When Pippa Middleton replaced Delia Smith at Waitrose magazine, I wrote a stinging blog post sharply criticising the appointment and ridiculing what I believed to be a grossly misguided dumping of the Queen of TV Cookery.
The editor of the magazine, who happened to be my friend on Facebook, took umbrage and was at pains to justify his decision as if to infer that moving with the times is the commercial norm for an up-market food store such as Waitrose. He must have meant that the sister of the future Queen of England will bring so much gravitas to the magazine that consideration as to competence does not matter.
Last week Waitrose had to eat humble pie. In a U-turn, the grocery giant had asked Delia, the much-loved cook, to bring her successful online culinary school to its website. This followed months of anger in the kitchens of Middle England over Waitrose’s decision to drop her from its television ad campaign last year, while promoting Miss Middleton.
The move was seen by customers as a betrayal of a woman who had taught and inspired two generations to cook. The resulting Twitter uproar suggested it was a ‘gratuitous insult’ to customers with some threatening a supermarket boycott. So Waitrose have been nudged out of their folly and have now woken up to the fact that quality is the prime key to any promotion, and that obsession with those who through marriage to a member of the Royal family bring untold benefits is truly passé – or am I in an advanced state of delusion?
Pippa is everywhere. There isn’t an event in town where she does not feature. Her face, as well as her bottom – not dismissing her allure – grace the pages of the majority of our newspapers and magazines. Whatever she does is news. Wherever she goes the paparazzi follow. Words of wisdom come out of her mouth in torrential levels. There isn’t a subject she isn’t familiar with. She probably can converse in Mandarin if asked.
She recently wrote about her fanciable hockey coach when she was a student at Marlborough College where, we are told, she outshone her big sister Kate. Any anecdote coming from her lips is sure to hit the headlines and provide fodder for future historians.
The reading public, we must assume, cannot get enough of her. She has become a woman for all seasons and her ascendancy in society has been rapid and sensationally effective. She burns the candle at both ends and does not seem to miss any opportunity to project herself as the new iconolatry of her generation of young women. But what is more remarkable is her ability to spread her wings as a desirable contributor to such august publications as Vanity Fair and the Spectator.
She must have secret magical powers that we on the lower scale of intellectual intelligence do not recognise. Her motto must surely be the sky is the limit; in which case, perhaps her next step would be vying for the editorship of the Economist.
I must conclude, the world in its present state of madness is not immune to such an outrageous possibility.