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Preach mental health – hate Holly and Phil

Greg Devine

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Queue to see the Queen in Parliament Square

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If you read my article on the media and its treatment of Meghan , you may think I’m beginning to sound like a broken record; however, this is the society we live in today. Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield used to be much loved celebrities. Many people will have grown up with them as a constant on British telly.


Recently, they became public enemy number one.


I’m going to coin the incident Queuegate, because everything seems to require a label these days. The presenters of ITV’s This Morning supposedly jumped the queue when our late Queen laid in state.


Firstly, who actually cares whether they did or didn’t? And who has that little to worry about that this alleged queue-jumping gets them so riled up they campaign to get the presenters cancelled?


Secondly, Phil and Holly didn’t even jump the queue. Like many other media professionals at the time, they were led into the hall to do some filming. They’re the main presenters of a morning talk show, it’s logical that they’d cover the country’s most important topics. And I can’t think of a bigger or more important topic than the death of our monarch who reigned over us for 70 years.


The unnecessary outrage has come about because other celebrities—who people wouldn’t consider journalists or professionals in the media—joined the public to queue. This includes David Beckham, who chose to pay his respects because his family are devout royalists. Theresa May and her husband also queued to do the same…the former prime minister looking physically upset as she curtseyed before the Queen’s coffin.


Phil and Holly didn’t go to Westminster Hall to pay their respects, which they explained on This Morning. They were there as reporters. They actively avoided bowing, curtseying, or having any personal interaction with the coffin, out of respect for the public who’d queued upwards of fifteen hours to be there. Surely, their actions should be commended. Instead, the public jumped on the nation’s sweethearts and cancel culture reared its head once again. Can I just remind you that this is the same Philip Schofield that not so long ago was being lauded for his bravery as he declared he was gay on national television.


Phil’s image has even been removed from We Buy Any Car—a company he’s worked with for many years. I’ve not seen any of their adverts recently that include him; this may be a coincidence, but my research couldn’t find anything concrete either way. In truth, it wouldn’t surprise me if the advert has been removed; the company may have reacted to the petition calling for Phil to be sacked, which carries more than 70,000 signatures.


I took to Twitter to try to understand the backlash. A lot of the related content was just funny jokes and memes designed to poke fun at Phil and Holly, rather than actually trying to get them cancelled. Funnily enough, a lot of the hate comes from Boris Johnson fans. The presenters have been critical of Boris in the past, thanks to a slice of cake he supposedly ate (no I don’t understand either); his fans have probably been desperate to retaliate.


Coming back to my article on Meghan Markle, can’t we just be nice to each other? The camaraderie and unity we enjoyed during the pandemic has already dwindled away to the point that I’m losing complete faith with the British public. Surely now, more than ever, we should be working together against a government that evidently isn’t bothered about the cost-of-living crisis they’ve dropped us in. Cancel culture from the left and/or the right is wholly unnecessary. It does nothing but create divide and destroy our ability to have thoughtful and reasonable debates.


To say that us Brits are stereotypically polite and reasonable people, I think, is wildly inaccurate. We’re predominantly rude and, sometimes, we’re even aggressive to complete strangers—but only on the internet. This is the root problem with ‘social’ media. It’s ruining society.