Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Charles' 'Promotion' Underlines Absurdity of Royals

On Wednesday November 8th I posted on how we need to have an elected head of state, so useless had our prospective hereditary version proved to be. Now comes more evidence to back up my case. The Guardian leads with pictures of him in his three uniforms of Admiral, General and Air Chief Marshall complete with respective chestfuls of medals. We read that for his 58th birthday present he has received promotion to four star rank in all three services(I tried to copy the pictures used but they were not accessible online). He already, it would seem, has four air commodoreships as part of his total of 26 honorary military titles.

If anything exemplifies the absurdity of our royal family it is this fiction that they are distinguished, battle hardened warriors combined with their obvious pleasure in accepting these meaninglass titles. The last monarch to fight in a real war was George II at Dettingen in 1743 when he led his troops into battle. Less sympathetic accounts say his horse merely bolted in the direction of the enemy and that everyone else charged after him.

But at least he was there and, arguably, entitled to wear a general's uniform. Prince Andrew also saw active service but Charles's military experience is limited to his captaincy of coastal minesweeper, HMS Bronington in the seventies. 'I spent most of my time petrified that I was going to run aground or we'd have a collision' commented the future Admiral of the Fleet. Nelson he most definitely ain't. I suspect it doesn't need folk like me to make the case for an elected head of state- the royals do the job far too well themselves.

So after all that self congratulation, isn't it surprising that the overwhelming majority of people still love the Royal Family and reject the ridiculous idea of an elected President? I am glad the Royal Family support our armed services, and only wish the current (elected)inhabitant of number 10 cared about them so much.
My son served in the Navy during the Falklands. He spent most of the time babysitting Prince Andrew who, far from piloting helicopters, could barely pilot his hat to his head without a map.
Not living in the country recently you may be out of touch. Polls are ambiguous on the Royals and reflect whatever absurdities they have recently committed. I teach a huge adult current affairs class and few of them think the royal family is worth hanging on to.
Clive James had an amusing take on why we need the royals in the extract from his new book he read on the radio last week. Without them he reckons we'd start worshiping film stars and the like even more than we do...
Is that Clive James the well known satarist in any way related to the puffed up, bloated fools you talk about on your blog today hughesy? If so do unfunny satarists only become worth quoting when they agree with you?
No Bob - it's Clive James the raconteur!
PS NB Just because I quote the Australian wag doesn't mean I share his views. One of the points buried in my post to which Bob refers is that even if someone amuses you it doesn't follow that their political views are sound.

If it were left to me I'd deport the royals along with 97.3% of the British aristocracy and 84.3% of the associated heritage industry to any country that would take the rabble. But abolition’s so unlikely to happen in my or even my children’s lifetimes that it isn't worth getting into much of a spin about...
I, of course, meant satirists... I was not intending to refer to Ravi Shankar's Aussie musician friend. Although frankly, Ravi Shankar's views on the British monarchy would undoubtably be as interesting, relevant and far less arse-kissing than that fat Aussie oaf James.
Well Skipper if you have done such a scientific survey as asking some people in your class, then how could anyone dispute the findings(?). Can you quote ANY poll that has ever shown a majority for the Republic? I think this is more wishful thinking on your part.
You are quite right Michael- and a fair point re 'my class'- there has never been but support for the royal family has been by no means as solid as the 'love' you suggest. Take a look at this document for example:
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