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Leaky Privies Serve No-one

I think it's a first for Brenda; the Palace has complained about press inaccuracies and leaks before, but not on the Queen's personal account, unless I have missed something. After the Sun newspaper claimed that the Queen backs Brexit, the Palace contacted the chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation to complain on the basis of Clause 1 of the IPSO  Editor's Code:

1.   Accuracy

i)  The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or  images, including headlines not supported by the text.

ii)  A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.

iii)   A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.

iv)  The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

v)    A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.

Regarding the Sun's sources, according to the court circular, the only occasion which seems to fit  is one in which HM had lunch with four members of the privy council, Tom McNally, Nick Clegg, Cheryl Gillan and Michael Gove.Of those 4, McNally and Clegg support staying in the EU, which leaves us Gillan and Gove, both Brexit fans. Gillan has wisely ducked out of the way, saying she has nothing to state regarding privy council matters. Such confidentiality is accepted as appropriate regarding most conversations with the Queen, but it is an absolute demand of privy council matters, and an oath is sworn by all members to that effect. If the claims are true, someone has broken their oath. If the claims are false, someone has lied  regarding the Queen's words. One way or another, it is a significant breach of protocol and betrayal of good faith.

Gove recently attended Murdoch's wedding, where Tony Gallagher (not my dad) editor of the Sun was also in attendance. And Gove is a blathering silly little man. There ends my detective prowess. I suspect  Gove because it's exactly his brand of significance-seeking stupidity. It's the sort of thing he would do. And now of course, he's running around in a panic, because that's also the sort of thing he does.

He may have dropped a sweetie not realising how quickly possible leaks would be identified. Gove is also very capable of translating what he hears into what he wants to hear.  Did the Queen say what they claim? It's not like Brenda to be  stupid, then again her ever so deferential government can't stop breaking her confidences ('She purred like a kitten,' Cameron accidentally mentioned on the results of the Scottish referendum).  The Sun's got no rep for accuracy, and will have pumped up whatever was assumed by the leak, but I see no way the Palace can enforce retraction.

How strange people are! They'll bow and scrape and defer pointlessly to someone, but won't pay her the everyday courtesy of discretion and honesty. I couldn't care less about the Queen, and I certainly don't think things in off-the-record conversations should always be hidden, but this isn't Snowden or Assange. This is Brenda, and her opinion must remain officially neutral and therefore irrelevent. That's her job, part of what she is for, if she has any real function at all.

Working out what Rupert Murdoch is for remains a mystery, though his motives are clear enough. Andrew Shilton in the London Evening Standard reported the following:

'I once asked Rupert Murdoch why he was so opposed to the European Union. 'That’s easy,' he replied. 'When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.'

He's known to hate the EU and the aristos.  Rumour has it a distinct lack of knighthood upset him long ago...but let's face it, you couldn't have his rotting-meat face in the palace. Prince Philip might try to eat him.



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