HERE I sit with headlines piled about my feet. Diana is dead but lives on. Brexit is pulling the cabinet apart, although over my left shoulder health secretary Jeremy Hunt has just heckled John Humprhys in the kitchen, saying that he doesn’t recognise the stories being told in the newspapers.
The BBC isn’t broadcasting from our kitchen – it is rather small in there – but the radio is on; the radio is always on in the morning.
Twenty years may have rattled by, each carriage on the train packed with joy and misery, but here we are again in Diana-land. Those inky sheets cannot shake off their obsession with the Princess of Wales.
The nation’s favourite dead royal is back on the front pages, in the anniversary month of her death and one week after her sons spoke about their mother in an ITV documentary.
For previously explained reasons, I didn’t tune in. It would be wrong to say that I never watch docs about the royals, although I prefer the royals to be long dead and woven into history.
In wishing to pay tribute to their mother, William and Harry seem to have revived the never-ending royal soap. Royal sources say this is all the result of the “ill advised” strategy by the boys to talk about their mother. (Royal sources? A harassed press officer, the Queen in a ratty moment – who knows?).
You can see why they wanted to, but now the whole shabby shebang has rolled back into our life. On the front of today’s Mail, Diana is shown front and back in a skimpy dress with the words: “Dress Diana feared William would think was too sexy” – followed by “Her style legacy: dazzling 8-page pullout.”
Pull out and throw away would be my reaction should I have been foolish enough to buy a copy, but it takes all sorts.
Much of the rest of the page is taken up with a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge and the headline: “Solemn Kate’s tributes to heroes of Passchendaele.”
Clearly, Kate couldn’t be anything other than quietly dignified on such an occasion, but the differences between her and her departed mother-in-law are telling. Kate seems a modern female role model, cast from the same bland mould as the dull diet princesses and endless pretty simpering celebrities who are nothing much to celebrate. You suspect that Diana was more fun, and more trouble, but perhaps that helps to explain the lack of a happy ending.
This week’s stale furore concerns a Channel 4 documentary planned for Sunday, in which Diana will be heard talking about her sex life with Prince Charles. To maintain a fine tradition, I won’t be watching. Anyway, do we need to know – and, prod me if I fall asleep over the laptop, but didn’t we know all that already?
You can’t help feeling that some newspapers would have folded years ago if Diana’s beguiling ghost hadn’t been there to prop them up. And, yes, Great Aunt Express, we are looking at you.
The Telegraph reports that foreign secretary Boris Johnson and trade secretary Liam Fox appear to have been kept in the dark – and “out of the loop” – over an announcement that EU citizens will be permitted to come to the UN during a transition period of up to three years.
In the dark and out of the loop – the best place for that pair. Isn’t there an unused cupboard in the cabinet room in which they could be confined loop-less for the foreseeable future?
Sadly, the foreseeable is all too easy to foresee: more endless bickering as we shuffle up to the Brexit cliff edge and then shuffle back again, muttering: “Oh, shit!”
And more reheated tripe about Diana, but there you go.