Eastern Eye (UK)
Controversy over Johnson’s peerage offer
A TRAIN journey last Saturday (11) from Paddington to Charlbury gave me the chance to read the Daily Telegraph’s Court Circular, which tells you what Britain’s toffs are doing. But here, too, you can detect how the country is changing.
Weekend’s birthdays, for example, mentioned that Rupert Murdoch, publisher; executive chairman, News Corps US, has turned 92; Lord Lawson of Blaby, former Conservative Cabinet minister, is 91; and Liza Minnelli, actress and singer, is 77.
But one Asian who has joined the ranks of the great and good is Sir Anish Kapoor, artist and sculptor, who has just celebrated his 69th birthday.
What is also revealing is that the Court Circular begins with the announcement: “His Excellency Dr Mohammed Al-Issa (secretary general, Muslim World League,) was received by the King this afternoon.” This is a reflection of King Charles’s abiding interest in world religions, especially Islam.
I did wonder, though, about his move to make his younger brother, Edward, the Earl of Wessex, the new “Duke of Edinburgh”. It is possible he was encouraged by Boris Johnson’s decision to give a peerage to his kid brother, Jo, and apparently also confer a knighthood on his 82-year-old dad, Stanley, for services to the Johnson clan.
There is controversy over Boris’s offer of a peerage to Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of DMG Media, which publishes the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday, the free daily tabloid Metro, the Mailonline website, and other titles. Paul has become an ogre figure for the left, but actually I found him to be an agreeable and intelligent man during my Daily Mail years when he was deputy news editor, news editor, foreign editor and features editor. Another of my former editors, Charles Moore, who edited the Spectator, the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph, has also been given a peerage by Boris. Which reminds me that another friend, the late Bill Deedes, a former Telegraph editor, became Lord Deedes.