17 September 2012

The Cambridge Crisis

Try Googling the words 'topless' and 'sunbathing' and you get something in the order of 30,000,000 hits. If you search Google's images with the same words you get almost 40,000,000 hits. From this most basic bit of research you can establish that there are, in the public domain, a lot of references to, and images of, people, the majority being women, involved in topless sunbathing. Although there is no research to support this proposition, a percentage of those individuals, mostly ordinary and anonymous people, must have been recorded or photographed without their permission.

So what is so different about Kate Middleton and why should photographs of her, sunbathing topless, be of such national significance that the 'story' would push the Hillsborough Report onto the back pages? If anyone can answer that question, I'd very much like to hear from them.

'The Sun' has been publishing photographs of young women without their tops since 1970 and 'The Sun', along with most of the UK's tabloid press, must therefore shoulder much of the responsibility for creating an environment where photos of female celebrities in various stages of undress are seen as being of worth. And there is no doubt that Kate Middleton is a celebrity. Had she left St Andrew's University without William's hand on her shoulder, these photographs would join the 40,000,000 other similar photographs out there on the web which exploit the subject but, in the main, attract no comment.

But Kate Middleton left St Andrew's University and married William, guaranteeing her 'celebrity' status so maybe someone should be asking if it was wise for her to sunbathe topless in the first place. Rather than throwing their hands up in horror, maybe the Palace should be firing the advisor who stood by and allowed Kate to take her top off. More importantly, maybe the Palace should be firing the advisor who allowed William's bald patch to feature so prominently. Either way, this was a royal own goal and I'd like to get back to the serious business of establishing who approved the cover-up of the Hillsborough tragedy. Set against that, topless photos of some celebrity are insignificant.