The reaction of the public to the News of the World’s latest beat-up has been, as one American site puts it, to “leave the dude alone”. The overwhelming number of respondents to their poll – 72% of over 65,000 – supports the Prince.
Further anecdotal evidence leads to the conclusion that apart from the usual suspects – in this instance the weak and myopic British politicians from both sides who foolishly think the commentariat expresses public opinion – the public wonder what on earth the fuss is all about.
The latest example comes from The Sydney Morning Herald, now a very much republican newspaper. Every Saturday the letters editor summarises the week’s letters in a column called ‘Postcript’.
On 17 January, letters editor Mike Ticher opened the column with these words:
"’Why is Paki insulting, but Aussie is not? Aren't they both simply shortened versions of the original word?’ So wrote Steven Onley, of Coogee, and dozens of others in response to the row over Prince Harry's remarks.
“The answer, a distinct minority of readers argued, is that one has historically been used with evil intent and the other has not. But that seems much less generally accepted in Australia than in Britain, where so many more people have roots on the subcontinent and have lived through some ugly years of racism.”
The key phrase is “a distinct minority of readers.” Given the propensity of the politically correct to take pen to paper, this illustrates once again that the News of the World beat –up may have sold papers, but that it was completely out of touch with the general public.
At least on this occasion, this beat-up by the News of the World won’t land them in gaol.