STEPHEN GLOVER: So whatever Meghan Markle now says must be true (and God help anyone who disagrees!)
There are two sharply divergent views about the Duchess of Sussex. One is held by Piers Morgan, who has just left ITV’s Good Morning Britain breakfast programme in a huff. It is doubtless shared by millions of less voluble Britons.
According to Mr Morgan, Meghan’s contribution to the Oprah Winfrey interview was a ‘diatribe of bilge’. He declared with characteristically colourful hyperbole that he ‘didn’t believe a word she says’ and ‘wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report’.
The opposing view — dominant on Twitter, favoured by the BBC, and supposedly held by most young people — is that Meghan is a victim of racism, and that all her allegations about the Royal Family must be unconditionally accepted.
Some who sign up to this set of beliefs go further. They maintain that white people either have no right to doubt the Duchess’s testimony or, even more tendentiously, that anyone who does so must be racist.
Here are two examples. In The Sun newspaper, a black journalist, Nana Acheampong, wrote: ‘If Meghan is telling you that she suffered racism in the Palace, then she did. Anyone who suggests otherwise is not black.’
Stephen Glover said: ‘There are two sharply divergent views about the Duchess of Sussex. One is held by Piers Morgan, who has just left ITV’s Good Morning Britain breakfast programme in a huff’
Meanwhile, on the Thought For Today slot on Radio Four’s Today programme a young Anglican ordinand, Jayne Manfredi, also nailed her colours to Meghan’s mast. She spoke of the ‘deeper malaise’ evinced by the ‘backlash’ against Meghan, who ‘had the audacity to tell her own truth’.
So there we have it. Many of those who rally to Meghan’s cause do so because she is a youngish woman of mixed race, and therefore anything she says must be believed without qualification.
And those who question any part of her account (which, it must be said, was delivered with extraordinary aplomb) are written off as old, reactionary, mean-spirited and bigoted.
How did it come to this? There have always been hotly contested differences of opinion – between Left and Right, Christians and atheists, pro-abortionists and anti-abortionists, and so on. But people used often to arrive at these opposing views through the exercise of reason.
No longer. Many uncritically believe Meghan’s very serious allegations against the Royal Family because of her background. In their view, it’s not what she says that makes her right. It’s what she is.
I accept, of course, that we all see the world through the prism of our ethnicity, class and age. But if we do no more than that — if we refuse to consider the facts as dispassionately as we are able to — we will end up with a fractious and divided society.
Stephen Glover: According to Mr Morgan, Meghan’s contribution to the Oprah Winfrey interview was a ‘diatribe of bilge’. He declared with characteristically colourful hyperbole that he ‘didn’t believe a word she says’ and ‘wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report’
Despite what Jayne Manfredi says, truth is not something personal to us. It’s not something we can own as individuals. It’s an absolute, always hard to attain and sometimes even to recognise, but nonetheless the lodestar of any civilised community.
Let’s examine what the Duchess said. I think Piers Morgan was wrong to dismiss her entire interview as ‘bilge’, not least because it suggests that her revelations about her suicidal thoughts can be swept aside. He is saying she is either a fantasist or a liar — or both.
That’s rash. What if she is telling the unvarnished truth about this matter? Mr Morgan may have his suspicions but he has no way of knowing. In fact, he partly backtracked, and said later it wasn’t for him ‘to question whether she felt suicidal’.
It is certainly reasonable, though, to ask why she didn’t seek medical help for a serious medical condition. After all, London has more eminent doctors than almost any city in the world. She could have consulted one of them.
What about her imputation of racism on the part of a member of the Royal Family whom she and Harry refused to identify? Only a pathological liar could invent such an allegation, and I don’t believe Meghan is a pathological liar.
On the other hand, it’s possible she exaggerated the offence. There were important differences between her account and Harry’s, which a more forensic interviewer than Oprah Winfrey would have explored.
Meghan spoke of ‘several conversations’ while she was pregnant about ‘how dark [her baby’s] skin might be when he’s born’. By contrast, Harry spoke of one question ‘at the beginning’ about the skin colour of their future child.
A judge interested in the truth would challenge such inconsistencies. The exactness of Meghan’s recollections is also thrown into doubt by her claim that ‘three days before our wedding, we got married’. That would not have been possible under Church of England law. You can’t be married twice to the same person by a priest within three days.
‘I think Piers Morgan was wrong to dismiss her entire interview as ‘bilge’, not least because it suggests that her revelations about her suicidal thoughts can be swept aside. He is saying she is either a fantasist or a liar — or both. That’s rash,’ Stephen Glover said
Moreover, her insistence that their son Archie was deprived of his rightful title of Prince, and so was denied proper security, was mistaken. She should know he had no such right. As for the suggestion that he was denied adequate security, it seems unlikely. A baby does not roam about on his own.
All this is worth repeating because there were oddities and discrepancies in what she said, even if it cannot all be dismissed as ‘bilge’. Incidentally, it was highly irregular for Meghan, still connected to the Royal Family, to complain to ITV’s chief executive about Mr Morgan’s remarks and possibly precipitate his departure.
Naturally I accept that many people of colour have experienced racism. But it doesn’t follow that the Duchess of Sussex — one of the most privileged people on the planet — is necessarily one of them.
The tragedy is that it is becoming almost impossible to criticise her remarks without being wrongly accused of racism. She is supported by a throng of uncritical supporters, many rampant on Twitter, who effectively assert that she must be telling the truth because she is of mixed race.
The BBC largely buys into this nonsense, and discourages open debate. On Tuesday’s Today programme, during the prime-time slot after 8.10am, two university lecturers and a lawyer — all of them strongly of the Left — were gathered together to inveigh against the Royal Family and the Press.
‘Isn’t it possible that Meghan has twisted some facts in a self-serving way? Unfortunately, Winfrey was far too sycophantic to find out. Some interview! I wish the Duchess’s defenders in the media were occasionally put on the spot,’ said Stephen Glover
Yesterday, royal commentator Hugo Vickers was invited on the programme, along with a female pro-Meghan Labour MP. When Mr Vickers pointed out that Meghan had been factually incorrect about Archie’s supposedly denied princely status, and also about provision of security for him, he was cut short by the presenter, Nick Robinson.
Isn’t it possible that Meghan has twisted some facts in a self-serving way? Unfortunately, Winfrey was far too sycophantic to find out. Some interview! I wish the Duchess’s defenders in the media were occasionally put on the spot.
But that would be at variance with the spirit of our age, which holds that for some fortunate individuals truth can be a personal matter. It’s what Donald Trump outrageously believed, and he was rightly hammered for it. Meghan is judged by more lenient standards. Whatever she says must be true.
Long before our national conversation was debased by social media bullies and intolerant Leftist ideologues, George Orwell observed: ‘The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.’
We may never know who said what, and why, about Archie’s skin colour, but we can be practically certain that for many, Meghan’s version of history — ‘her own truth’ — can never be challenged.
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