If you ask me, the joke has gone on far too long already. I thought that my letter on Saturday would have put the issue beyond doubt, but it appears that I really do need to stop digging in order to get out of this particular hole.
So, let’s set the record straight. Despite what she wrote last Friday, Deborah Ross did not remonstrate with me, mainly because she is not going to be replaced by Pippa Middleton. Neither is Howard Jacobson. No extensive negotiations took place and no lawyers were involved. And there never was a plan to get the Waitrose Kitchen Magazine and Vanity Fair writer to contribute to this paper – not even on 1 April (there was the biggest clue).
No – the whole elaborate plot was brilliantly dreamt up by Deborah herself. But please don’t despair if you were one of those sucked in by her words (Jill, Hazel, Graham, Florence, John, David, Eileen… I could go on). And to Fred, who proudly proclaimed to have spotted the original red herring, only to be subsequently reeled in by my dubious “climbdown” on Saturday, you are not alone. I’ve spared you surnames (I’m not one for ridicule), but you know who you are. If you recognise your name, please drop me a line so I know you haven’t left us for good!
The best of the responses can be found on the letters page (p14), but those others of you who have written to me, threatening to cancel your subscriptions and return to previous papers, there really is no need. I’m slightly hurt that you thought I would do such a thing! Be honest with me now, did you really think I would replace one of our most celebrated award-winning columnists with the sister of our future monarch’s wife?
But now the cat’s out of the bag, I might as well let you know that I’m planning on getting Banksy to do our cartoon on a Saturday, Paris Hilton to keep watch on Obama, and Katie Price to cover the Middle East. Well, you did ask…