Monday, February 14, 2005

Oyez ! Oyez !

To all loyal subjects of Her Majesty The Queen,

I hereby give notice that this blog shall be henceforth, and from the completion of this post, a Charles and Camilla-free zone.

It's one of those topics which produces fissures and fractures in all directions outside of Guardianista country, views there being fairly monochrome ('class-ridden Britain ... age of deference dead ... toffs ... fox-hunting ... established Church ... private education ... exterminate ! exterminate !'). People with whom one would otherwise hold many views in common get all republican and yah-boo. Instinctive pro-monarchists who are Christians are disturbed by the implications of the proposed marriage for a) the Church of England b) the sanctity of Christian marriage. What the Great British Public thinks of Christian marriage can be seen in the illegitimacy figures.

My views on the great Love Triangle are

a) that pretty much everyone behaved badly
b) that we are all sinners
c) that asking Di to hold the video camera was probably the last straw for the marriage, although constitutional historians differ on this topic.

Whatever happens will be used by the Guardianistas as a stick with which to beat the monarchy. This is a development which must be opposed at all times for the following reasons.

1) the monarchy is the living totem of our tribe.

In the US, to be republican is to be an American patriot, in Ireland to be an Irish patriot, in France to be a French patriot. There is no patriotic British republican tradition - what republicanism exists is, often explicitly, anti-British.

2) Monarchy, like religion, appeals to the irrational in human nature.

I use irrational here to mean something which human reason is ill-equipped to grasp or comprehend, but which may nonetheless play an important role in human affairs. Complex or imaginary numbers could be an analogy. I can't grasp the concept of the square root of -1, yet it plays an important role in physics. (Note - there are also numbers known as irrational numbers).

A society can get rid of monarchy, just as it can get rid of religion. But irrational urges in human beings cannot be so easily removed. If they cannot be expressed via the structures built up in Britain over the centuries, they will find an outlet elsewhere.

The last two (oops - see update) Western European countries to abolish their monarchies were Germany and Spain.

Both monarchies were abolished under reforming leftwing governments.

Both countries became authoritarian dictatorships.

UPDATE - The thoughts of Blimpish are, as ever, also worth a read.

UPDATE 2 - John Pierce points out that the Italians are the most recent Western Europeans to drop their monarchy. I suppose they'd already done the authoritarian dictatorship thing when Victor Emmanuel went, and didn't fancy "getting back in the ring to take another swing".

The Greeks also dropped the monarch - twice. But that's not really Western Europe, is it ? Not if you have to get through Albania.

No comments: