Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Violence here less important to Dave than Kate

Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel

For those of us grappling with our philosophical position on novelist Hilary Mantel's comments regarding 'plastic' Princess Kate Middleton, what a relief to have David Cameron simply declare Mantel "totally wrong".

Until our PM stepped in to clarify the wrongness of Mantel's opinion, I was wasting time reading what Mantel said and being confused by the discrepancy between her words and the subsequent reporting of them. What Mantel was addressing was the creation of a totem of polished royal perfection.

If she was critical of Kate Middleton, it was only regarding her uncontroversial personality, one which made her an easy starting point around which an unthreatening, compliant model of next-gen royalty could be formed, each outfit, haircut and public statement acceptable for mass consumption.

Her walk, her smile, her voice, her giggling (but not too much), her cheerful, tasteful little jokes (but not too many) – all, Mantel suggests, made her ideal fodder for both the media and the Windsor PR machine.

This wasn't an attack on Kate Middleton, but a comment on the artifice of her public persona.

If you read the Daily Mail, however, you'd think Mantel had called Kate a mangy old tart and asked to fight her.

Don't bother pondering any of it though – our PM, who didn't feel the recent escalation of death threats, violence, intimidation and bomb-planting in Northern Ireland was worth comment, has jumped to close the discussion.

Tune in to Prime Minister's Questions next week to find out if David has any truck with Chomsky's theories on anarcho-syndicalism.

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