Quite why the Taxpayer is having to fork out hand over fist for what is becoming not so much an inquest as a pantomime will be a question for later when the final size of the whopping bill for all this nonsense is met. In the meantime, I suppose, we may as well enjoy seeing Michael Mansfield QC ensuring that he emerges from the wreck of the al-Fayed Sci-Fi spectacular with his reputation intact. Little else remains to be rescued after a succession of witness have either stuffed the boot into the Knightsbridge Corner Shop owner’s solar plexus or admitted that they have been, shall we say, less than frank about matters over the years.
Next week sees the pantomime director himself shuffle into the witness box for the amusement of the nation. Thus we shall be treated to an endearing account of how HRH the Duke of Edinburgh travelled to the planet Zog where he recruited a squad of inter-stellar mercenaries for the sole purpose of offing the mother of two of his grand-children and her greaseball date and all the other guff that al-Fayed has dreamed up over the years to deflect attention from his own shortcomings in this matter.
It remains to be seen how hard a time he gets from various Counsel. His position has been carefully isolated as his various Lieutenants have, at last, been subjected to searching cross-examination instead of the toothless gumming meted out by the MSM over the years, something which has demonstrated the high standards of advocacy that are produced by our adversarial system of litigation, though, strictly speaking, an inquest is inquisitorial in nature. This is something which we risk losing if we hand over control of our system of justice to unelected foreigners who come from the Civil Law tradition and who have neither understanding of nor empathy for the way we do things.
The other pleasure is to see that adult comic The Daily Express having its pet project deflated like a whoopee cushion. Sooner rather than later the chances are that a verdict will be delivered which ought in theory to leave them wiping egg off their face for a long time. Sadly, one suspects, neither they nor al-Fayed will be put off: instead we shall probably be treated to another ten or twenty years of yet more ludicrous theories about the crash and how the Inquest was nobbled etc. etc., each theory yet more wacko than the last.
Still, as we are all paying for it, we may as well enjoy it while we may. Next week ought in theory to be the climax of the farce, though one has a feeling that all it will do is reveal what a saddo al-Fayed is.
Mind you, the waste of money represented by this Strand farce is as nothing to the Bloody Sunday enquiry which was set up ten years ago to enquire into matters that took place thirty-five years ago in a part of the United Kingdom which has, to say the least, moved on. Its last press notice was in August 2005, its last witness gave evidence three years ago. Since then a thunderous silence has prevailed.
Now that Terrorist leader Martin McGuiness has been reduced to commenting on the drinking habits of soap programmes, one wonders what possible relevance this enquiry has to the world of 2008.