Guardian Angel by Melanie Phillips

To be honest, I have not knowingly read any articles by British journalist Melanie Phillips, either in The Guardian, the Observer or the Daily Mail, so I was interested to see what she had to say in her memoir, “Guardian Angel.”

Melanie Phillips on Fox News talking about Mus...

Melanie Phillips on Fox News talking about Muslims in Britain (Photo credit: get down)

It begins with a chapter about her early life, which personally, I think
was a traumatic experience which has probably had an enormous impact on
her whole life and career. She was the only child of a Jewish couple,
Alfred and Mabel and grew up knowing – rightly or wrongly – that she was
responsible for her mother’s ill health. She felt that if she did
anything wrong and caused displeasure, it was likely to kill her mother.
What a terrible weight to carry around with you as you grow up! To add
to that was the fact that her father was too weak to stand up for his
child – he may as well have been physically absent from the family home.
As she grew older, she managed to cover up her insecurities and
present a confident, determined demeanour.We go on to learn that after obtaining a degree, Melanie chose journalism as a career, quickly moving from a lesser known, out-of-town paper, to the Guardian. At first, she fitted in very well and was happy there, but as time went by, her political views began to conflict with the prevailing opinions. She came from a background which supported the left, but felt she had to move her political stance over time.

Her articles and opinions became more and more contentious, whether she was writing about the state of education, the welfare state, single parent families in this country, or the rise of what she perceived to be anti-Jewish and anti- Israel feeling, especially after the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.There was a certain amount of content that I agreed with and which I’ve been thinking about for a long time: how much can we trust our politicians and journalists to tell the truth? Do they “follow where the evidenceleads”? What is the evidence that reports and  recommendations are based upon? I found the book to be an interesting and thought-provoking read, but one which you need to approach with an open mind. There are many more issues raised in Melanie Phillips’ short memoir, but I will allow her the last words in this review:
“I am simply Alfred and Mabel’s daughter – a Jew who believes in the repair of the world, and a journalist who believes in speaking truth to power.”

I received this free of charge in return for an honest review.


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