Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes | 16 November 2017

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: Paul Dacre, tax avoidance and the threat posed by Paddington Bear

Although we all see rather too much of the present Mr Speaker, it was a good innovation that he and Lord Fowler, the Speaker of the House of Lords, laid wreaths at the Cenotaph on Sunday. It seems odd this never happened before: a parliamentary tribute is fitting. Since we shall soon, God willing, recover our parliamentary sovereignty, it is right to start paying more attention to the sovereign institution. I was amazed, listening to the PM programme on Tuesday, that the BBC led with an unadorned report of the latest Commons debate on Brexit. It was such a broadcasting novelty. For years, the media have given the most perfunctory attention to what the people we elect actually say in the chamber to which we elect them. Instead, we constantly have to listen to Norman Smith (or whoever) over-analysing what they won’t let us see or hear. It will be fun to take back control from the people who interpose themselves between us and our elected representatives.

Radio 4, as usual, marked the Prince of Wales’s (69th) birthday on Tuesday with the National Anthem. Quite right too; but why still no official recognition for HRH’s exact twin, Paul Dacre? Paul has now reigned at the Daily Mail for 25 years, whereas Prince Charles has yet to take up his full role. True, the grateful tenants of ‘Dacre’s acres’ in Scotland and Sussex are lighting bonfires and waving their pitchforks, but the celebrations should be national. Paul’s Silver Jubilee deserves street parties. Disloyal elements in the court of Associated Newspapers sometimes whisper that their king should abdicate. Surely they know that it is unconstitutional to suggest such a thing, and certainly unpatriotic. With Brexit not yet accomplished, the last thing we need is a succession struggle.

In the argument about tax avoidance, people feel very strongly, yet it is hard to define wrong behaviour.

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