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Sunday 7 October 2007

What Di farce comes down to is pure spite

I am absolutely not going to write about grainy photographs of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed in a lift, or speculate about what the butler saw.

Apart from a few mad people -- who, like Mohamed Fayed (the 'Al' is bogus), think the driver of the doomed car, Henri Paul, was a suicide chauffeur employed by MI6 on the orders of Prince Philip -- readers of the Sunday Independent know perfectly well that Diana was just having a fling with Dodi.

They know that she wasn't pregnant, that she had no intention of marrying him, that, anyway, the Royal Family were beyond caring if she married Robert Mugabe, that she had recently refused to have royal protection staff. They know that she was guarded by Fayed employees who were overruled by Dodi and his dad when they objected to the plan to have Paul drive them, that Diana didn't wear a seatbelt and so died when Paul drove too fast into a tunnel and crashed.

For now, I'd like to concentrate on little Fayed, the nasty, cunning, foul-mouthed, paranoid and character-assassinating boss of Harrods.

"So, you see what happens when the ruling class of Britain, the so-called 'Establishment', gangs up against you," says Fayed on his website. "They get all the puppy dogs in the press to snarl and bark. But they are too afraid to bite."

Indeed they are. The British Establishment should feel ashamed of itself for failing many years ago to bite Fayed viciously and run him out of the country.

Seventeen years ago, in its 700-page investigation into Fayed's 1985 acquisition of Harrods, Britain's greatest store, the Department of Trade & Industry concluded that he and his brother had "dishonestly misrepresented their origins, their wealth, their business interests and their resources"; and that "the lies of Mohamed Fayed and his success in 'gagging' the Press" created ". . . a new fact: that lies were the truth and that the truth was a lie."

Exhausted from years of Fayed's litigation, the government let the report lie and took no action other than to keep refusing him citizenship. Desperate both to join and destroy the Establishment, and spotting Princess Diana's vulnerability, he gave his playboy son unlimited funds to pursue and marry her.

Fayed has frustrated due process for 10 years. In the hope of drawing a line under events and killing off the conspiracy theories, Lord Stevens, an ex-Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was allowed spend close to £4 million of taxpayers' money and three years of his time to produce an 832-page report which concluded that the French authorities had been correct when they declared the deaths were a "tragic accident".

Fayed immediately cried foul: he ensured that rather than having a small-scale, low- key, private inquest, we have ended up with an expensive public spectacle which may last six months: the present estimate is that it will cost more than £10m.

The £170m spent on the Bloody Sunday inquiry (in which Michael Mansfield, Fayed's lawyer at the Diana inquest, also appeared) will be wasted, since there are many who will call it a whitewash unless it concludes that Prime Minister Ted Heath and the entire cabinet instructed the paratroopers to murder defenceless Catholics just for the hell of it.

It is just the same with Fayed and his merry band.

I am indebted to a blogger on the Guardian website for summing up better than I can what it would take to assuage Fayed and his supportive conspiracy-theorists.

(You need to know that a common nickname for the Duke of Edinburgh among left-wing anti-monarch- ists who normally dep- lore racial slurs is 'Phil the Greek'.)

"I have in my possession," reads the blog, "a tape that might shed some light on this matter. The following is a transcript:

QE II: A'rite, lissen up, youze guys. Dis Di broad is makin' a cluck outta Chuck.

Phil The Greek: He wuz doin' pretty good on his own.

QE II: Zip it, Socrates. We godda take care addiss.

Sir John FitzNicely Thanx: Might I suggest that we terminate with extreme prejudice, Your Majesty?

QE II: You mean a hit? Geez, I dunno . . .

Phil The Greek: Eyyyy . . . whaddaya gonna do? Da broad's axin fer it scrooin' rown wid dis Al guy. I mean, da gyze an Ayrab, fercrisesake.

QE II: OK. We hit Di, we hit Al, an' den we clam up.

Omnes: Atta girl . . . a waydago . . . dat's tellin' 'em, kiddo . . . you got dat rite, Liz . . .

This matter is now closed."

Thank you, misharialadwani, whoever you are. Have you thought of applying to be Fayed's speechwriter?

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards