Old Gossip Heated Up.

The Royal Family, past and presnet. Princess Diana Inquest. News and all related articles

Old Gossip Heated Up.

Postby bjr » Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:53 pm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 207082.ece

Diana, Princess of Wales, is all over the news; Keggy Keegle, the emotional Lady Di of the dugout, is Newcastle United manager; and Sir Trevor McDonald is bonging away on News at Ten. It's as though the Nineties had never ended. Except this time, as my fellow newspaper columnist Karl Marx might have said, we are witnessing history repeated as farce - and not only at Newcastle.

It looked as if Heat magazine had written the BBC and ITN headlines this week, as the inquest of the Princess and Dodi Fayed crashed back into the news and boring old current affairs got ditched in favour of ten-year-old gossip about who may or may not have said something or nothing to somebody or other.

At the risk of putting myself in a minority of one, I agree with Paul Burrell. The former butler made a right royal rock of himself in court. But he had a point when he tried in vain to argue that his diary and journal were "very private and very personal" and did not have "any connection to the circumstances surrounding the Princess's death". That could be said of about 90 per cent of what has been laughably described as evidence at this inquest.

This is not just a waste of time and money, it has become far more serious than that. At the end of 2006, when many hoped that Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington's 800-page report into the Princess's death would end the speculation, I wrote that it was likely "to turn out to be a mere stage-setter for the theatrics that will run and run at the inquest". Little did we know just what a dramatised courtroom farce would follow.

An inquest is supposed to be a forensic hearing to establish the cause of death. This one should have been short and straightforward, two mammoth inquiries - one French, one British - having already concluded that, shock horror, it really was a drink-driving accident. Instead, the inquest has become a reality circus where the judge is Lord Justice Scott Baker rather than Simon Cowell, and everybody, from psychics to former Met police chiefs, wants a walk-on part.

One of the important "news" stories we were treated to this week was that the Princess's mother had called her a whore. Some of us may be more concerned that this description fits the inquest, where the legal process appears at risk of being prostituted. The worst thing for a republican such as me is that some on the Left, such as Michael Mansfield, Mohamed Al Fayed's QC, seem to think that recycling crazy conspiracy theories and painting a princess as a rebel will somehow help to bring down the Establishment. The only thing they are in danger of bringing down is the level of public life.

The inquest heard that there were Secret Service agents in Paris at the time of the fatal crash, but that they had "bigger fish to fry" than following the every move of a pin-up princess and her boyfriend. More than ten years on, would that we could say the same.
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