Read more : Read more : Ryan Shorthouse: April 2008

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Al Fayed must leave the stage

The whole escapade will cost the taxpayer nearly £10 million. Especially in a time where people are worrying about their finances, taxpayers should be angry with Mohamed Al Fayed for staging this Inquiry into Diana’s death. A bit of a light entertainment, yes. Even his spokeswoman couldn't keep a straight face during Newsnight last night. But this pantomime is expensive.

Al Fayed lost his son. And it must be terrible. But the fanciful story he has made up in his head- the absurd idea that MI6, after a nod of the head from Prince Philip, assassinated Diana in a Fiat Uno- is hurting people. Hurting family and friends close to Diana. And hurting the taxpayer.

It often crosses my mind if Al Fayed has lost sense of his humanness. Striking lucky with enormous wealth and fame, does he think it impossible that death from a random car accident, which families in this country face every day, could ever happen to his family?

The Inquiry will bring about two changes, albeit to Al Fayed's disliking. In 2007, 46% of people believed Diana's death was suspicious. The triviality of Al Fayed's story, and the verdict of the jury, will dramatically reduce this suspicion.

Second, public opinion of the Royal Family will go up. They let Al Fayed have his Inquiry. They let him have his say. When Al Fayed hurled abuse, they remained silent, gracious, tolerating the rudeness. Only last year, less than half of all people respected the Royal Family. No doubt the Royal Family is now looking forward to a period of popularity.

Diana’s and Dodi's death in 1997 was caused by a drunk driver and a herd of paparazzi. Al Fayed must accept the decision of the jury, and leave the spotlight quietly. Suspicions will be quelled, so the departure of Al Fayed may well be the critical move that finally allows the Diana story to rest.