INDEX Saturday April 10, 2021
Phil the Greek, the man who tilted at windmills
The BBC has done more to hasten the end of the monarchy by shutting down stations and giving us wall to wall hagiography about the Duke of Edinburgh, than anything since Cromwell. It's almost as if we were naughty children if we wanted to learn about anything else.

Of course, it is true that there has been a wave of public emotion about the death of this very old man, not because we felt anything about him, thanks to the Palace machine we knew little of him, but because we can all spot the end of an era when we see one. It won't be long before we have a different head on our coins. We can all see this as a signpost of our own mortality.

Despite the absurdity of the institution, the Royal Family has been intimately connected with the telecommunications revolution, with most like me watching their first tv on a neighbour's set, when the BBC showed the coronation. Later the Royal Weddings became some of the greatest tv spectacles.

I met him at a coal trade event he was attending, probably through his freemasonry connection. Phil the Greek, as he was known by Private Eye, was probably the UK's premier freemason, at a time when it really was a secret organisation. Despite the official pronouncement that he was six foot tall, to me he appeared to be a small, dapper man, who was ill at ease; rather like a senior school pupil sent to be a prefect at junior school.

Of course, he was always a fish out of water: bad tempered, racist and potty mouthed, with an almost unmatched sense of entitlement. Only the Vanuatu, a tribe on a remote Pacific island, could love him. They thought he was a god. He was the only president of the World Wildlife Fund to have a hobby of shooting animals. At the age of 97 he drove straight out into a road in front of an oncoming car causing a crash.

Far from being the Queen's constant support, there were rumours of affairs and it would be quite surprising if he did not have them. But aristocrats are like that and I doubt if the Queen expected anything else.

The real scandal is the tax the Royal Family has been extracting from offshore windmills. Far from being environmentalists they are actually taking money from green energy, thanks to arcane laws that make stretches of the seabed a Royal possession.
BBC2 viewing figures plummet 64%, Daily Mail.
Blanket Coverage Of Prince Philip's Death Proves To Be A Big Turn-Off For British TV Viewers Deadline.
Posted by Jonathan Brind.
Saturday April 10, 2021