I am not a monarchist. I have no personal feelings for or against any member of the royal family because I don’t know them personally, but I am just plain embarrassed at the idea of an apparently adult democracy being ‘ruled’ over by an accident of genetics. My feelings of indifference extend to all those posh girls and boys who marry into the royal family, so I shouldn’t give a toss about the latest Kate Middleton hooha. But really! Any pregnant woman is entitled to have her feelings, her nausea and her medical details kept confidential, so the broadcast hoax call was grubby in the extreme. But so is the sight of wrinkly male royal correspondents standing outside palaces or hospitals solemnly informing the world of the latest non-news on the woman’s condition. If you like an hereditary monarchy, the confirmed conception of a new sprog was news, but now drop it, give the pregnant woman her privacy, and wait for the next piece of news, which will be the birth. Shoo. Out of the room now.
Meanwhile, the Australian DJs and their station are claiming that “The tragic outcome could not have been predicted.” Why not? What exactly did they expect would happen if they made a public fool of a nurse and tricked her into breaking the strict professional rules of confidentiality? I could predict that she might lose her job or choose to quit. That she might have her professional reputation ruined. That she might feel mortified, be in tears, make herself ill, even attempt suicide. All these were possible, if not inevitable, consequences of the prank. The ability to predict the possible consequences of our actions is one of the things, like opposable thumbs, that differentiate us from animals. Do Australian DJs have opposable thumbs?