Writing in her column for The Sun, former Tory MP Louise Mensch has trotted out one of the laziest non-sequiturs aired in the heated debate around press regulation.
Under the headline "8 kids by 5 women – it’s no wonder they like their privacy", Mensch suggests actors Hugh Grant and Jude Law, who both took objection to their phones being hacked in the pursuit of celebrity gossip, only have a problem with such invasion of privacy because "neither man has made a habit of settling down with their baby-mothers in recent years".
It’s not the first time this argument has been wheeled out in the name of cheap point-scoring against Hugh Grant. In fact Mensch is about 10 months behind a number of her peers.
The suggestion seems to be both men are acting out of some irrational self-interest. But even if they were motivated purely by a desire to protect their own private lives, what the likes of Mensch have never explained is why it is unreasonable, or why the likes of Hugh Grant should accept they have no right to privacy where their children and personal relationships are concerned.
“What a coincidence that both actors were involved in the battle to censure the press,” writes Mensch, ignoring the prior coincidence that both men had their phones hacked long before they appeared at the Leveson Inquiry.
It does the media's arguments against regulation no favours to make them so blinkered and so obviously half-baked.
Mensch no doubt thinks defending the right to pick over the private lives of celebrities is the right thing to do. But all she has done is re-enforce the notion that the papers have become too obsessed with celebrity, that picking over the private lives of celebrities such as Grant and Law is a cause worth defending.
Mensch surely does more damage basing her defence of a free press around the right to know how many children a celebrity has had by how many partners than she repairs by offering that defence.