Woo! Shock horror. It’s the latest scandal to rock the royals, and it’s turning into a humongous whodunnit.
Someone is alleged to have said something about the possible physical appearance of a still unborn princeling — the son of Harry and Meghan — and the world is being whipped into an ecstasy of confected indignation.
In Holland, the name of the so-called culprit has appeared, accidentally-on-purpose, in the Dutch-language version of a new book of royal tripe-mongering, and a terrific battle has been joined in the UK media.
Do we have the right to name the royal ‘racist’? Can the British public be told the truth about the blue-blooded blunderer who blurted something about royal baby Archie?
Can you handle it?
You know what — I neither know nor care. I don’t give a monkey’s who said something about the possible genetic inheritance of the impending arrival of a child standing umpteenth in line to the throne, because I don’t think any such speculation is remotely racist.
Someone is alleged to have said something about the possible physical appearance of a then-unborn princeling — Archie, the son of Harry and Meghan, writes BORIS JOHNSON
Why the epic hoo-ha? Well, I suppose that it is partly because it is intended to be a hoo-ha, not least by the tripe-mongering author Omid Scobie (pictured)
To ask such questions, in anticipation of a happy event, is simple human nature.
It is one of the greatest joys and mysteries of life that we have no real idea, in utero, what our children will look like.
We can see their shapes in the amazing antenatal scans, and we can hear the heartbeats; but for all the heart-stopping detail of the images, the fingers, the toes, the thumb in the mouth, they are still tantalising. We can’t be sure what traits, if any, the infants will visibly inherit.
Every family is the same. As soon as a baby is born, and with every week that passes, we pore over them — searching pathetically for signs of family continuity. Whose nose is this? Whose eyes? And what is the origin of this mysterious aubergine-coloured hair?
My own children have all sorts of exciting antecedents — Indians, Russians, Turks, you name it.
I am myself so fair that I have been accused (falsely, I assure you) of suffering from a kind of albinism. So of course I have mused in the past — probably aloud — about which set of chromosomes was going to get the upper hand this time, or which gene was going to be dominant and which recessive.
That, I expect, was exactly the kind of ruminative debate that the so-called royal racist was having. It was an entirely innocent and utterly normal antepartum meditation of a kind that takes place whenever a family is expecting a baby.
So why the epic hoo-ha? Well, I suppose that it is partly because it is intended to be a hoo-ha, not least by the tripe-mongering author.
Despite Harry and Meghan’s claims on Oprah, there has been no transgression, no sin against 21st-century values, no blurting of some unsavoury remark. To say otherwise — and to concede to the hysterics — is to make yet another surrender to wokery and cancel culture
We all love a hoo-ha, especially if it involves the royals.
Piers Morgan gets to fulminate splendidly on his TV show. Government ministers have the relief of going on the media and talking gravely about something other than politics.
In a way, it is all innocent; and yet I can’t help thinking that there is still something pernicious about the whole business.
The ‘royal racists’ were named in the Dutch translation of Omid Scobie’s Endgame
What is this accusation of ‘racism’? It is yet another example of the process by which ordinary human patterns of thought and behaviour are denounced, demonised and deleted from the canon of acceptability. The Royal Family is said to be contemplating some kind of legal action, to stop the name or names of the alleged culprit or culprits from being published.
Any such legal action strikes me as a mistake. The effort to suppress the identity would seem to concede that there has indeed been some form of transgression, that someone really has said something for which public censure is due — and that, as far as I can see, is total rubbish.
There has been no transgression, no sin against 21st-century values, no blurting of some unsavoury remark.
To say otherwise — and to concede to the hysterics — is to make yet another surrender to wokery and cancel culture.
People have had enough of all this. Ask yourself why the viewing public has deserted BBC Newsnight, that once great haunt of Jeremy Paxman — whose own political opinions, no matter how blistering his questions, were always veiled in obscurity.
Is it perhaps because audiences are fed up with the endless de haut en bas* sneering at the majority of the UK population who voted for Brexit?
Or ask yourself why such a huge chunk of the electorate of the United States seems to be so determined — on the present evidence — to choose Donald Trump to serve another term as president.
It seems astonishing that they are willing to overlook his behaviour after the last election, and his refusal to respect the outcome of the democratic process; and yet he seems, for now, well ahead in the race for the Republican nomination.
The fact is that many millions of Americans rate him as a man who says what he thinks, even if it is pretty unpasteurised, and they increasingly dislike the way the Left-liberal establishment is trying to cancel him, to use the law to crush him and to stop him from seeking their votes again.
To that extent wokery is proving self-defeating. But it is worse than that.
I have spent a lot of time in the past 18 months campaigning for the people of Ukraine in their heroic struggle for freedom.
Ask yourself why the viewing public has deserted BBC Newsnight, that once great haunt of Jeremy Paxman. Or ask yourself why such a huge chunk of the US electorate seems to be so determined to choose Donald Trump to serve another term as president
I have been shocked as I go around the world to find so many places where they are willing to give Putin the benefit of the doubt; and one reason for that, I think, is that he is able to satirise some aspects of our values.
He can point to us in the liberal Western democracies and say: look at that lot, they don’t even have the guts to say what a woman is.
Or he can say: look at Western liberal education, they let pre-pubescent children decide what sex they want to be.
In other words, he is presenting himself as the custodian of ordinary common sense against wacky Western wokery — and, fairly or not, it is working.
In Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and South Asia, they are reading about the debates in the UK, and the cancelling of people like J.K. Rowling, and they are thinking, hmm . . . maybe Putin has a point.
That is a disaster. We are sticking up for Ukraine because we believe in freedom and democracy and human rights, and because we want to help the Ukrainians defeat an evil and criminal invasion. On all those points we can win the argument.
But when it comes to wokery, and cancel culture, and forbidding people from saying things that have always seemed perfectly natural — there we lose our audience. Wokery is costing the West, and we need to wake up to it.
Frankly I neither know nor care which royal said something about Archie, but I am certain that he or she was not remotely racist. It’s time to stop all this nonsense, and re-draw the distinction between the ugliness of racism and prejudice — against which we have abundant statutes — and ordinary, innocent patterns of human thought and behaviour.
It’s time to wake the woke from their trance, and cancel the cancel culture; because it’s starting to make a mockery of the liberal values that really matter.
*De haut en bas: In a condescending or imperious manner