the political spectrum – or perhaps the other way round. She occasionally writes for the Jewish Chronicle and other periodicals. In October 2003, she started writing a blog, which has been hosted sine 2007 by centre-right magazine The Spectator. [2]

Phillips has been described by the BBC as a “controversial columnist” and “one of the [UK] media’s leading right-wing voices.” [3] A quick scan through her articles, however, reveals a deep hatred of migrants, Muslims, leftists… and everything she perceives as a threat to a conservative ‘British identity’ [4]. Much of her views and comments can, in fact, be described as racist. She has, for example, written in support of right-wing Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders, who became famous for his 2008 Islamophobic film Fitna.  [5]

On the Palestine-Israel issue, she has described Palestinians as “artificial people” who can be collectively punished because they are “a terrorist population”, claiming their cause amounts to “Holocaust denial as a national project.” [6] In fact, she is often involved in anti-Semitism smear attacks against anyone who disagrees with the Israeli right. And she has, of course, supported the US-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the ongoing occupation.

Phillips also opposes civil partnerships and gay rights, calling homosexuals “toxic” and arguing that “the traditional family… has been relentlessly attacked by an alliance of feminists, gay rights activists, divorce lawyers and ‘cultural Marxists’ who grasped that this was the surest way to destroy Western society.” [6] On education, she has argued in her book All Must Have Prizes (1996) that an egalitarian and non-competitive ethos had led to “a catastrophic fall in standards”, focusing mainly on primary-school children’s constructions of British identity. [7]

For a taste of Melanie Phillips’ racism, see our collection of her Daily Mail and other articles: https://pressaction.wordpress.com/tag/melanie-phillips/. See also her official website: http://www.melaniephillips.com .

Notes:

[1] Andy Beckett, ‘The changing face of Melanie Phillips’, The Guardian, 7 March 2003.

[2] http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/

[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/question_time/6727447.stm

[4] See, for example, her article ‘How Britain, the cradle of liberty, is sleepwalking towards cultural suicide’, Daily Mail, 12 February 2009.

[5] http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3277841/a-defining-moment.thtml

[6] Johann Hari, ‘The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics’, The Independent, 8 May 2008.

[7] For a response to Phillips’ arguments, see Carrington, B. and Short, G. (1998), ‘Adolescent discourse on national identity: Voices of care and justice?’, Educational Studies 24 (2), pp. 150-152.

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