Thursday, 21 February 2008

Diana Inquest

I've been trying to avoid the whole Princess Diana Inquest fiasco. Good conspiracy theories have their entertainment value, to be sure, but there is nothing "good" about the bizarre ramblings surrounding this woman's death.

The evidence more or less speaks for itself, doesn't it? A bunch of scoop-crazed press photographers (which is pretty much ALL press photographers, come to think about it) were in hot pursuit of the most famous woman in the world and her bit of fluff, who were trying to avoid the pack in a powerful motor, driven at high speed down a fairly narrow tunnel, at night, by a guy who may, or may not, be a little bit tipsy. What's going to happen?

Face it, the folks in that car were not candidates for a safe arrival anywhere other than the pearly gates, and the photographs released at the start of this inquest only add to the likelihood of this outcome. You know the pics I mean, showing the driver and front seat passenger BRIGHTLY illuminated by photographic flash, while the poor bugger's trying to drive. Do you think that contributed to his ability to safely control the vehicle? No, neither do I.

Then there's the story of a bright light in the tunnel just before the crash. Gosh, I wonder if that could have been more flash photography? Hmm, I don't know, though - maybe we need to factor in some secret service agents with a strobe light to explain away this phenomena? After all, the woman herself is alleged to have written that she feared for her life, and had a pretty good idea as to where the threat came from.

Maybe so, and maybe it was a genuine fear. But I see no reason to assume that the fear was justified, even if it was genuine. She was devious and manipulative, and lived in a world of intrigue - largely of her own creation, by the look of it. She utterly misread her ability to control her husband and in-laws, and it strikes me that she would be unable to accept or understand that failure. After all, everyone else thought she was wonderful, and did what she wanted, when she wanted, how she wanted, so why wouldn't they? Must have been a conspiracy, eh?

Nah, I think not. Neurotic women with death plots, former spies, corner shop owners and all the other B-Movie characters dredged up to keep the flame alight need not apply on this occasion - a very silly woman changed her plans, dodged her bodyguards but not the media and paid for her final miscalculation with her life. It's sad, but it's not surprising or even slightly mysterious.

So why shouldn't this long-drawn-out, tedious inquest be aborted, as many big wigs are now demanding? Surely, the events are now so clearly understood that it is a waste of taxpayers' money to continue?

No, not at all. For one thing, there's a certain perverse interest in each new "revelation". But, far more importantly, it's what has been demanded. The shopkeeper has whinged and whined and demanded and kicked up a fuss, insisting that an inquest be held. In so doing, he has convinced quite a lot of the softer-witted population that something shady went on, and that the couple were assassinated. Those are very serious allegations, made about someone who, for whatever incomprehensible reason, was a very popular public figure.

People - particularly people with nothing better to do - want answers, and, having had the questions forced on them, are entitled to get them. So by all means let the show go on, all the way to the bitter end. The shopkeeper has had his day in court, and turned out to be rather less convincing that we might otherwise have expected. In fact, he turned out to be rather more hilarious than his opponents could ever have dared hope.

Similarly, the ex-spy has had his say, and also failed to convince. The former spy master has uttered his piece, and I for one was surprised that the cross examination did not take place at a duck pond over a stale loaf. According to him, the British Secret Service are entitled to kill, if necessary, but don't, and, if they do, he doesn't know anything about it. Hmmm, but he would say that, wouldn't he - he's a spy! Well, ok, he WAS a spy, but even so, they don't get to be good at that job by telling folks how they do it!

Players in the drama, major and minor, are strutting their stuff and having their turn. And that is exactly how it should be. The outcome is inevitable, but, after all these years and all the money spent on one inquiry after another, let no party say they weren't given the opportunity to air their views, no matter how wacky they may be.

And then, maybe, we can put the sad but tedious death of this incredibly famous, mind-buggeringly boring woman behind us. I was bored of reading about her life, and, more than 10 years later, I'm even more bored of reading about her death. No amount of wishful thinking is going to endow her unremarkable demise with a shock twist, a longed-for continuation of the Diana saga. She pegged out in a car crash, probably caused by her possibly sozzled driver being blinded and disoriented at high speed by a pack of press hyenas chasing a pic.

Sometimes, fiction is stranger than truth.

Billy Seggars.

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