THE lifeblood of both news media and social media appears to be permanent outrage verging on hysteria. This fire is constantly looking for new fuel to keep it going and ignite new sparks. On Friday December 17 Jeremy Clarkson provided such fuel with his Sun column in which he said he ‘hated’ Meghan Markle and that he dreamt about her parading ‘naked through the streets of every town in Britain’. The outrage burns on, provoking calls for Clarkson to be cancelled from working on all media platforms.
In contrast a media story about another woman had not a scintilla of the impact of Clarkson’s ‘naked Meghan dream.’ Last month an inquest heard about shocking failings in the care of Beth Matthews in a secure psychiatric hospital. A jury ruled that her death last March was ‘suicide contributed to by neglect’. As a patient with suicidal ideation all Beth’s post should have been opened before it reached her hands. However she not only managed to order poison online but open the parcel containing it and swallow enough to end her life. It was also revealed that two other young women, Deseree Fitzpatrick and Lauren Bridges, had died due to medical negligence in the same hospital that year. The media ripple created by the death of these three women was nothing to the tsunami provoked by Jeremy Clarkson insulting one highly privileged woman. Meghan Markle is the ultimate woke ‘victim’, the poster model for female oppression woke feminists can’t get enough of. All their newspaper articles, tweets and other social media posts are saturated with Meghan grievance, alongside a fixation on other high-profile female ‘victims’ such as Amber Heard, Britney Spears and even Princess Diana.
According to the new generation of woke feminists, led by vocal and media savvy academics, the way such women are treated by the tabloids and general public discourse is what we should all be focusing on. Changing the way certain famous women are talked about (seemingly regardless of how they behave) is the key to ‘smashing the patriarchy’ and securing the rights and safety of all women everywhere. Leaving aside the danger such woke warriors pose to freedom of the press, it is the hollowness of their claim to care about all vulnerable women that must be exposed. While woke feminists obsess endlessly about the super-privileged few, countless vulnerable women are seeing their lives painfully rot away and ended by mistreatment in the mental healthcare system of ‘our amazing’ NHS. Yet they’re not worthy of even a few tweets, let alone a Woman’s Hour interview, a newspaper column or the launch of a campaign for change. It’s on a par with the widespread unwillingness to discuss the so-called grooming gangs scandal.
Occasionally a member of the public will grab even the woke’s attention and persist in the media headlines. The murders of Sarah Everard and Zara Aleena are two examples. The fact that one was murdered by a policeman and the other by a violent criminal given too much freedom by probation services has rightly prompted wider debate and indeed outrage. However one has also to note that these women are both ‘the right sort of victim’. I will never understand why journalists and politicians come out with remarks like ‘this beautiful young woman had a great career/bright future ahead of her.’ What if a victim is unattractive and without obvious great prospects? Does that make her death less tragic? Someone who is mentally ill, as opposed to having trendy ‘mental health issues’, will never be as media or woke friendly as a celebrity or a beautiful trainee solicitor or marketing executive, (as Zara Aleena and Sarah Everard were respectively). True mental illness is ugly, distressing and doesn’t slide easily into any woke agenda.
Beth Matthews was a beautiful young woman who had a large social media following and popular mental health blog. It is not unduly cynical to surmise that it is because of those attributes that her death hit the headlines at all. After all the deaths of Deseree Fitzpatrick and Lauren Bridges in the same hospital got into the news only because of what happened to Beth. Even now there has been merely a passing mention of Deseree choking to death in her sleep due to inappropriately prescribed medication and Lauren’s suicide. None of the woke feminists tweeted that they ‘stand with’ these women, let alone demand an inquiry into the people and systems that killed them.
The woke warrior silence was also deafening after the shocking BBC Panorama programme that exposed the horrific abuse of mentally ill patients at Manchester’s Edenfield hospital. It focused on women on the female-only ward. Patients were assaulted, mocked, humiliated, insulted, bullied, kept in isolation for weeks, deprived of even basic comforts and generally treated in the most inhumane way imaginable. Some staff were sacked and there was the usual ‘lessons will be learnt’ meaningless response.
Beth Matthews’s death hit me in a very raw, personal way. When I spent six months in a secure psychiatric clinic my post was opened and checked. However I soon realised that much of the so-called ‘safety’ regime was punitive rather than caring. Furthermore I had to ask for my embroidery scissors to do my cross-stitch, but then they stayed with me unsupervised for weeks. So much inhumane awfulness happened in that clinic. It’s enough to say that I left with a sizeable portion of trauma added to my pre-existing trauma and illness. I am but one of countless other victims of what poses as mental health ‘care’. Beth survived jumping off a bridge and the NHS helped her recover from that physical trauma. But she couldn’t survive the neglectful NHS treatment of her mental trauma. On the October 1 2021 she tweeted: ‘If I ever lose my battle to depression, know that I fought, know that I tried.’
It’s not Beth’s fault that that her battle was lost but rather the fault of a society that turned its back on her and a health service that harmed her, as it does far too many others. Good Morning Britain’s Adil Ray jumped on the Clarkson woke outrage bandwagon. In a tweet Ray referenced Meghan’s claims to have been suicidal and said, ‘Thinking of every woman or man who are in pain right now. Please remember we have got you.’
Yet he and his woke fellows were silent on Beth Matthews, Deseree Fitzpatrick, Lauren Bridges and the Edenfield hospital scandal. Their concern for the truly mentally ill is fake. The social media hashtags and campaigns for change are limited to those the woke deem worthy and useful for an ideological agenda obsessed with the appearance of ‘virtue’ rather than improving the lives of the most vulnerable.