SO, IN the end, the tabloids got their man. David Mellor had to bow to the forces of justice and righteousness.
We can all send up our hosannahs to the Lord. Justice has been dune.
A minister with an abundance of cheek and hubris whom many of us found hard to like, has been despatched to the back benches. We can sleep more safely in our beds. Well, not exactly, Your Honour.
In fact the whole Mellor saga has an aura of tattiness and bogus rectitude that should make all honest men and women squirm. And it is not just the tabloids that have shown their talent for inspired nastiness.
Even the law, in the shape of George Carman QC, who at one
time toyed with the idea of becoming a priest, was not averse to muddying the waters as his recent defence tactics in the libel trial between Mrs Mona Bauwens and the People newspaper demonstrated.
Perhaps, and this is the most comforting theory of all, all parties to the Mellor dispute deserved each other. There were no shining white knights.
Perhaps Mellor should have insisted on resigning at the outset when his sexual frolics became public knowledge, thanks to certain tabloids. Perhaps, of course, Mellor could not bring himself to stomach the clap trap served up by the newspapers and decided to brazen it out.
One has some sympathy for this view. But even if his sins
are not scarlet his judgement in various matters has hardly been vindicated.
Yet one thought does remain. Was his moral judgement more crass and grievous than the fiscal judgement of Mr Norman Lamont, the Chancellor?
Chancellors most know how many beans there are in a bag and if they miscalculate should resign. Ministers of Fun, such as Mellor, are not expected to be judged harshly.
Mellor quits. Lamont hangs on to his job. As Maggie Thatcher remarked when the Tories cut off her parliamentary legs, It's a funny old world.
THERE is an awful inevitability about misprints. Some words are impervious to correct spelling. Write "beatify" and it will always appear in print as "beautify". A new one however, popped, up in the Catholic Herald last week.
In a book review on John Mortimer's anthology of Villains I used the word "eclectic". This appeared as "electric", giving a slight surrealistic element to my prose. At this point, I assume, my readers switched off. should be the placid cloisters of our public schools. I learn that the headmaster of Marlborough is to pack in his job and that Downside is to reduce the number of its beaks. Even the Daily Telegraph, not the most populist of newspapers, has had an article on its leader page showing the benefits of state education.
I have no strong feelings about the non-Catholic public schools, but certainly do not wish to see them abolished if parents are happy to fork out outlandish sums to have their offspring taught how to hold a knife and fork and not talk like disc jockeys.
They are anachronisms but I have a soft spot for anachronisms. They are also socially divisive, but so are the top granunar schools.
I can defend the Etons, Winchesters and Harroivs but I am less confident in defending the Ampleforths, Downsides and Stonyhursts, excellent as they are. Catholic parents, because of the total Catholic commitment to family life and values, should find boarding schools a second best.
No matter how excellent the education, no matter how tailored to the spiritual and cultural needs of the individual pupil, a child who spends his or her academic life in a boarding school misses the true feel of family life.
By all means let us have Catholic public schools, but let them be day schools. Let them also, in case you take me for a soppy liberal, be single sex.