Amanda Platell turns her attention to the question of divorce this morning in the Daily Mail, seeing divorce law through the prism of the McCartney-Mills settlement:
You might be scratching your head here, wondering if you've missed details of an agreement or a judgement. When you went to bed last night, they were still in the middle of the court process, weren't they?
Erm... yes. And, indeed, still are. Platell is writing her view about what the divorce tells us about divorce law before the law has actually come to a judgement. Which seems a little bit unfair. Sure, the courts could hand Heather everything McCartney owns, but equally at this point could give her nothing, or thirty pounds three shillings and sixpence a month. How can you berate a legal system for an opinion we can only guess at?
Instead, Platell is basing her piece on what Heather has asked for:
Well, yes, we can do that. But as with Owen Glendower's monsters, anyone can demand anything - what matters is if they get what they ask for. Heather's demands might tell us something about the demands in divorce cases, but not anything about the law itself.
Still, at least Platell's working from knowledge of what exactly it is that Mills is seeking, then?
No - like the rest of us, she doesn't have a clue:
The differing sums arise not from Mills or McCartney, but from different newspaper groups - although, yes, the Mail, Sun and Mirror are warring parties, so we'll let her have that one.
The "most reliable estimate"? As Platell doesn't bother to source this - it seems to have come from The Times last week - we've got no way of telling why she believes this figure to be any more accurate than, say, the thirty million claimed by this morning's Mirror. Other than it fits her purpose:
Well, yes. If she has sought it, if she gets it, it would be quite a lot of money. But there are a load of ifs in there, aren't there?
Still, let's assume that Amanda has got all the details of the case correct, and rightly second-guessed the legal judgement. Would, then, this case tell us anything about the divorce laws in the UK?
But Amanda, the mere fact you're writing about this divorce would suggest that this is an atypical case rather than an archetype. Fifty million quid does sound like a lot, but when put into the context of what McCartney is worth, it starts to look less astronomical - that Times report points out:
The actual cash amounts are enormous because of the silly money in McCartney's world - but if you scale it down to a marriage ending where the assets are more normal, say, a two hundred grand house and fifty grand in savings, that equates to a divorce settlement of £17,500 - quite modest. And let's not forget that much of the settlement is due to Heather bringing up Paul's child.
No, if anything, the story tells us nothing about divorce laws, and everything about how obscenely rich the very, very rich are. The scandal is not that Macca is going to shunt the equivalent of small change over to Mills' accounts; it's that people can be so rich a fifty million payment is so trivial.