“Moore seems to think that all these toy-town titles and over-the-top uniforms represent a reality, rather than a rather sweet but obvious illusion”
“I expect Dave and Brenda sit around watching Coronation Street, or sharing a cocktail. But decisions of state are not on the agenda.”
Listening to Republicans arguing with Monarchists prompted by the marriage of Will and Kate this weekend is intensely irritating, given that one side talks balderdash while the other overstates its case willfully and childishly.
Both the standard lefty argument and the forelock-tugging royalists either deliberately or stupidly grossly overstate what the monarch actually does. The left – personified by the whining, chippy Scouse git I just heard on BBC Radio 5 – talks about the snobbery and how it’s outrageous that we are ordered about by toffs who haven’t been elected. The Royalists have a ludicrous vision of what the Queen actually does. Charles Moore, who you might think would know better and with whom I usually agree almost 100 per cent about everything, summed up this loopy royal vision of his ilk.
Moore actually believes the Royals do something other than stand around, smile, cut the tape, say how far have you come, and go home. Moore seems to think that all these toy-town titles and over-the-top uniforms represent a reality, rather than a rather sweet but obvious illusion. Of course, if the Queen’s job took energy and intellect, there’s no way she could carry on doing it effortlessly at the age of 85. Yet Moore says we owe her a huge debt of gratitude for keeping us safe in our beds at night.
“An 85 year old woman is head of our Armed Forces, and it is one of the main things which allow us, in this perilous world, to sleep easily in our beds,” said Moore in his weekend Daily Telegraph column. How demented a thought is that? I have this vision of The Queen patrolling up and down in the Situation Room, placing mock-up models of our soldiers and ships and Harrier Jump Jets at hot-spots around the world, telling the Generals and Admirals and Air Vice Marshalls what to do.
In his column he also thinks that Prince William has power because he is Colonel-In-Chief of something or other. Don’t people like Moore understand that this is all illusory, that these titles are merely honorary, conferring no power or any duties at all. I suppose because the likes of Moore cling to this illusion, they actually believe that every week when the Prime Minister attends Buckingham Palace to discuss matters of state, there is actually a debate between the two about how well, or badly things are going, with suggestions from the Queen about what should happen next? This is all a time-honored, some might say time-warped charade, where we all pretend that the monarch has some power, but in reality there is absolutely none. I expect Dave and Brenda sit around watching Coronation Street, or drinking cocktails. But decisions of state are not on the agenda. There was a great test case of this some years ago when the European Act and later the Maastricht Treaty was forced through Parliament. Here was a clear and rare case when the monarch might legitimately intervene in British politics. After all, this was a serious transfer of power away from Parliament to Europe, which arguably would change the nature of our governance in favour of unelected foreigners. A monarch who had been staunchly above politics for centuries might well have intervened to stop this traitorous act. But action was not forthcoming. This was a once-in-a-generation chance to stand up and fight for her subjects. But action came there none.
Clearly, the implications for the future of the monarchy, its cosy lifestyle financed by us the taxpayer might be jeopardised. You couldn’t jeopardise all that for a principle, presumably was the Queen’s stance.
So for Royalists like Moore to hold that Royalty does something is ridiculous. But I fear that the alternatives are even worse. If you have an election, then the likes of Neil and Glenys Kinnock might emerge, or god save us Tony and Cherie. No we must have some kind of neutral state organ, so I think a neat way around this problem would be to have a national lottery every year. The winner would get to be King or Queen for the year. If you think these ordinary citizens would not be capable of carrying out the highly sophisticated duties of a British sovereign, I say a well trained monkey has all the intellectual power required for the job, which, pared of the illusions, doesn’t add up to much. Sure, it has a big role in focusing the nation occasionally on the importance of Britishness and our traditions and culture, but you don’t need a Royal family to do that.
Contestants would have a long record of tax-paying, working and have a clean record. No idle, chippy scouse gits please.