Rant Number 409 2 September 2010
‘We were both, in our own way, manipulators’. Tony Blair’s tasteless take on Princess Diana in his memoirs. Not quite right. Consider: a war criminal the poor Princess was not. Unlike Phoney Tony, she was not complicit in aggressive wars that caused innumerable deaths and untold misery to innocent people. Instead, she ‘manipulated’ in order to relieve human suffering, to save lives. Campaigned for AIDS victims and against land mines in Africa. A long way from your shabby self, eh, Tony?
Diana, it seems, bridled at Blair’s interference in her relationship with Dodi Al-Fayed. Can you blame her? Why should the British PM stick his nose into a young woman’s affairs of the heart? Charles and Diana were divorced. She was free. If she desired to marry a young man called Dodi...well, why not? Her situation was unlike that of, say, Edward VIII and Wally Simpson. The Royal succession was not affected. Maybe Tony Blair did not like Egyptians. Or play boys. Or the ‘naturally tanned’. Or maybe...maybe there is more to it than it meets the eye.
Dodi was hopping mad when Diana told him. How do I know? Because he told a priest I know well – as well as my own self. I’ll call him Fr Frank. He met him and that he remembers. His language about Tony was distinctly unparliamentary. (His English pronunciation was better than that of his dad, I must say.) Can you blame him? ‘That f...b...! He must leave my woman alone!’ But Dodi was a sweet boy, really. He only cared about Di. He was besotted. Diana had that kind of effect on men. Like a beautiful witch, she cast a spell. Like many others, Dodi was bewitched. Diana bewitched the priest, too. But Dodi’s bewitchment brought him no happiness, alas. Unless dying next to the person you love be counted as ultimate bliss, perhaps.
Anyway, it is official at last. The British Government did not like Diana’s boy friend. The next interesting question is: what further steps did Tony take to express his displeasure? The British secret service people in Paris at the time of the fateful car crash, what role did they play? What were they supposed to do?
The spies were there. The paparazzi who ghoulishly hovered around the car wreck, immediately after the crash, they snapped plenty of photos. Whose pictures did they take, accidentally?
Not theoretical questions. It is common knowledge that one of the paparazzi faxed the photos to the head of his agency in London. The man’s flat was burgled in the night, as he and his wife lay in bed, asleep. In the morning they found the snaps gone. The police were called. They looked around. Allegedly, they notified the chap that ‘you have not been burgled’. Cryptic remark. Or a quite pellucid one. Secret service men have no need to break in. They have the master keys to everything, geddit?
But, if it really was British intelligence at work, why did they do it? Whose identities were they trying to protect? Why was it important those photos should not become public? Why, why why?
The question stands: who was afraid of Princess Diana? And of Dodi? Why did the PM interfere? Why did he make it his business to try and manipulate a woman in love into forsaking her love? A rash undertaking. Like Edward VIII with Wally Simpson, Diana had no intention of giving up her beloved. How could she? How could anyone who really loved? He/she matters to you more than the whole world. Tony Blair, the great, infamous manipulator, proved himself quite stupid here. He should have known. The great expert on ‘feelings’ – unlike that dour, bullying & brutish (alleged) psychopath, his close mate Gordon Brown – obviously miscalculated. Diana ‘bridled’. Well, she would, wouldn’t she? Pity you didn’t get that, Tony!
Naturally, Dodi asked the priest about marriage. And so did Di. As everybody knows, it never happened. They waited too long. Had they asked the priest to marry them, privately – what then? What if he had agreed to marry them? Sounds crazy but there are precedents. The son of King George III, George, Prince of Wales, is known to have secretly married the love of his life, Mrs Maria Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic. The marriage was irregular – King George III would never have consented to his heir marrying a Papist and an Act of Parliament barred (and still bars) members of the Royal Family who embrace Catholicism from the succession. Despite all that, the marriage, performed by an Anglican clergyman, was valid. So later the marriage certificate conveniently disappeared and Parliament made Prince George wed the gross, smelly, repellent German princess, Caroline of Brunswick. Marital happiness did not follow.
In an alternative world, Diana and Dodi would have become husband and wife. Have had children. Been as happy – or as unhappy – as any other couple. What would have been wrong with that? Why the hostility, the plotting, the manipulations? Original sin, is that it? Or is there more? Something horrible, something dark...no, I can’t bear the thought. Forget it.
Bizarre how the Act of Settlement that explicitly discriminates against Catholics does not similarly bar Muslims from the Crown. Guess back then they were thought too much beyond the pale to bother barring. So nothing in law prevented Diana from marrying Dodi. And, believe you me, Dodi was not the kind of Muslim likely to embrace jihad. Indeed, I found him almost Italian in his attitude to his religion. Laid back was the word. A cultural Muslim he might have been, a militant one...no way. Tony must have known that. He should have laid off the two doomed lovers.
Aye, there’s the rub. Doomed by whom? Conspiracy theory rears its ugly head. Unpleasant, idle, sterile stuff. The priest hates it. The truth is, Diana and Dodi are now where God decreed they must be. Together, perhaps? Unlike Dante’s Paolo and Francesca, another tragic pair of lovers, their love was not particularly sinful and there is no reason why should not be united in the next life as they were in this. Only God knows.
And Phoney Tony? May God forgive him.Revd Frank Julian Gelli