Tanya Gold's take on the royal family's ability to project an impression of thrift while spending vast sums of public money is, in my humble republican opinion, the most entertaining published response to the appeal court's ruling that Prince Charles's correspondence with Tony Blair's cabinet should be published. The Guardian's leader on the topic of the so-called 'black spider' memos is also a stimulating read. I suspect the attorney general has a real fight on his hands. His argument appears to be that we must not know what Prince Charles's most passionate political opinions are because he is not supposed to have political opinions, and that his correspondence must therefore be suppressed because it might compromise the public's impression of his political neutrality. Convoluted or simply deluded? You choose.
Two current stories must make us look closely at aspects of our court system. The Vicky Pryce trial fiasco yesterday showed how woefully inadequate that particular jury was at understanding even the basics of their role. But, of course, under the Contempt of Court Act we are completely barred from discovering anything about this jury and their discussions or deliberations. I wonder if any news organisation is going to go risk giving it a try? And the Oscar Pistorius case brings acutely home to us how different other countries attitudes are to prejudice and a "fair trial". Days and days of detailed "evidence" in a magistrates court bail hearing - all of which would be totally unreportable here for fear or prejudicing a jury. Ah - there's the answer. South Africa does not have a jury system!