“It is a rolling catastrophe,” is how Prince Harry is said to describe his relationship with his brother, Prince William, our future king. Alongside this phrase there are many startling allegations apparently emerging from Harry’s book Spare, but those words of his get to the heart of the matter.
The fraternal relationship between Harry and William has broken down in the most hurtful and public way possible. And there is more to come, with the 400-page plus Spare released next week and further TV interviews in the following days. It is almost certain there will be more hurt and pain on all sides in an affair that is swiftly becoming tawdry, shocking and upsetting in equal measures.
Seen from afar, Harry’s accusations are a terrible look for Britain’s monarchy. But at its heart this is a family story. In Spare, Harry is said to write that the King begged his sons not to make his “final years a misery”. As more revelations come, any reconciliation between the brothers will no doubt look an increasingly remote possibility. Yet the deeper the hurt goes, paradoxically, the more urgent and necessary an end to hostilities becomes. To make a start on that painful but important road, Harry’s public accusations will at some stage have to stop.
It is abundantly clear that such a reconciliation would be in the best interests of both the family and the monarchy. Families can be impossibly difficult, and few face the intensifying pressures of the public gaze as the Windsors do. But for their future happiness and for the good of the monarchy as an institution, everyone involved must hold on to a hope for peace — however remote and unlikely that may look in the eye of this latest storm.
Clever Ulez hopes
Many of us are bitterly familiar with the concept of planned obsolescence — when gadgets or devices have a date after which they will effectively cease to function, meaning the owner must buy another. It is a rare and happy thing, though, to see such a concept appear in transport policy.
For that is the aim — and prediction — of the latest expansion to the Ultra Low Emission Zone. On August 29 this year it will expand from within the North and South Circulars to all of Greater London. TfL estimates that £200 million will be brought in over the first 12 months. But by 2027 it is hoped that as drivers begin to comply, the Ulez will bring in practically nothing. So within just a few short years, as increasing numbers of cars and drivers comply, the revenue will dwindle to a statistically insignificant figure.
London has been beset by the evil of toxic air for too long. It is right that those who live in Greater London should benefit from policies that other Londoners have already enjoyed. If this scheme succeeds — or rather, ‘fails’, as planned — that would be a victory indeed for the capital.
To run a pub takes courage. But don’t think publicans resort to the liquid kind — just read our report today and realise they are clear-eyed and resilient. London needs its pubs and it is reassuring, as up to six a week close nationwide, to know so many are in such good hands. Let us raise a glass to them. Or two. This January, both they and we need it.