I may be the only one in the country to feel like this but I must confess to having quite a bit of sympathy for Jade Goody. Not because I condone her behaviour in the Celebrity Big Brother house, because I don't. The way she and the other girls treated Shilpa was immature and unacceptable. However, I am appalled by the way in which she has now become our national hate figure. Headlines such as Beauty and the Bigot and the heated words which accompany them are much, much worse than anything she did or said in the house.
Jade has made something of a living out of being immature and, on occasion, obnoxious. I remember her first stint in the house in 2002 where she argued with anyone who crossed her about trivialities. I probably shouldn't admit to this but I saw her in another reality programme a couple of years ago where she behaved in much the same way. Her behaviour in the current programme is pretty much par for the course. Channel 4 and Endemol knew what they were getting when they asked her to participate in the programme.
I worry about all the bile being thrown at her which is not that far away from mass hysteria. If the tabloid press, which is doing so much to stir it up, really wanted to advance equalities in this country, they might choose to be a little more responsible in the way they conduct their businesss. When did they ever campaign against the appalling detention of families in Dungavel? Why do they frequently print scaremongering articles which are bound to incite tensions between communities? When did you last see a positive article about asylum seekers? Why do they kick up such a fuss at the thought of gay people being treated equally in commercial matters?
It's almost like they're whipping up this tide of resentment against Jade to convince us that she's the baddy and the rest of us are just fine. We can show what a tolerant lot we are by voting Jade off the programme and out of our lives. The reality is that, unpleasant though Jade and Co's comments might have been, they are nothing compared to some attitudes out there. Most people I know would recoil in disgust if they read a piece of BNP election literature, yet they are scarily popular in some places. And while we're on the subject, how come Simone Clarke, the English National Ballet principal dancer has virtually escaped disapproval for her membership of the BNP? Double standards, surely?
This sorry episode just goes to prove how far we have to go on all sorts of equality issues.