Richard Ingrams' Week: Why does the 'Express' print this bunkum?

Related Topics

There is only one baffling mystery about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. Why does the Daily Express, regularly every Monday, print bogus revelations on its front page suggesting her death was the result of a top-level conspiracy involving, among others, MI5 and the royals?

This week under the headline "Diana death: truth at last", the Express revealed that Diana's body had been embalmed "on the orders of panicking British officials" to disguise the fact that she was pregnant.

The week before it was reported, also on the front page, that the alcoholic chauffeur Henri Paul, whose erratic driving caused the fatal crash, "was involved in a complicated assassination plot and had a three-hour meeting with British and French spies on the night of the crash".

I cannot remember an incident of a national newspaper headlining a long series of articles which its reporters and its editor must know to be a load of bunkum. Judging from the dramatic fall in Daily Express sales in recent months, a great many readers must feel the same way.

So, why do they do it? Has the Express's proprietor, Richard Desmond, made some kind of secret arrangement with Mohamed al-Fayed, the person who has most to gain from a conspiracy story being believed? Surely money has not changed hands, when Desmond has more than enough money of his own to be getting on with.

A lesser but equally intriguing mystery is Desmond's recent appointment to the presidency of Norwood, a large charitable concern devoted to the care of children and adults with learning disabilities.

Desmond is a benefactor of Norwood but why would a respectable charity appoint as its president a man who prints obvious lies in his papers and who is well known for having made a huge fortune out of filth?

No wonder men don't want to get married

Men do jobs - women have careers. That is one of the messages you get from all the talk this week following a handful of widely publicised divorce cases.

A wife who decides not to go out to work in order to devote herself to her children is said to be sacrificing her career. The assumption is that she is involved with something much more significant than anything her husband may be up to. He is just doing a job.

The reality, of course, is that there is precious little difference between the work done by men and women. Both parties are trying to keep up with the mortgage payments.

The career/job differentiation is a small indication of the way the argument about divorce is biased in favour of women. Some commentators seem to think that this week's decision by judges has shifted things in that direction. But it has been like that for some time.

The trouble with the law is, as so often, it ignores what is the important issue and the one that causes all the bitterness. As things stand one partner in a marriage can walk away from it - the husband goes off with another woman, the wife goes off because she is bored - but still he or she can turn round and demand an equal share of their combined assets.

That is called no-fault divorce and it explains why a great many men (who tend to have more assets than their wives) are reluctant to commit themselves to marriage.

There will be even more of them after this week's judgment.

* Earlier this year the BBC broadcast the extraordinary story of how a group of children in Rochdale, Lancashire, were taken into care as a result of social services becoming convinced that satanic abuse was rife in the town. There was never the smallest bit of evidence to justify that claim.

Rochdale council, however, made no apology for what had happened and even attacked the BBC for raking over an old story. And it emerged that the two social workers responsible were still working in child care.

Such a response is now sadly typical. Last week two gay men who were allowed to foster vulnerable boys by Wakefield council were given prison sentences for abusing them. And once again there was no suggestion that the council might have been at fault.

Acting, presumably, on the dangerous principle that gay couples should have equal rights to heterosexuals when it came to fostering young boys, they were satisfied that they had done everything by the book.

The council's director for children in need, Kitty Ferns, told the press: "Although correct procedures were carried out at every stage, the service has reviewed its internal procedures to identify what lessons should be learned."

If you wanted an example of smug jargon-spouting officialdom, unwilling to admit to a terrible error and at the same time hoping to con the public into believing that nobody was to blame, you couldn't do much better than that.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own