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March 29, 2004


The Guardian's Agony Aunt

The UK's Guardian newspaper this week debuts a new column by Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, who will dispense advice to people's personal problems. This is a potentially genius move by the Guardian, which typically takes a progressive and liberal angle on the news, because it will display Widdecombe as the inflexible and mean weirdo that she is. The self-parody potential is significant. It's kind of like if Newt Gingrich (or Phyllis Schlafly?) started writing an advice column for Harper's. Widdecombe is known for her advocacy of "the stiffening of spines and the polishing of mettles," and in her interview with the Guardian about her new column, calls a number of the interviewer's questions "stupid," says she has never watched Oprah or been to a therapist, and says, "I think a good old dose of British reticence would actually be quite welcome. I can remember when reserve was considered the norm and people didn't talk about their, er [another disdainful pause], personal problems, particularly among the middle classes." It's just too good.

Other interesting things about Widdecombe: she has basically no record of ever being in a relationship with anybody, she features her cats on her homepage, and she has written several novels. Here's her first column, published today.

categories: International, Media, Politics
posted by amy at 1:38 PM | #