top of page
  • Lawrence Bailey

Royal bust-up leaves me unimpressed

A rule of thumb used by media folk, or so I’m told, is that if a story lasts from a Sunday to a Wednesday then it’s usually good for the rest of the week.

Thus the nation remains fixated with each fresh revelation in the Harry and Meghan saga, or so it seems.

I didn’t watch “Oprah meets the Markles” myself, and the choice of phrasing probably tells you something about my level of interest.

That’s not to say however that the extended Bailey household has been free from expressed opinion on the matter. Far from it in fact.

Nonetheless, this cynical old professional can’t help but go beyond the modern morals stuff to analyse the battle for ascendancy between two very accomplished, not to mention, well-resourced PR machines.

Both camps are eminently capable of putting the right veneer on their respective messages. Both are giving their partisan audiences what they want while the domestic media goes manic trying to be honest brokers. OK, Piers Morgan was a notable exception, I grant you.

Timing is crucial factor too. In that context, you get the impression that earlier allegations of bullied staff might have been a pre-emptive strike, although that aspect seems to have been forgotten – for now.

Even so, and as someone else uncharitably observed, if the family involved did not enjoy such a high profile then the dysfunctional fallings out among this estranged group would be have been better suited for the former Jeremy Kyle show.

Opinion polls to date don’t overly favour the Sussex’s actions in going public. I’m guessing though that most of those asked saw the Queen and Royal Family as injured parties. It would be a different story if the other side was portrayed in surveys as the anonymous institution of Buckingham Palace.

For all the outrage, we’ll have to see if the fallout serves to highlight wider injustices like the forced repatriation of the Windrush generation or asylum seekers locked up in internment camps and the racial abuse aimed at south-east Asians on Welsh streets. Somehow I doubt it.

At least we’ve passed the stage of breathless commentators harping on about a “national crisis”, as if more than 125,000 UK deaths attributable to COVID-19 is a passing trend.

Forgive me though if I can’t relate to the antics of warring families who have developed a well-honed expertise in living behind facades. Things may not be the same dramatic footing as the Capulets and Montagues but its tempting to suggest what should happen to both houses.

I don’t know what motivated the interview and I’m no better placed than anyone else to be able to speculate. What I do know is that the matter has all the potential to quickly become escapism rather than anything meaningful or relevant to our own lives.


When people talk literal nonsense

I was shocked to learn from contemporaries how a tendency on my part to (very occasionally) extemporise at length on a theme is considered as me “going off on one”.

Aside from the fact that this suggestion is spurious nonsense, what on earth does that mean, anyway? I despair how do these inane expressions creep their way into the language.

It’s like the football commentator who inevitably comes up with the gem during a match about how an attacking side is “asking questions of the defence”.

Can you imagine a striker leaping for the ball while asking his opponent, “Have you come far?” or “How long have you been a sweeper, then?”

Another one that makes my jaw clench is the use of “going forward” when what the speaker actually means is “in the future” or “from now on”..

Which way would you go? What are the alternatives; sideways, diagonally or maybe a sort of tasteful zig-zag?

Dear Lord, spare me from the conflating expression-manglers who talk literal nonsense and turn their stupid idioms into dust.

Um, did I just go off on one again? Sorry about that.




EP Banner.png
bottom of page