One of the striking things about the death of the Queen of England was the long queues. The English people are democratic and were able to form, to see her off, an orderly and patient line that in recent days seemed to arouse a certain national pride. It went through her to Beckham, but there were exceptions. A television presenter, Holly Willoughby, was photographed with a colleague inside Westminster with no record of her having saved her turn in the public queue. This became a scandal. She was charged in a letter signed by 30,000 people calling for her immediate expulsion from television; she denies it and, “devastated”, announces legal measures against such a damaging accusation. The thing about respecting her turn seems to be taken seriously there. The event is reminiscent of one of the most English scandals that we have ever heard of. CEM Joad was a philosopher born in the late 19th century who studied at Oxford, developed socialist, pacifist and feminist ideas (replaced after his divorce by the belief in the “inferior mind of women”) and achieved popularity as a thinker and popularizer. He gave up to nine lectures a week and participated in a famous BBC program. But Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad had a weakness and in 1948 he was discovered traveling in a first class train carriage with a third ticket. He was convicted of rail fare evasion, fined two pounds at the time and the matter made front page news. Joad was an authority on public ethics and the scandal cost him his BBC show. Disgust seriously affected his health, a thrombosis reduced him to bed and plunged into a deep crisis he abandoned agnosticism and embraced faith. And all for a train ticket. But it is that Joad had a strange hobby, a morbid inclination consisting of cheating the train service: sneaking in, not paying or changing cars. That oddity, which we could admit as a relief from eccentricity among so much Fabian virtue, was unacceptable for the morals of his country. There is no evidence that anyone asked for his pardon.
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