Anorak News | Sheikh, Prattle & Toll

Sheikh, Prattle & Toll

by | 12th, September 2005

‘AFTER the broadsheets had produced the big colour pictures and surveyed the scene from the top down, the tabloids waded into the New Orleans’ waters and looked for the human interest angle.

And on Monday the human the Sun was interested in was Emily Smith, the paper’s girl on the scene with a pad and maybe even a pencil.

The lead shot of Emily on the Sun’s front page caught her placing her hand atop that of 81-year-old diabetic Rosella McCoy, a picture newsworthy enough to be repeated in a larger format inside the paper.

Black Rosella looked deeply pained. Blonde Emily looked compassionate. “This tragic widow begged me to save her from disaster,” wrote Emily, “and half an hour later she lay on the verge of death.”

It was just terrible. But spare your tears. It’s OK. Emily’s still with us. (And later in the week, Rosella was fond alive and well-ish.)

So much for the little people. What of the disaster? Could it have been averted? The Telegraph answered its own key questions.

“Could the disaster have been averted?” Answer: “No”. “Would better flood defences have made a difference?” Answer: “Maybe.” “Could the city have been evacuated before the storm?” Answer: “Yes.” “Could federal aid have reached the city sooner?” Answer: “Yes”.

And lastly the crucial question that must be asked: “Is it all Bush’s fault?” Answer: “Not all of it.” After all Tony Blair has got the weather machine…

And so the stories of the storm began to blow themselves out. So much for that. It was time for the big news story of the week, and undoubtedly the most enjoyable – Princess Michael of Kent and the ‘fake sheikh’.

It is very hard to like Princess Michael of Kent. So hard that most of us gave up trying years ago. It’s far easier to dislike her.

And that’s good, because it makes the Sun’s news of how she spoke her mind to the News of the World’s “fake sheikh” all the more enjoyable.

On the pretence of being a buyer interested in the Princess’s country pile, Mazher Mahmood was given a tour of the desirable drum.

In the course of the tour, Princess Michael described Princess Diana as “bitter”, ‘nasty” and “strange”. She said Prince Charles never loved her and had merely “married a womb”.

But how does such a woman sell a house? Thankfully, with the housing market in the doldrums, the Mail gave its readers a few pointers on the way “The Del Boy Princess” does things.

She offered to throw in tea services and all the bed linen if the sheikh bought the £6million house. She also offered her services for hire.

She’s a great writer – “hugely successful in France”, don’t yer know. And even does a good stand-up routine. “It’s a one-hour, one-woman show but I’m very good, as you can imagine,” said she. “I don’t usually discuss fees. But it’s £25,000 to speak. Is that not enough? Shall I do more? And expenses?”

And if that was not enough (“I’m robbing meself I tells yer”), what about a white tiger? Very good runner. Used to belong to Siegfried and Roy, who use the beasts in their Las Vegas magic shows. “They sell them, you know,” says the Princess. “I can introduce you to them easily.”

And then perhaps hold the buyer’s head in one of the beast’s mouths until contracts have been exchanged and the cash is hers.

And on Tuesday things moved on a step. The Mail said Princess pushy had gone “too far”. Charles was peeved because she had dared to cast aspersions on his jam.

In the course of her efforts to woo the would-be buyer of her house, the Princess produced a jar of her own homemade preserve. “That’s made with my own raspberries,” said she.” It’s better than the stuff Charles churns out. “He doesn’t make it himself – he’s got factories doing it. It’s just his name on it.”

Oh, too cruel is the woman who shatters our image of Charles in hair net and frilly apron spooning jam into jars. No wonder Charles is said by a source to be “pretty irritated”.

It was time for a calming distraction, a poem even. And On Wednesday we had one. “Oh, Lord, if I must die today, please make it after close of play. For this I know if nothing more, I will not go, without the score.”

Wipe that tear from your eye. John Major, for he is the writer of those poetic words, published in the Times, was ever one to inspire strong emotions in our inner Edwinas.

And perchance the Tory party, which is looking for its fifth leader in eight years. But who will it be?

It would appear to be a two horse race. Or sticking with the cricket theme, a battle between a beefy all-rounder Ken Clarke and the team player with the straight bat, David Davis. With John Major watching from the stands, and the Telegraph providing the spin…

But there is a third man. On Friday, Liam Fox, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, entered the stumbling marathon of a race. He was buoyant. And could he be anything other than confident as he unveiled his cunning election strategy.

“We have to stop some of those things [“crime, the break-up of the family, the lack of cohesive communities”], but we do not do it talking to ourselves, we do it by getting down with the real issues, with real places, with real people.”

Bravo! Fox was a champion of the real people. or the ‘reaple’, as they must now be known. And if he wants to really give them what thy want, he could do worse than call for England to sack Sven Goran Eriksson.’

Posted: 12th, September 2005 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink