THE news coverage arc of something like SNP’s Mhairi Black’s viral-shared maiden speech is that within 24 hours, likely sooner, you should be able to find a columnist somewhere who will appoint themselves as the sees-the-real-story contrarian, explaining that her performance in the House of Commons was actually quite awful and that the gushing internet praise is the dazed muttering of online sheep. At the tipping point of this news rainbow – right about now actually, where praise will switch to patches of mealy-mouthed criticism – there will actually probably be more than one of these clever, highly-intelligent people strenuously trying to show us that they don’t just follow the pack.
Yet whatever your politics and whether you agree with the content of her speech or not, surely you have to at least be impressed by her ability to hold that intimidating chamber, even if not very full at the time, to attention, at the age of just 20. It’d be just as impressive if a 20-year-old Conservative or Labour MP or one from any other party outlined their thoughts in such a coherent, confident manner at the first time of asking. There have been older, supposedly wiser new MPs who have trembled behind pieces of paper when breaking their duck.
But given the quick lift them up, knock them down nature of our firmly established news routine right now, where nobody is allowed to be seen getting ahead of themselves without being reminded that they are not as good as they think they are, let’s hope at least the fun story in the New Journal of how Ms Black followed up the speech by heading to Camden Town for some relief in a guitar shop is not picked up by those bending the coverage the other way. You can imagine it now….
SHE LECTURED US ON THE HAVES AND HAVE NOTS, AND LIFE SURVIVING ON FOODBANKS…. AND THEN SHE WENT AND SPLASHED OUT £400 ON A TOP GUITAR.