Sometimes the Fourth Estate starts to believe its own propaganda. The results can be the saddest of sights, as those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet find the realisation dawning that they cannot command events, bend others to their will. And one area where the press may have been influential in the past, but are not now, is that of the monarchy. That has not stopped the Murdoch goons at the Sun.
On the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and after saturation press coverage of her life and memory, the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker have looked back at how they helped bully the Queen into breaking with protocol, whipping up the mob into a poisonous fury and flying flags how the Murdoch press decreed they should be flown. The Super Soaraway Currant Bun spoke for the nation, or maybe a small part of it.
But that was then, and this is now: the Sun, and the rest of the popular press, has been on the slide for many years, its circulation shredded and advertising revenues decimated by web giants more adept at following the money, while being unencumbered by the press’ obsessive pursuit of their editorial line, even as readers walked away.
So it is that the delusional behaviour of those on the 13th floor has manifested itself in today’s Sun front page lead, screaming “Exclusive: Shock Poll … Most Brits want him next on throne … Skip Charles … and no to Queen Camilla … KING WILLS”. Do go on.
“MORE than half of Brits want Prince William to be the next King, The Sun can reveal - while just a fifth reckon it should be his father Charles … And in a further blow to the Prince of Wales, 36 per cent said his wife Camilla should be Princess Consort rather than Queen if he does take the throne … An exclusive poll for The Sun by ICM reveals 51 per cent of Brits want William to be the next King - skipping the Queen’s eldest son … Just 22 per cent back Charles - with the bulk of his support coming from the over-75s”.
Tony Gallagher - this rubbish won't save his skin
Er, hello? This is not just bullshit, but irrelevant bullshit. We have an hereditary monarchy - so the public had no choice in 1936, it was Edward VIII, whatever his suitability for the role, or rather, the lack of it. They also had no choice with his younger brother (an excellent wartime monarch) in the wake of the Abdication crisis. Nor, more to the point, did they have a choice in 1901 after Queen Victoria finally expired and Edward VII succeeded her.
He had been a notorious womaniser, was not thought particularly good Royal material, and was not so well-regarded by the public - but turned out to be a very effective King, opening up the monarchy from the seclusion of Victoria’s latter years.
In any case, the monarchy and its succession is not driven by opinion poll, but by the line of succession, and the concept of duty, which probably goes way over the heads of the Murdoch goons. It is Charles’ turn next, whatever the public mood may be at any point in time, and most importantly, whether he wants the “Top Job” or not. End of story.
This front page drivel will change that not one jot, and nor will it save Tony Gallagher from the sack he so richly deserves. He, and his fellow Sun executives, should bear one crucial fact in mind: in 1997, the year Diana died, the paper sold 3.8 million copies a day. That has now declined to a miserable 1.5 million. I’ll just leave that one there.