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Meghan for President!


By Alistair Kellie

There are reports again today that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is considering running for president following an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain with her unofficial biographer, Tom Bower.  She’s reported to have been networking among senior Democrats with a view to building a campaign and fundraising team if President Biden rules out a second term.

However, some people could have been forgiven for assuming that this was an April Fool, even though the story was first reported two weeks ago.  So why is this?

The obvious starting point is the proliferation of the term ‘fake news’ and also of false stories on social media.  Whilst nothing new, former president Donald Trump has been credited with popularising the term by using it to describe any negative press coverage of himself.  Indeed, analysis by Buzzfeed reveals that fake news can reduce the impact of real news by competing with it.  It found that the top fake news stories about the 2016 U.S. presidential election received more engagement on Facebook than top stories from major media outlets.

The second is that Megan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey has now at least one confirmed  untruth…that she and Prince Harry were indeed married in front of a global audience on the Saturday, and not several days earlier as she claimed.  Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury was quoted as saying, “I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false.”  As a result, perhaps this might make some people more inclined to question any stories about her.

Which then takes us to April Fool’s day itself, a day when our antennae are tuned to look out for fake news.  As a result, the authenticity of real stories can sometimes be questioned.

Like many families I wake up on 1 April with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.  There’s a frisson that I’ll open the bathroom door and a water balloon will land on my head or that the kitchen will be covered in ‘dog poo’ (chocolate and digestive biscuits).  This year, we had to contend with switched cereal boxes, taped up remote controls and cling film on the loo seat. 

But what about all the national spoofs? Surely in April 2021 we deserved better than the paltry fayre we were served up…   

The joke’s on Volkswagen after it announced that it will not change its name to "Voltswagen" in the US despite earlier saying it would in a press release and then not denying the statement when it was covered by media around the world.  The name change was in fact an April Fool's joke that was leaked to the media several days early by mistake.  It was initially said to mark VW's shift to electric vehicles and was backed by US boss Scott Keogh.  The carmaker had to issue a formal clarification yesterday to clear up the matter.

There was a decent effort by McCain and Iceland, which announced the frozen food has been given a modern new shape in the form of an upside-down smiley face to reflect the upside-down smiling emoji. 

Wimbledon announced that the Championships will look a little different this year as every 8mm blade of grass on the pristine Centre Court will be meticulously hand-painted purple in celebration of Wimbledon's partnership with Robinsons new blackcurrant squash.

Heinz has unleashed a tomato Smoup: “A tasty blend of the iconic Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup and classic Strawberry and Banana Innocent smoothie.”  You’d be a true fool to be hoodwinked by a recipe that disgusting…but it’s a good name.

…and we can always rely on Ant or Dec to cheer up the nation.  The cheeky chappies from the North East announced that: “…after 30 long years together we’ve decided a change is needed, and so without further ado...we’ll now be officially known as Dec & Ant. It’s only fair on the little guy x."

So, if Megan isn’t running for president, we could be forgiven for thinking it sounded like an April Fool.  Let’s all do better next year!