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Borkowski Weekly Media Trends: Starmer, Willoughby & MORE
FIRST: Captain Tom's daughter v Piers Morgan
Captain Tom’s unravelling legacy
The endless saga of Captain Tom’s daughter took another turn this week, as the family’s interview with Piers Morgan saw Hannah Ingram-Moore confess to having pocketed £800,000 from her father’s book sales, albeit “as a gift.” It was something of a damp squib of a revelation in light of the fevered reporting that has followed since the veteran’s death. While Hannah did manage some remorse about the infamous garden spa complex, Colin Ingram-Moore demanded the cameras be turned off during discussion of the Captain Tom Foundation’s questionable accounting. The involvement of the couple’s children left a sour taste in the mouth. The blurring of lines between ostensibly public and private finances remains unanswered.
And yet Hannah Ingram-Moore remains somehow fascinating, an Elizabeth Holmes for the provincial-minded. For someone who, as we now know, masterminded her father’s publicity campaign, many of her answers were staggeringly incompetent, every sentence referencing the “legacy” of Captain Tom while blind to the fact her own hubris has ensured that no such thing exists. Her camp villainy is so brazen that it verges on pantomime, not only pointless but completely axiomatic – where there’s a will there’s a war, and where there’s a grandad there’s a grift. The joke’s on us as we’ve witnessed this middle-class King Lear saga painfully unfold.
Such is the speed of the news agenda, and world events being what they now are, the kerfuffle around former This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield may seem like a distant memory. Since he departed from the ITV stalwart, co-host Holly Willoughby has ploughed on in the admirable, smile-plastered fashion the British public has come to expect from the swiftly disappearing echelon of true entertainment professionals.
The façade came crashing down last week when news broke of a credible plot to kidnap and murder the presenter – Holly disappeared from the sofa and on Wednesday announced her decision to quit the show “for me and my family.” Her statement referred to the “supportive” ITV team and the “loyal, so supportive” viewers, perhaps an acknowledgement of the enduring faith which allowed her to ride out Queue-Gate and then Phil-Gate in quick succession.
Of course, the public will be largely sympathetic to Holly’s decision to leave at this stage and understand its reasoning. But there have been murmurings from some corners of the internet that, horrific as the threat against her may be, there may have been some sense of relief in Camp Willoughby at the smooth exit it provided. Cynicism aside, it does feel like a melancholy moment. With traditional media holding on to relevancy with its fingertips, it seems unlikely that morning talk show celebs in the Phillip and Holly mould will ever be replicated.
Glitter bomb boosts Starmer’s stardom
In an unexpected turn of events, the recent Labour Party conference ascended from obscurity amidst the intense global focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict. A protest act – glitter-bombing Kier Starmer – stole the limelight, unveiling an unintended yet glittering (sorry lol) showcase of the Labour leader’s composure.
The art of hurling harmless objects at public figures isn’t new - it’s as ancient as the pieing of Bill Gates and as recent as the custard pie attack by environmental activists on Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary - each incident a litmus test of grace under pressure. A glitter-covered Stamer evoked more of O’Leary’s unflappable demeanour than Blatter’s discomposure. A protest meant to undermine inadvertently morphed into a show of strength.
For the unknown People Demand Democracy, who claimed responsibility for the stunt, the “friends” of Just Stop Oil, who had five followers on X before the incident, have seen their mission campaign to replace the Lords with a ‘permanent citizens assembly’ plastered across the media in a small window following the glitter attack. While Starmer was able to flex his resilience, showing relief that his wife wasn't attacked with a solid quip about her dress being “really beautiful”.
He delivered his speech in full after rolling up his sleeves and shaking off as much gluey glitter as possible to the crowd that believe he will be in power come 2024.