Posts Tagged ‘monarchy’

The Man Who Would Be A Rubbish King.

January 27, 2010

Blogger Adam Bienkov submitted a Freedom of Information request to see correspondence between Boris Johnson and Prince Charles.

This is being resisted. However, interesting revelations have still come to light. According to the Evening Standard:

Mr Johnson is understood to receive handwritten memos from the Prince “every few months”. Sources also claim the Mayor has met Charles at Clarence House every three or four months.
  
It raises questions over how far Charles influenced the Chelsea Barracks housing project. The development was dropped last June by its Qatari backers after Charles wrote to them criticising its modernist appearance.
Prince Charles has raised some eyebrows in the past by stating strong opinions on topics as diverse as fox hunting, GM crops, and education.
 
Rather than play-it-safe by concentrating entirely on supporting charities, Prince Charles cannot resist the urge to share his views on controversial matters. A former aide claimed that the Charles sees himself as a “dissident” and feels compelled to confront majority opinion when he feels it is mistaken.
 
If Charles was a normal, though obviously slightly eccentric, letter-writing bloke, that would be fine. Charles Windsor could participate in debates, lobby powerful politicians, and even stand for election if he so wanted.
 
But as Prince and future monarch, Chuck must accept that he has to stand above the political fray. For the monarchy to survive in a democratic polity it has to depoliticise itself as far as possible. That means abstaining from these sorts of arguments and avoiding putting excessive pressure on politicians to do what you want them to do, whether in public or in private.
 
Queen Liz II has managed to function in such a manner quite successfully. Her reign has seen some tumultuous political happenings, but Elizabeth has stayed aloof and has therefore preserved the “dignity” of her position.
 
She is apparently shy and not especially interested in politics and current affairs, so that has all worked out very conveniently. Her popularity was only really dented by the personalised controversy surrounding the Royals’ treatment of Diana.
 
A King Charles III who uses his position to influence elected officials and to try to change policy decisions will soon alienate politicians and probably public opinion at large. Good news for republicans like me. Does Charles have the self-discipline to change his behaviour once he inherits the bench covered in velvet? Stories such as this suggest not.
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When out canvassing…

November 29, 2009

…and you come across someone’s house where all the windows are plastered with posters of Prince Charles, you know you’ve found yourself a genuine loony.

Am I right or am I right?

Off with their overheads.

September 26, 2009

The Guardian is reporting today that the weird state-owned enterprise known as the Royal Family is to be exempt from any cuts in public spending next year when its civil list funding comes under review.

Unlike all other public sector workers, members of the House of Windsor have their pay settlements negotiated only once every decade. In 1990 John Major kindly made provision for an annual inflation rate of 7.5% over the next ten years. 1990s inflation turned out to be just 3.7% and so Mrs Windsor and her crew raked in a surplus of £35 million.

The Royals might have had to endure some anni horribiles in terms of their amusing family feuding, but it was all anni mirabiles when it came to the finances. Although Dear Leader Blair froze the payment level in 2000 they are still sitting on top of a surplus of many millions.

The Guardian claims to have seen Treasury papers which indicate that Parliament cannot decrease the amount paid through the civil list. MPs are apparently only able to adjust the civil list upwards. If true, this is a ridiculous situation. With public spending cuts being widely described as inevitable everywhere else, could the Royal Family avoid having greater frugality forced upon them?

But not only could they avoid cuts – the Royals still want more. Reading Johaan Hari’s excellent article on the Queen Mum, it seems the gin-soaked old bigot’s obtuse opposition to lowering any spending on the monarchy lives on.

I don’t like the government’s acceptance of the need for drastic reductions in expenditure at all. However, it will be truly, truly sickening if the public sector cuts go ahead whilst the Royal Family continue to enjoy an unabated lifestyle of privilege. 

As a nation, we are clearly very sentimental in that we are still inexplicably prepared to let the Windsors kid themselves into thinking that they have a divine right to ‘rule’ over us. This does not mean the Royals can be allowed to shield themselves from the economic sacrifices the rest of the population is supposed to make.

Evidence of the bar’s new diversity policy

July 7, 2009

Interesting news today as everybody’s favourite unassuming heir to the throne became a barrister. Before we congratulate him on managing to fit in the law conversion and BVC in amongst his RAF training (or whatever it is he does which keeps him from getting hopelessly bored), I should stress he is merely an ‘honorary’ barrister. This is the use of the term ‘honorary’ which is synonymous with the term ‘non’ or ‘not really a…’ _46020199_007608883-1

It is fairly similar to the ‘Honorary’ QC post bestowed upon the Paintbrush collective’s favourite Cabinet Minister, Harriet Harperson. It has made me think that these ‘honorary’ titles can be quite misleading. For instance, when Ms Harperson talks nonsense about ‘the court of public opinion’, I’m concerned people may think she expresses these views as a very senior member of the legal profession.

Fortunately we are told that the young Prince does not intend to appear in court, ‘except for the odd speeding ticket’. How many speeding tickets does he get and shouldn’t he just obey the speed limit for a change?

Monarchy: a radical proposal

June 29, 2009

I don’t envy the Royal accountants at the moment – by all accounts things are going a bit Pete Tong down at Buck House. The Queen is apparently going to run out of money by 2012, and Prince Charles has already started making cutbacks in the running of his household – presumably, he’s going to have to start putting his own toothpaste on his toothbrush, the poor mite.

I think there’s an obvious analogy with the Royal Mail privatization debate: if the Monarchy is so inefficiently managed as a monopoly that it will – barring a huge injection of public cash – go bust within the next three years, why don’t we seek a private sector solution?

Think about it: we could put The Crown out to tender, maybe at 10-year intervals. Businesses, indivuduals or families could make bids to operate the Monarchy (which, as far as I can see, means wearing a lot of bling and waving), and the government could consider them on a cost-basis.

I think there is much to be said for this approach. I see that the current contractor (known now as the Windsor family, after a successful rebranding from the unfashionable “Saxe-Coburg-Gotha” label in 1917) costs £41.5m per year. I reckon that the Paintbrush collective could put in a bid for at least half  that.

Nick Griffin to visit Buckingham Palace

May 20, 2009

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more depressed, I see this on the Daily Mail website – apparently all London Assembly AMs are going to a Buckingham Palace garden party this summer, which means that Richard Barbrook is going too. Richard Barnbrook is – naturally – going to be bringing Nick Griffin along as his guest.

Interestingly, one of the commenters on the Daily Mail story – and I would recommend against reading the comments on the Daily Mail site, as they are prone to make your brain turn to goo and dribble out of your ears – has this to offer:

I thought we lived in a democracy, the BNP is not an illegal party, and I disagree totally with what they stand for, but until Nick Griffen does something that is against the law, then he has the same rights as the rest of us, even if we do disagree with him.

Well, yes…but no. The BNP is legal – correct. But does Nick Griffin have a right to be invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace? No, of course not. Neither do I, as it happens – which is a shame, really, because I really like cucumber sandwiches and weak tea.

We will, I’m sure, see a lot more of this attitude as this story develops: it has been a key part of the BNP’s rise, and will continue to be. It is, however, a complete error: the fact that the BNP is legal (as it should be) and people are free to vote for them doesn’t mean that civil society is obliged to treat them in exactly the same way, and with exactly the same respect, as any other political party.

So – it’s Queenie’s gaff, her tea, her garden, and so it should be her choice. Will she show some balls and kick Griffin out of her house?

Over at PB…

March 28, 2009

…Morus asks, “are we overlooking a political heavyweight?

No. We’re not.

A lot of the commenters on some of the right wing blogosphere – generally, the sorts of people who write to their MPs in green ink – seem to have pinned their hopes on the Queen as a “saviour of the nation” against the evil Brown.

Just what – constitutionally, I mean – is the problem? Gordon Brown is the leader of a party in the Commons with a comfortable working majority. The government has no trouble commanding the confidence of the House; Brown has been able to form a stable ministry, with no move among the PLP not to serve in ministerial positions under him; and the government can ensure supply.

Some people in the comments even seem to be suggesting that the Queen might have to intervene, because Gordon might refuse to hold a general election – this, I think, is the most moronic thing I’ve ever heard.

Enough of the constitutional conspiracy theories. If you’ve got a problem with the government, come out with it and let’s talk about that.