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.
Newsnight's political editor Michael Crick has admitted that political journalists failed the British public by not being more aware of MPs' expenses before the scandal broke. Giving a masterclass to Centre for Journalism staff and students, Crick said he was concerned that the case might be symptomatic of failings in other areas of journalism too. "In the pursuit of personality-driven journalism perhaps we are overlooking some of the bigger stories," he said. "I think it is a failing of journalists that the collapse of the economy came as such a surprise to us. In the same way I think it's a failing of political journalists that all this expenses stuff has come as such a surprise to so many people, including us."
Crick also said he thought that, becuase of where we are in the political cycle, scandals involving Tory politicians were given a lot less play than those involving Labour counterparts. He cited the recent examples of Watford Tory candidate Ian Oakley, given a suspended sentence for harrassing his opponents, and Slough candidate Rajah Khan, who was jailed earlier this month for his part in an election fraud. "If those had been Labour people, I can't believe they would have got as little coverage as they did do," Crick said.
Click the image above for an edited interactive version of Crick's masterclass.