If Harry and Meghan want to be the new Bill and Melinda Gates they should stop empty gestures
“INEQUALITY is not unfortunate like a car accident, it has been manufactured.”
Says Prince Harry, who has led a life of hereditary privilege since birth and was speaking from a loaned, multi-million dollar mansion in a city where money and fame rule supreme.
Oh, and by the way, the security cost of his decision to up sticks and move thousands of miles away is being funded by his father, whose wealth mostly stems from the Duchy of Cornwall — formed in 1337 by Edward III as a form of land grab to financially sustain his son.
If that isn’t manufactured inequality, then I don’t know what is.
Harry was speaking specifically about systemic racism, but inequality comes in all forms and, at a time when hard-working people all over the world are worrying about job losses and how to pay their next bill, being lectured — yet again — by a jobless trustafarian with the gifted title of “Duke” on his business cards rather sticks in one’s craw.
He means well, of course. And no one is saying that the wealthy and privileged shouldn’t try to improve the world.
But show, don’t tell.
In the same interview, Harry praises the younger generation, “for acting, rather than just saying”, but has himself fallen in to the trap of constantly lecturing the masses on how they should be behaving while sometimes doing the exact opposite himself.
Exhibit A, M’Lud: Banging on about doing our bit for climate change then hopping on a private jet for, er, a well-deserved break.
Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates get it right with their charitable foundation that’s “guided by the belief that every life has equal value”.
A similar message to Harry, yet so much more powerful coming from a couple who, since they first read in 1997 about children in India drinking dirty water, have not only given billions to causes aimed at alleviating poor health, poverty and hunger but, without fanfare, have quietly given their time and energy behind the scenes too.
They have earned the right to impart what they’ve learned to the rest of us, but even then, they relay information to educate, rather than hector.
Sometimes it feels as though Harry and Meghan are trying to fast-track themselves to the expert status of Bill and Melinda, or Barack and Michelle Obama, via virtue-signalling their intentions, rather than getting a message across through their actions and achievements.
And as for the pair of them reportedly calling “a number of CEOs” to urge them to “put principles over profit”, the thought of a jobless prince and his actress wife preaching to the business world where CSR (corporate social responsibility) has been a thing for well over a decade is just plain embarrassing.
So, Harry and Meghan, no more empty grandstanding please.
Time to get down on the track and get sweaty with effort that will speak far louder than words.
Twits are fight Ant can't win
He has scaled Everest blindfolded, traversed angry oceans wearing only armbands and endured four weeks of brutal, sleep-deprivation torture while having the Kardashians played through his ears.
Or something like that.
But whatever tough circumstance former SAS hardman Ant Middleton has endured in his past couldn’t prepare him for what happens when the keyboard warriors of social media launch a full-frontal assault.
Ant, 39, who fronts Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, has been forced to resign as the Royal Navy’s Chief Cadet after posting an ill-advised tweet that seemed to compare Black Lives Matters protesters to the Far Right, Islamophobic English Defence League.
He wrote: “The extreme Left against the extreme Right… BLM and EDL are not welcome on our streets, absolute scum. What a great example you are to your future generation. Bravo.”
He later deleted the tweet and issued an apology, clarifying that he was referring to the “violent protesters” and not all BLM members, but the backlash was already in full flow and remained largely undiminished by his explanation.
So, on top of how to dig himself out of an avalanche or navigate the disorientating red-hot terrain of a desert, Ant has now learned another valuable lesson – that there’s no room for nuance on Twitter.
You can’t just suppose that people will give you the benefit of the doubt and under- stand what you really meant to say. You have to spell out every thought process in painfully dreary detail and try to second guess any potential pitfall in case someone feels offended.
Meaning that, in a country of supposed free speech, you have to incorporate everyone’s point of view or face being “cancelled” by an army of deadbeats who live in their mother’s spare bedroom.
The country where robust debate was once its lifeblood is fast being bludgeoned to the level of the Ronan Keating lyric: “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”
Hack as old as sphinx
Cleaning hacks seems to be enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
Because let’s face it, none of it is ground-breakingly original, is it?
The latest “internet sensation” is Tasmanian mum Allana Kirkwood, who told a Facebook cleaning group (wait . . . what?) that she spread a heavy layer of bicarbonate of soda over her filthy cooker hob (made so, presumably, for scientific purposes and not because, like me, she’s a lazy slattern) then covered it overnight with wet tea towels.
The next morning – voila – the dirt miraculously wiped off with no elbow grease needed and her followers were fulsome in their ecstatic praise of this wondrous sight.
The ancient Egyptians used a sodium carbonate called natron as a cleaning agent in 3500 BC and “baking soda”, as we now call it, was first concocted in 1843 and has been used for cakes and caked dirt ever since.
What’s more, Ms Kirkwood now has two extremely filthy tea towels she has to clean as well.
No matter, I hear there is this wonderful new invention called washing powder.
France, give us a hand
Why does someone climb into a perilously makeshift craft and leave a perfectly safe country like France to make the crossing to the UK?
Because they can.
And they know that once they set foot on British shores, they have a strong chance of being allowed to stay despite arriving here illegally.
So until we adopt the same policy as the US and Canada, who send back anyone arriving from a safe country, they will keep on being exploited by criminal gangs and making the dangerous trip.
On the other hand, we could send them back to France immediately with the message that all such missions will end in failure and, eventually, the numbers attempting it will dwindle to virtually nothing and people will realise that the only option is to apply for asylum legally.
And if France helps us to deliver this message by controlling its borders more effectively, it would solve its own problem of the migrant camps where so many unfortunate people are living in dire conditions.
They Scot it wrong
Hundreds of thousands of pupils in England and Wales are about to receive their GCSE and A-level results.
And if Scotland is anything to go by, many of them will be disappointed by lower than expected grades that have been standardised to bring them in line with their schools’ previous results.
For this system doesn’t account for outliers – i.e. those kids who, despite attending a failing school, are self-motivated enough to study hard and do well in their exams.
Why should they be wrongly downgraded by an algorithm? The Class of 2020 already has a cloud over them.
Imposing deflated grades will only make matters worse.
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