Speaking of the reverse ferret, there are few things in life more entertaining than the sight of the British press scurrying off to all points of the compass. Everyone knows that someone must be heading in the right direction, but no-one can be quite sure who that someone might be.
A recent example of this splendid phenomenon was Prince William's break-up with his long-term girlfirned (and presumptive wife - hence the need for much and sudden reversing of ferrets) Kate Middleton. The New Statesman's Brian Catchcart takes up the story:
Prince Philip told William to dump Kate, according to the News of the World. No, it was Charles who gave the order, said the Sunday Telegraph. Nonsense, the Daily Mirror declared, Wills has a mind of his own. Or maybe, as the Sun had it, it was an amicable parting and he didn't dump her at all.
The crunch for the couple came "last week" (Sunday Telegraph), "last weekend" (Mail on Sunday) or "ten days ago" (News of the World). He sat her down and told her (Mail on Sunday); he ended it by phone (Daily Mirror). No one else was involved (Sunday Telegraph); the prince is "obsessed" with Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe (Mail on Sunday). As for the Queen, she had feared another Diana saga (News of the World); she loathed Kate's mother (Mail on Sunday); she was "devastated beyond words" (People).
No wonder Cachcart is moved to observe, with appropriate dryness,
It is quite a spectacle, Fleet Street's finest galloping off in all directions at once."