How saintly Mary Berry's the victim of class warriors : JAN MOIR says even the TV presenter is getting it in the neck for a show that paints the rich in an affectionate light

How saintly Mary Berry's the victim of class warriors

My blood absolutely boiled when I saw the story about a woman hunt member whipping a saboteur with her riding crop. She thrashed him 17 times before he let go of her horse’s bridle. Seventeen times! Good grief.

As far as I am concerned, double that number of lashes would not have been enough. Not nearly enough.

Jane Miller was filmed by Brighton Hunt Saboteurs on Saturday, when a protester grabbed her horse by the reins. ‘Get off my horse,’ she screamed at him. And when he wouldn’t let go, she let fly with the whip.

What else was she supposed to do?

The masked protester was not only harming her horse, he was in danger of causing the animal to bolt, rear or kick out with its hooves and throw its rider.

In the new BBC series Country House Secrets, Mary Berry was at Highclere Castle, the stately pile where Downton Abbey is filmed and she cooked dinner for the Earl of Carnarvon

In the new BBC series Country House Secrets, Mary Berry was at Highclere Castle, the stately pile where Downton Abbey is filmed and she cooked dinner for the Earl of Carnarvon

Someone could easily have been killed or maimed — most likely 56-year-old Mrs Miller herself.

However, hunt saboteurs do not understand this.

Blinkered by their dubious cause, which purports to be to protect Mr Cuddly Foxy-Woxy from the brutal horse ’n’ land-owning gentry, they have no understanding of country ways.

As far as they’re concerned, the only difference between a Firkin Fox and a Fursty Ferret is the alcohol content.

What is the correct action when 70st of increasingly skittish horseflesh is bearing down upon you?

If you try yanking its bridle, tearing its mouth and shouting at the top of your voice, then you deserve everything that comes your way, you utter idiot.

The police are now looking into the incident and, in the interests of fair play, can I offer them a clue?

The innocent party is rarely the one hiding their identity behind a balaclava or mask, doing their worst under a cloak of anonymity. And the horse was left with a bleeding and ‘ruined mouth’, so jot that down in your notebook, too.

Mrs Miller is a member of the East Sussex and Romney Marsh hunt, who were taking part in the entirely legal sport of drag racing.

Instead of hunting actual foxes, the hounds follow an artificial scent trail which is dragged across the countryside. No animals are harmed, yet the saboteurs are not appeased.

When hunting with hounds was outlawed in 2004, you might have thought that the crusty sabs would have gone out of business, kaput, redundant.

They could go back to the comfort of their own firesides, spliff up, pop a cider, collect their welfare benefits and plot new ways to kick-start the revolution.

But no, here they are, faces hidden behind three layers of wool and as self-righteous as ever.

At the weekend, they were trespassing on private land, convinced that Mrs Miller’s Hunt is secretly still chasing foxes, although they can offer up no evidence to support this claim.

For its part, the Countryside Alliance says hunts are still plagued by ‘balaclava-clad animal activists who intimidate’. Which proves what many suspected all along. Sabotaging hunts has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with class warfare. Which, in these Corbyntastic times, is depressingly on the rise.

Even the saintly Mary Berry got it in the neck this week for daring to present a TV programme which shows the landed gentry in an affectionate light.

In the new BBC series Country House Secrets, she was at Highclere Castle, the stately pile where Downton Abbey is filmed. It was a charming programme, where she cooked dinner for the Earl of Carnarvon and his wife.

Toot tootle toot! Call on the hounds.

Corbynistas on Twitter were appalled. ‘I do not pay my licence fee for Mary Berry to espouse snobbery,’ fumed one, ignoring the fact that gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh was also there, which I would suggest rules out any pretence to posh.

Another viewer got herself into a right state over the ‘cannon of lamb’ Mary was cooking. ‘How do you suppose we viewers could ever afford to buy cannon of lamb? I’d never even seen it before!’

She probably has — it’s sold in Tesco under its everyday name . . . fillet.

My favourite was a woman who complained that Mary Berry was ‘rubbing people’s nose in what it is like to have money . . . not really appropriate for this time in history.’

I know times are hard, but it is not exactly the Potato Famine, darling. And I realise people are fed up of austerity and cutbacks, but the way these folks go on, you’d think we were all matchstick girls and boys, scrabbling for a rind of fat tossed out the window of a speeding limousine.

Tally ho-ho-ho?

There will always be those who are better and worse off. If the sight of a horse chasing a non-existent fox or lovely Mary Berry rustling up raspberry tarts and wafting around in a sparkly evening dress can really cause so much jealousy and unrest, then we truly are in a bad way.?

Stop your fussing and give little Fifi a sibling, Tamara?

The Ecclestone Sisters. If they didn’t exist, someone would have to invent them — for I confess myself gripped by their every adventure.

Beloved daughters of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, Tamara, 33, and Petra, 28, are worth about £250 million each

Beloved daughters of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, Tamara, 33, and Petra, 28, are worth about £250 million each

As the beloved daughters of Formula One billionaire Bernie, Tamara, 33, and Petra, 28, are worth about £250 million each — but they can barely make it to the end of the street without laddering their tights or walking into a lamp-post.

Last year, Tamara was astounded to learn that toast is made from bread.?

Now she is in a state because her three-year-old daughter, Fifi, is going off to nursery for the first time.

‘I’m worried that they’ll make her wipe her own poo. She’s not ready for that. This is so awful!’ she wailed.?

All Tamara’s self-worth seems to be invested in her little girl — and that is bad for both of them.

She should have another baby. And fast.

Meanwhile, younger sister Petra’s marriage to her gold bullion trader husband is over and her latest business venture is in trouble.

Her company Stark, which makes handbags from python and alligator skins, has just posted £4 million losses.

I’m not surprised — have you seen them? The £600 backpacks look like elephant testicles with buckles.

No wonder dad Bernie despairs!

One toy story we could do without?

Pass me my first beaker of mulled wine and throw another marzipan log on the fire. The festive season is almost upon us, heralded by the Hamleys Christmas Toy Parade, which took place in London last weekend.

What could be nicer than families gathering together, apple-cheeked children stuffing their mittens into daddy’s hand, marvelling anew at the . . . uh oh. Close your eyes, darling, it’s only two mummies fighting.

As 800,000 people gathered in Regent Street, two women had a punch-up in the Peppa Pig zone — and one of them had to be hospitalised. Police also closed the area after the incident.

Apparently, Postman Pat was there, too, but frankly, he did nothing to help.

The season of goodwill has begun with a bang. Merry Christmas, one and all!?

Stolen selfies and the reality of rape?

Actress Jennifer Lawrence is still upset about having her naked selfies stolen and leaked online three years ago. Back then, shortly after her Apple account was hacked, she said it was not a scandal, but an actual ‘sex crime’.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence is still upset about having her naked selfies stolen and leaked online three years ago. Back then, shortly after her Apple account was hacked, she said it was not a scandal, but an actual ‘sex crime’

Actress Jennifer Lawrence is still upset about having her naked selfies stolen and leaked online three years ago. Back then, shortly after her Apple account was hacked, she said it was not a scandal, but an actual ‘sex crime’

Now the 27-year-old explains that she still feels violated. The whole experience, she added, was ‘like being gang banged by the ****ing planet’.

Oh, Jennifer. I’m sure having your nudie booby shots stolen was traumatic.?

However, despite your natural Hollywood tendency to self-seeking hyperbole, surely — surely! — as an Oscar-winning actress you have the emotional intelligence, wit and sense to understand that what happened to you cannot compare to being raped by multiple assailants.

You are not a victim, by comparison.

Miss Lawrence seems to be a good person and a talented actress. Morally, she has done nothing wrong.?

However, a little perspective on her plight would not go amiss.?

Just wait until she gets older and life gets tougher.?

Then she might realise, as we all do, that the anxieties and piquant embarrassments of youth are not the worst things to happen to oneself. By a long chalk.??

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Farewell David Cassidy, we will not see your like again. Nor your prices. A ticket to see Cassidy perform in London in 1974 cost £2.20 (the equivalent of £24.45 today).

Compare this to Justin Bieber, who charged fans £65 for general admission to his concert in London’s Hyde Park earlier this year — and that afforded a view half a mile from the stage, behind a tree. A premium spot cost £139, while a seat on the Terrace Grandstand was a grasping £299.50.

Crikey. It is not only teenage girls who have lost their innocence in the passing decades.

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The Scottish Football Association was fined £4,000 after fans booed God Save The Queen before their match against England in the summer at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Last weekend, rugby fans at Murrayfield in Edinburgh booed the All Blacks as they performed their traditional pre-match Haka war dance. Honestly, I’ve never felt so ashamed. Scottish fans of all stripes once prided themselves on their sportsmanship, but not any more.

Naturally, I blame the Nats. Just try to stop me.?

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