PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 May, 1996, 12:00am

As an undemanding diversion, I usually enjoy the weekly 'Devil's advocate' debates between Fionnuala McHugh and David Ibison in the Sunday Morning Post Magazine.

I am aware the protagonists usually adopt a tongue in cheek approach and the column loses nothing by it.

On April 21, however, we were treated by Mr Ibison, to a tirade of personal abuse aimed at Her Majesty the Queen which did nothing except show the author in the most unpleasant light.

Nobody denies his right to state a point of view about the monarchy, but to devote the entire article to assassinate the character of a dignified and dutiful public servant is execrable in the extreme.

Mr Ibison accused the royal family of abusing the press and that it (the royal family) will now suffer for its manipulation. Even if this was the case (no proof or cases stated), it says little for the intelligence or integrity of a profession which allowed itself to be led thus.

Furthermore, it has always seemed rather contradictory to me that many newspapers loudly decry the public's lack of faith in their leaders, when those same publications seem to pursue an inordinate amount of resources in attempting to destroy them whenever possible.

I don't suppose this could possibly be an example of appealing to the baser nature of elements of the public, could it? Surely not.

In closing, might I suggest there are many highly unpleasant despots, the world over, elected and non-elected who would be far more productive and worthwhile targets than a woman who has given a great deal to her duties and her people for more than 40 years.