Fayed's circus of revenge is obscene

Last updated at 23:51 05 October 2007

Within moments of the inquest into the death of Princess Diana starting, it became clear to me why a swaggering Mohamed Al Fayed had brought this £10million circus to town.

It didn't matter how much pain he had already caused Diana's sons with his reckless conspiracy theories, he was hell-bent on destroying the Royal Family itself.

In his warped view, they represent the British Establishment, the very people who have repeatedly (and for good reason) denied him the passport and respectability he craves.

His campaign is less about justice for Diana or Dodi than about revenge. He is determined to tease out every degrading, intimate detail of Diana's life to humiliate the Royal Family.

And we the British people are left with the £10 million bill for this insanity.

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Mohamed Al Fayed

Remember that the inquest would never have come about if Al Fayed had not used every trick in the legal book, paying millions to obscenely expensive lawyers to mount the case for an inquest.

And to discover what? That the driver, Henri Paul, was drunk, the car was speeding at 65mph and neither Diana nor Dodi was wearing a seat belt.

Al Fayed once promised he would stop spreading his conspiracy theories once he had secured the judgment of 12 ordinary jurors in an open court.

But the inquest had hardly begun before he was challenging the facts that didn't suit his version of events. If the eventual verdict does not go his way, he will never give up and shut up.

No, I suspect the only thing this inquest will achieve is to provide the world with a ghoulish parade of what should have remained private: we have seen Diana's last smile, her last embrace, her final journey.

We have heard details of her contraception, her confusion, her despair.

We have been reminded that this was one of the crazier periods of a remarkable woman's life, dating a cocaine-snorting loser who was deep in thrall to his ruthlessly ambitious daddy.

For me, though, the most compelling piece of evidence so far has been that three bodyguards who were genuinely in a position to know what took place that night - including crash survivor Trevor Rees- Jones - have resigned from Al Fayed's employment rather than agree to support his absurd conspiracy theories.

Just one mystery remains.

Why are we dignifying Al Fayed's claims in a British court of law, when the place they belong is in the gutter?


Moira Stuart

Spangles or Moira - it's no contest

Oh happy days! Spangles Kaplinsky is leaving the BBC to become the face of Channel Five News (they'll have to get the brains from elsewhere).

Now perhaps we can look forward to the return of the polished and comforting Sophie Raworth (elbowed out by Spangles while she was on maternity leave) or the arrival of the charming and talented Kate Silverton.

And with viewing figures for Five News just a tenth of what she got at the BBC, at least Spangles will finally get the audience she deserves.

If the reports are to be believed, Miss Kaplinsky will be paid £1million a year.

Me? I suspect that's just her make-up budget.

Still, it's a testament to the warped priorities of TV today that in the same week that Spangles secured her whopper deal, Britain's most respected female newscaster of them all was finally axed by the BBC.

Goodbye Moira Stuart. God knows, we'll miss you.


Kind of familiar, Gordon

Gordon Brown promised us a "new kind" of politics. If only.

This week, he attempted the sort of cynical stunts that would have made even Tony Blair blush.

So, what was his reward for fiddling the figures about troop withdrawals from Iraq and his convenient photo opportunity at the opening of a new NHS heart unit - which had already been opened two months ago?

Brown's ten-point lead in the polls was decimated.

Cherie must be grinning from ear to ear.


Samantha Cameron

Tory Conference Noticeboard

• Nice one, Sunshine.

Those are three words I thought I'd never write - and mean them. But after this week, I'm happy to agree that David Cameron sparkled at the Tory conference, and proved he has real courage.

More importantly, the Tories showed they had depth, too.

Quiet man Iain Duncan Smith roared with compassion, William Hague annihilated Brown's record in government and George Osborne offered wonderful tax proposals.

Set against Brown's feeble brat pack - the infantile Milibands and aptly-named

Balls - the Tories have got real gravitas on the front bench.

Indeed, the whole party has surged ahead, thanks to a focus on the things that really matter to voters: tax cuts; the family; immigration; crime; and Europe. Just makes you wonder where they'd have got to today if they hadn't spent so long stuck on Dave's icebergs.

• The boys did well. But the real stars of conference were their wives. Samantha Cameron is surely the coolest spouse in modern political history, carrying out her political duties with style, grace and gumption.

Meanwhile, Frances Osborne stayed at home in London with the kids, insisting: "I never go to conference. That's George's job, not mine."

Between them they successfully buried the myth of the token Tory wife.

So what a shame that Theresa May made such a fool of herself.

When the most senior Tory woman relies on her choice of shoes to get attention, it's a desperate state of affairs.

Bad enough that men belittle women in politics; far worse when they trivialise themselves.

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