Tuesday, June 15

Megxit has been good for the royal couple … the other couple, that is | Barbara ellen


WWhen will William and Kate admit that Harry and Meghan’s hoo-ha has been great for them? As dust storms continue to erupt from the Oprah Winfrey interview, presumably the Sussexes are exactly where they want to be, generating great deals (Netflix / Spotify / ‘wellness’) from their £ 11 million property in Montecito, Santa Barbara. However, hasn’t it been pretty good for the Cambridges too? They seem to have transformed from a rather drab, rigid and prematurely middle-aged couple into a true beacon of royal decorum with near-middle-class decency. There is a palpable sense that the media / public, at least the realistic media / public, are behind them like never before, applauding their every move. Sure, it was always that way, but after Oprah, there has been a tangible turbo boost from the Cambridges’ profile. Call it what it is: a throwback.

Sign video from last week celebrating its 10th anniversary. Any other couple forcing others to celebrate their decade-long love would make you demand a bucket to throw up. The sarcastic British temperament being what it is, some might even ask, “What’s wrong with all the PDA? Are they getting divorced?” But this wasn’t a public display of affection, it was marketing and the Cambridges are suddenly getting really good at it. Maybe even better than You know who.

Devoted smiles. Children playing with wellies. Marshmallows roasting on an open fire … In a way, it seemed like a really weird Shirley Hughes children’s story (“Dad is mad today because Uncle Harry has been misbehaving”). In another, an advertisement for John Lewis that sold nothing, although, in reality, the Cambridge were selling a lot.

And why shouldn’t they? This year has been a bleak one. William spoke out against the serious claims of racism in Oprah’s interview, but the Cambrians suffered other indignities in silence (the story of Catherine making Meghan cry over the bridesmaid dresses; the resurrection of “Waity Katie”). Although even on an occasion as bleak as Prince Philip’s funeral, a photo of Catherine peering over her mask sparked some excitement. “our future queen!While a brief chat with Harry sparked a complimentary overload on the Cambridges’ innate refinement.

So yeah, it’s been tough but ultimately, have the Cambridges had a good Megxit? The recurring theme after Oprah has been the cult of the Cambridges (“the future of the monarchy”) even beyond the usual adulation. Its popularity has not only gone nuclear, it has gone binary: choose a side, cheer on your favorite partner like a soccer team. No more complaining from the cheap seats about how Harry would have been a more “fun” king. For their part, the Cambridges appear to be in active collusion, offering themselves as a fragrant homegrown alternative to the Sussexes. Would that video have happened in normal times or could it be counted as a royal finger to Harry and Meghan?

So maybe Megxit did them a favor: it was the thunder that woke them up. Every strong brand needs a rival and the Cambridges seem to have found theirs.

Haven’t you heard, Tony? The nation’s barbers have reopened

Tony blair
We’re done, Tony, maybe a haircut is necessary. Photograph: ITV News

Is there such a thing as a bad hair day on a socio-historical scale? I’m in no position to poke fun at former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s flowing gray mullet as seen on ITV News – I’ve been locked in like Alice Cooper after a budget cleanup. But, my God, what was that? Aging Rocker is a classic look (and Blair had that college stint at Ugly Rumors) but you can’t just rock with lustrous silver braids. You have to strike a pose, give it arrogance. Am I right, Jimmy Page? Lucius Malfoy?

Also, the nod to game of Thrones/The Lord of the rings All is well, but is it wise for Blair to bet on the fantasy genre vote (the little-known “Frodo pound”) at this stage in his post-political career? Or were darker forces at play? As his unnecessarily candid memories reveal, his wife Cherie is a passionate and hot-blooded woman. Did you encourage this hair outrage (“Tony, I need you to be more Fabio”) to dissuade other women?

Verdict: Longer hair makes Blair look like something you might find looking through a haunted mirror on a ghost train. His hair is so bad it could have changed history. Let’s face it, if Blair had had this hair in 1997, he may not have won the general election.

Never forget the innocent mother imprisoned again in Iran

Richard Ratcliffe and his daughter Gabriella
Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian humanitarian worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and his daughter, Gabriella, protest outside the Iranian embassy in London. Photograph: Andrew Boyers / Reuters

When will Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe return home? Having served a five-year sentence for espionage (which he has always denied), the British-Iranian dual nationality has been found guilty of the charge of spreading propaganda (in a 2009 demonstration at the Iranian embassy, ​​for speaking to a Persian journalist from the BBC). She has been sentenced to one year in jail and was reportedly banned from leaving Iran for a year after her release.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been living a nightmare since 2016. Richard Ratcliffe’s wife (who tirelessly campaigns for his release) and Gabriella’s mother (now six), is believed to be, as her Labor MP Tulip Siddiq put it, a political “Currency of change “in Iran’s dispute with the United Kingdom over the latter’s failure to deliver tanks in 1979. In 2017, then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made matters worse by saying he was” simply teaching journalism to the public. people”. There are foreign policy disputes between the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. There are also reports that the nuclear talks due to restart in Vienna caused the Foreign Ministry to resist raising human rights issues, such as Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s account of torture and mental cruelty.

She is appealing, Dominic Raab calling her treatment “inhumane” and Johnson said the government “will redouble its efforts” to secure her release. They need to move on. The way things are going, who can say that two years will be the end?

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has become a powerful symbol in Britain: an innocent mother cruelly separated from her young son. Unfortunately, he also appears to have become a scapegoat in Iran, which seems less and less likely to be released until Iran gets what it wants. Sometimes it feels like Zaghari-Ratcliffe will never get home, but he must. Do not forget it.

Barbara Ellen is a columnist for Observer


www.theguardian.com

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