It can be quite easy being a columnist.
Katie Hopkins, for example, will make a nice living out of targeting the most vulnerable groups in society and filling her page with outrageous hate and vitriol towards them.
Whereas, in most workplaces, she would be sacked on the spot, fined or disciplined, she is rewarded handsomely and allowed to continue unabated because “controversy sells newspapers.”
So, that’s okay, then?
In the years I’ve been writing columns for various newspapers and magazines, I have only been “controversial” once – and that was by accident.
It was when Sooty was celebrating 50 years in show-business and I wrote that it was quite remarkable because Harry and Matthew Corbett were, literally, “nothing more than failed ventriloquists.”
It was true.
Sooty didn’t have a voice and Sweep was a mere fluffy squeaker toy.
I certainly wasn’t expecting the sack-load of hate-mail I received from members of The Sooty Fan Club.
Whilst not exactly threatening to burn down the offices of The Kent Messenger where the column appeared, they told me that they would tell Sooty and get him to use his magic wand to put a spell on me to make sure that I would never write for newspapers again.
In fairness, that spell lasted for 7 days – until my next weekly column appeared.
But that was only after a few sleepless nights for my editor who was pondering whether my next column, unfortunately entitled, “All Zombies Should Be Shot” should be published as he was fearful of similar repercussions from all of our “undead” readers, which, when you think about, was virtually all of them.
I did try phoning Matthew Corbett to apologise but he just said “Talk to the hand,”
Instead, I was forced to write a public apology to Sooty and all his fans the following week in the newspaper.
To this day, I’m not sure if Sooty ever forgave me as I haven’t heard from him since.
Now… if only Katie Hopkins would also keep quiet…
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