There are news events that have the Kennedy factor – you remember where you were when you first heard the story. Amongst them for me, there was the Challenger explosion, the defenestration of Margaret Thatcher, the death of John Smith and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. I can recall stumbling downstairs on a Sunday morning and switching on the radio to hear Jim Naughtie intoning the words ‘This is BBC Radio.’ All the radios in my house are usually tuned to R4, so Jim’s voice wasn’t unknown, but it wasn’t expected on a Sunday morning and that particular station ID is only used when the networks join together in times of crisis. Unsurprisingly, that’s when I switched on the TV and stunned, woke my wife with the news.
Fayed’s appearance in court last week didn’t do him any favours. I think we have to extend a certain latitude to somebody who has lost a child, but his continued and unfounded assertions of a massive conspiracy at the top of the British establishment to plan and conceal the murder of Diana is simply ludicrous. From the very start, I’ve held the opinion that there is a strong element of self-protection here. Perhaps he’s afraid of litigation because one of his employees was allowed to drive a high-performance armoured limousine while drunk, or perhaps he just can’t accept the fact that his own people effectively killed his son.
The inquest stems from a vain hope that by exposing all the theories, no matter how whacky, to the light, that the facts will out. Sadly, I don’t agree. Conspiracy theories don’t need facts to survive – quite the opposite, as they thrive on a diet of rumour and half-truths. Unless the coroner decides that Diana was murdered and Prince Philip was driving a white Fiat Uno through Paris that night, there will always be a corner of the internet that sustains the lie. Perhaps we just don’t want to admit that a woman who could dominate the front pages of newspapers and magazines like no other could die so suddenly and in such mundane circumstances - the hands of a drunk driver egged on by his rich playboy boss. To suggest that icons can fall that way somehow goes against our view of the world – even though people die daily in car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers.
I’ve never bought into the conspiracy theories for a whole range of reasons. One is that Fayed expands the conspiracy to extend across the whole hierarchy of government, the intelligence services and assorted royals and flunkies. This makes the chance of a leak that would explode the whole thing more likely. Secondly, the alleged method seems to be very vulnerable to chance – if the princess had been wearing a seatbelt, she’d probably be alive. Thirdly, if the royals were so opposed to her marrying a Muslim (and there is no evidence that she was about to marry Dodi, outside of Fayed’s mind), why was she allowed to live past her serious involvement with the surgeon, Dr Khan?
Now, you have to accept that the family does have some form when it comes to murdering recalcitrant wives, being pro-Nazi and expressing questionable views on other cultures, but does that really extend to a plot that if exposed would destroy the monarchy and bring down the government, based upon such a flimsy and risky plan?
Nope, I just don’t buy it.
Perhaps we’ll just leave all this to Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Videos of Truth. (Hat tip to Bob Piper for this prime example of right-wingnuttery). The force of the flapping white coats is strong in this one. If you don’t bother voting in the local elections this year, Simon Smith is an example of what you might get.