In his latest Country Diary, see The Guardian, 31/12/16, Jim Perrin ended with a personal message of ‘my blessings’ to Brendon Cox, bereaved husband of Jo—the young politician most viciously murdered—and to their children. But: really is the Country Diary an appropriate stage for Jim Perrin to be giving out ‘[his] blessings’? And was he taking too much upon himself to have written in that way and in a ‘diary’ which by definition is devoted to ‘countryside’ matters?
Every one of us is all too aware of the many cases not only in the UK, but even more so world-wide given the thousands of deaths and displacement of human souls, where blessings are sorely needed, as balm at least—whatever one’s own beliefs—and these Pope Francis gave in his eloquent and far-reaching Christmas message from the Vatican—Urbi et Orbi. His thoughts were of all the troubled countries, states and peoples including some who, like Brendan Cox and his family, had suffered personal trauma: ‘Peace to those who have lost a person dear to them as a result of brutal acts of terrorism.’
But Jim Perrin, for all his increasing pontification, is not the Pope, nor are his actions in anyway praiseworthy and we feel that it cannot be right for The Guardian Country Diary to be made an outlet, to be taken advantage of, and to be used by the likes of Jim Perrin. Why, we wonder, is the sub-editor willing to allow him such leeway?
After some sycophantic comments which followed this diary entry, ‘Leszczuk’ wrote pithily: ‘Those responsible? Literally, one man was, and he has been tried and sentenced. Figuratively, who? Plangent stuff from the plashy fen (“and be for once contrite”, indeed) but out of its depth.’
That Jim Perrin should have made the opportunity to include ‘[his] blessings’ is all the more remarkable when it is known that he neither bestows blessings nor any consideration for their welfare—or any financial support whatsoever—on those of his own children who are underage and (whatever steps he contrives to avoid it) still his legal responsibility; the moral and ethical issues are another matter: his hypocrisy is phenomenal.
And to finish his piece by addressing the readers from his self-appointed place on the moral high ground he wrote: ‘…and be for once contrite’. As we have posted countless examples of this man’s behaviour on our site we believe it may safely be said that the word ‘contrite’, let alone the concept—contrition—is not one which troubles Jim Perrin unduly in the conduct of either his personal or professional life…
NB: ‘The plashy fen’ is a reference of course to the mischievous and masterly spoof on nature writers by Evelyn Waugh when he introduced to an admiring world (in his novel Scoop) the imaginary ‘William Boot’. In doing so he created what really is amongst the most comic examples of a prose style; so flowery as to be overblown. We, and others (who have described his work as ‘purple prose’), feel sure that the effusions of the author, Jim Perrin, all too frequently deserve to be mentioned alongside those of the estimable ‘William Boot’.
To quote ‘Mardy': ‘The main character of Scoop, William Boot, is a minor journalist for the newspaper The Daily Beast who wrote a small column on gardening and “Lush places”. To serve an insipid upper-class readership Boot adopts this flowery style of writing to describe a rodent stalking in a marsh: “Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole”. “He’s supposed to have a particularly high-class style”—”Feather-footed etc. would that be it?” “Yes, said the Managing Editor, that must be good style.”‘