27 Aug 2012

Guest Post: What happens in Vegas...

Guest post by my colleague Gordon Eldrett.

Not since Frankie Boyle insulted Jordan’s son has a Ginger Brit caused such uproar and righteous indignation in the press as Prince Harry did this week with his drunken cavorting. 

For those of you that have been on holiday or live in a hole in the ground the crux of the situation is that Prince Harry went to Las Vegas, got horribly drunk and ended up having photos taken of himself naked with only his hand obscuring the royal sceptre and orbs from all and sundry. And that’s where it ended, or should have done, except someone at St James Palace thought it would be a good idea to warn the British Press off of printing the pictures.

Normally, asking the British press to do anything (print stories that matter, stop hacking peoples phones, stop buying pictures of female celebrities trying to get out of cars) is like a red rag to a bull but cowed by the recent Levenson enquiry they all decided not to publish. Except, of course, that the glory of our modern technological age means that everybody had already seen the pictures anyway as they were published by newspapers and websites in every other country the world over.

Now we were faced with two stories running concurrently as the whole issue of freedom of the press loomed large thereby ensuring that a story that would have slipped from the public psyche in approximately 24hrs has been running all week and looks like it will go a while longer.

Is it news that an over privileged 27 year old (third in line to the throne or not) has a propensity to act like a drunken idiot in Las Vegas? Of course it isn’t! Everybody acts like a drunken idiot in Las Vegas, that’s what it’s there for. Should the papers have published the pictures in the first place? Of course they should it’s madness on the part of St James’s Palace to think they could bury it under the carpet in this way. History has repeatedly shown us that the fastest way to get people interested in something is to ban it (How do you think Jasper Carrot got a number one single?). 

Last but not least, it has given The Sun the opportunity not only to publish the pictures but to act as though they are somehow a paragon of virtue and the last bastion of free speech which takes more than a stretch of the imagination.