THE Royal Family’s ongoing struggle with Marxist infiltrators took a new and devastating turn this week, with news that Prince Harry and his bidie-in, Meghan, were forming a splinter group aimed at promoting “progressive” values and destroying capitalism. Harry is to become a full-time industrial organiser with the Socialist Workers Party, while Meghan will do something with shoes.

We (using the royal “we” here) feel sorry for the controversial couple. Ours is not the sympathy of liberals, which is generally reserved for terrorists and dictators. It is sympathy for individual humans finding themselves in a difficult, perhaps even impossible, situation.

Poor things. They must have thought their announcement that they’d come off the royal pay-roll (up to a point) and make their own way in life would go down well with the toiling masses. Perhaps it even has.

Hitherto, we’ve only heard from media mediators who have frothed and fumed at the decision, seeing it as a kick up the bahookey of Her Majesty, a Queen. Worse still, the right-on couple’s Royal Extinction Rebellion has seen them shunned by their erstwhile comrades on the progressive left, who say the pair want to have their vegan stake bake and eat it, as their plan involves still taking money from Prince Charles and holding on to their hoose, Frogmore Cottage.

Critics croaked in particular that the £2.5 million of public money spent on renovating that gaff should be repaid. This is churlish. Which of us hasn’t spent £2.5m renovating our cottages? You’ve probably spent more than that on new bathroom curtains.

Folk who’ve been to the hoose say it’s really not that grand, and my guess is that its refurbishment probably just reflects Rab’s Formula for Public Spending, wherein £50,000 of normal money translates to £1 million in the public sector.

In the meantime, Meghan has fled back to Canada, in whose safe and pleasant woods the couple first hatched their plans, far from the hurly-burly, with distance lending perspective to their plight. Pity poor Harry, sixth in line to the throne, doomed forever to be an unused sub on the bench. I mean, what the hell’s the point?

Meghan, meanwhile, hasn’t enjoyed being in the spotlight, while at the same time facing accusations about publicity-seeking. At first, she must have thought the job of duchess would be fun but, as usual, it turns out to be all office politics and insane management demands. The proletariat will surely sympathise.

As things stand, the couple are victims of a nasty pile-on, which decent ratepayers have a duty to deplore. Partly, we admit, it’s their own fault, not least in having got in tow recently with various PR specialists, which is the explanation of how everything has ended up a PR disaster.

So, what now for this enchanting, if irritating, couple? They’re hoping to spend more time with ordinary people such as the Clooneys and the Beckhams, while informed speculation suggests they’ll also use their “Oprah connection” to get work from celebrity A-listers, perhaps laying out their clothes or helping them put on their wigs and make-up.

Putting out a podcast has also been mentioned, though I’m not aware that these make money. In my limited experience, they just involve folk rambling on for hours about nothing. I can’t see how that would make money.

Perhaps, if it’s not the same thing, a vlog is the way to go, chronicling their everyday lives and receiving sponsorship for publicising products such as hair restorer and syphilis testing kits.

I don’t know. I’m getting way out of my depth here. One thing is for sure: they won’t starve. Apparently, they have some savings, something only the wealthy elite have these days, and it’s possible they are earning decent interest on theirs from a Post Office savings account.

Stop press: it’s now being suggested that the couple jumped before they were pushed, and that they might have become victims of plans for a “slimmed down” monarchy anyway. That should put their critics’ gas at a peep.

But who knows if it’s true? Somebody somewhere should issue a press release. In the meantime, I’ve a strange feeling this story will run and run.


THE trousers were down at Marks and Spencer over Christmas. Mental Markies over-ordered skinny, tight-fitting men’s breeks, which the lieges declined to purchase, leading to a dip in festive season profits.

That’ll learn ’em. The High Street retailer says it’s now ordering in more “regular” clothing for Spring. Regular? Fancy that! We regular folks had begun to feel like a minority – in this and nearly every other sphere of life – so perhaps we’re on the brink of a return to sanity in the world of duds for chaps. I doubt it.

In other troubling news for the retail sector, John Lewis says it may not pay staff their traditional annual bonus for the first time since 1953. The causes of its falling profits aren’t hard to find: overmanning at the top; overpaid bosses; and becoming too posh, abandoning its traditional lower middle class base for the hunting and shooting classes. Beware the waxed jacket: ’tis the garment of ruination.

The only good retail news this year appeared to come from Greggs, the People’s Bakery, which reaped substantial rewards from the introduction of its vegan sausage roll.

Thus the market. Vegan pastries fill your boots. Tight troosers squeeze your assets.


WHEN, recently, I threw out hundreds of books to make space for hundreds more books, it transpired that the only ones I missed were the Jack Reachers.

They were in fact the first ones I chucked, being “mere” thrillers, and the sort of thing that a man in my position couldn’t be seen reading in public.

But the Reachers are real page-turners and, instead of the usual liberal fare wherein the hero lets off with a warning the guy who’s just raped and murdered his wife, Jack batters the bad guys to death. Very satisfying.

Consequently, other than The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and The Wind in the Willows, and everything by PG Wodehouse, and some Shakespeare, I discovered too late that Reachers were the only books I’d read a second time.

Consequently, what larks it is to see the sniffy reaction to Reacher author Lee Child being appointed to the Booker Prize judging panel. Maybe that means someone who, like Child, knows how to tell a story might win the competition this year.

Heaven forfend. Generally, these prizes are a guide to which books you should avoid. They rarely merit a first read never mind a second.


THANK goodness that Boris Johnson came home from his holidays in yonder Caribbean to sort out the Iranian crisis and ensure that GB GBD (Got Brexit Done).

I don’t really mean any of that. Indeed, I get really, seriously, mildly irritated when the papers call our leaders back from holiday. When do they do this, readers? Correct: Every. Single. Time.

There’s always a crisis. Put another way: there’s never not a crisis. And it’s always BJ’s own right-wing, mid-market mad rags that lead with this vaguely sadistic cry.

Back in the days when Britain was at its height and universally loved, you never saw such demands made on Sir Harold Macmillan or Sir Anthony Eden. Indeed, you hardly saw these folk at all. You voted them in and they disappeared for five years. That’s as it should be.

What did they want Boris to do? Come back and say things, apparently. But he was pestered about it by phone calls from his aides anyway. Never a minute’s peace.

As so often, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu had it right: the good ruler never does anything. He just lets nature take its course. Updated for the 21st century: nature and missiles.

Read more: Are you weird enough to get ahead in the new Britain?