Anna Nicholas: A triumph for free speech

Anna Nicholas: A triumph for free speech

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Anna Nicholas: A triumph for free speech

Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admire journalist and presenter, Piers Morgan, for unwavering self-belief, tenacity and fearlessness in the face of criticism. Having stormed out of breakfast TV show, Good morning britain, after an altercation with others on air over Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, he has now been vindicated by industry watchdog, Ofcom.

Morgan, who provocatively refers to the Duchess of Sussex as Princess Pinocchio, accused the former actress of inconsistencies and lies during the now infamous interview. Meghan Markle complained directly to ITV seeking Morgan’s dismissal while also garnering her phalanx of fans to besiege watchdog, Ofcom.

Having toppled the rival BBC breakfast show in the ratings war with his incisive and opinionated – yet compelling – interview style, Morgan gloated when Good Morning Britain’s popularity collapsed shortly after his departure. It was a difficult time for the television station especially with Markle’s intervention in the debacle.

Ofcom has spent some months ruminating over the sequence of events and the complaints laid at Morgan’s door but this week reached a forthright conclusion. The watchdog announced that the presenter had every right to express a personal opinion, primarily that he disbelieved the allegations made against the Royal family by Markle in her Winfrey interview. In a forceful and no-nonsense statement, Ofcom exonerated Morgan, adding that any restriction on freely held, personal views by journalists would represent ‘a chilling restriction on freedom of expression.’

A jubilant and taunting Morgan is now demanding his job back but the jury’s out as to whether he’ll be reinstated by ITV having freely walked off the breakfast show following the brouhaha. Meanwhile, his millions of fans are busy signing petitions demanding his return to the show and the hashtag ‘bringbackmorgan’ is trending on Twitter.

Though Morgan can be insufferably obnoxious, he was perfectly entitled to his opinions and should never have been forced into a corner by ITV. He does have a rather unnatural obsession with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but they have hardly done themselves any favors with their kiss and tell interviews and books and seeming obsession with building a pile of bucks in California.

Ofcom has drawn a line in the sand and by backing Morgan has cast a home goal for freedom of speech, emancipation of the press and sanity. We cannot live in a world where a celebrity can hold members of the press to ransom, threatening them and taking away their jobs purely because they express opposing opinions. Increasingly, the media is being gagged by a totalitarian government in the UK. I applaud Ofcom for standing its ground on this important issue.

One in a million
It was sad to learn of the death of Margaret Loughrey, winner of a Euromillions fortune some years previously. With a windfall of £ 27 million, the Belfast woman swapped a life on meager benefits for one of potential luxury. However, the grounded and thoughtful figure gradually found her new found wealth to be a terrible yoke round her neck, describing it as a living hell.

Although, Loughrey bought a pub and a few commercial properties, she ended her days at just 56 years old in a modest bungalow. The circumstances of her sudden death have not as yet been disclosed but the media offered a gloomy picture of a sensitive woman preyed upon by thieves and conmen. She generously gave away a great deal of her funds to charitable causes and was known in the town for her kindness towards those in need but she suffered mental health issues and feelings of isolation.

Though we might imagine that receiving a huge chunk of dosh would offer the opportunity for a carefree existence, we’d be naïve and wrong. The old adage of money not buying happiness is often borne out by the sheer number of previous millionaire winners whose lives ended in misery and destitution. The pressures of unexpected wealth must be huge and bewildering for many. Sometimes, as my grandmother would say, it’s better to earn money by the sweat of your own brow.

Cat stress
According to numerous UK vets, the various lockdowns that forced humans to stay at home all day, had a devastatingly bad effect on cats’ general welfare. Once lockdowns ended, most humans didn’t return to work but continued to invade the space of their pets by working from home. Vets now report that cats have ruined routines and are suffering from stress-related conditions such as blocked bladders and nervousness. Apparently, our moggies need space and time alone in a peaceful environment. Don’t we all?

Well I can’t confirm or deny such reports hailing from Blighty but my own spoiled felines appear to have suffered no stress whatsoever during the pandemic. In fact they seem blissfully unaware that there’s ever been any change to their pampered routine. They sleep for large portions of the day, lazily await their breakfast and dinner, potter about outside the house and yawn heavily if they have to take the smallest of steps. Failing that, they demand cuddles and admiration at every opportunity. My cats haven’t got a clue what a crisis might be and have the stress levels of a slumbering sloth.

Anna Nicholas’s seventh Mallorca travel title, Peacocks in Paradise, is now available to purchase at all good UK bookshops & via amazon.

In Majorca it’s available at Universal Bookshop, Alameda shop in Soller and the Atelier in Fornalutx and in Palma bookshops.