Sunday, October 24, 2004


The ancient (approaching ninety years old) London Daily Telegraph columnist W.F. (Bill) Deedes was the model for the inexperienced foreign correspondent who was the protagonist of Evelyn Waugh's classic comic novel Scoop, published a lifetime ago in 1937. Deedes still posts a weekly column, and in tomorrow's effort he defends young Prince Harry, who last week hauled off and popped an overly-intrusive photographer at a fashionable nightspot:

As a frequenter of nightclubs in the 1930s, let me take the stand for a moment. When he joins the Army and gets involved in serious business - such as being sent by a Labour prime minister to fight in Iraq - Prince Harry will find the hardest struggle in prolonged conflict is not being brave, but staying awake.

And this, I found, is where we nightclubbers had the edge over fresh-faced young men, not long out of school and fit as fleas, who, after a day and a night without sleep, found it hard to keep their eyes open.

Leaving a nightclub at dawn, taking a quick shower and then getting through a day's work in this office helped me to get fit for war. So lay off Prince Harry.