Tanya Gold's take on the royal family's ability to project an impression of thrift while spending vast sums of public money is, in my humble republican opinion, the most entertaining published response to the appeal court's ruling that Prince Charles's correspondence with Tony Blair's cabinet should be published. The Guardian's leader on the topic of the so-called 'black spider' memos is also a stimulating read. I suspect the attorney general has a real fight on his hands. His argument appears to be that we must not know what Prince Charles's most passionate political opinions are because he is not supposed to have political opinions, and that his correspondence must therefore be suppressed because it might compromise the public's impression of his political neutrality. Convoluted or simply deluded? You choose.
A long tradition exists of significantÂ public figures usingÂ columns in national newspapers to express outrage about public policy and, they hope, to provoke a debate that might change it. Perhaps the greatest example in European history is Emile Zola, the French novelist's, 4,000 word column publishedÂ in L'Aurore in January 1898 under the headline J'Accuse. It accused the French state of a grave miscarriage of justice in the conviction and imprisonment for treason of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery officer in the French Army.Â Sir Ken MacDonald's evisceration of the government'sÂ policy on criminal justice, published this morning in The Times under the headline "Give us laws that the City will respect and fear,"Â may not be remembered a century from now. But it deserves to be read byÂ all who care about justice andÂ to have a similar impact on informed opinion. Â Go on. Read it.