||[Jun. 26th, 2010|11:22 am]
Wimbledon the other day was largely given over to a love-in with the Queen. Notable people- some of them intrinsically much more notable than she is - for example Roger Federer and Venus Williams- were lined up to touch the gloved hand and receive the gracious words. I could hardly bear to watch. I know this is a minority position, but I find the spectacle of one human being bowing and scaping to another human being profoundly dispiriting. I am a democrat to my bones.|
Meanwhile, Prince Charles' interference in the affair of the rebuild on the Chelsea Barracks site is being aired in the High Court. At one level this is a story about very rich people inconveniencing one another and really none of my business. On the other it's about Charles expoiting the cringe reflex that almost everyone- including Qatari sheiks- feels in the presence of British royalty- to impose his Betjemanesque taste in architecture on the world at large. It's an unfair exploitation of his position- and goes outside the terms of our gentleman's agreement of a constitution in which the royals are accorded symbolic status- and as much fawning as they can eat (which in Charles' case is an awful lot)- in return for their absolute neutrality. Charles regularly oversteps the mark- and needs to be told to stop.
I quite agree. There's something viscerally upsetting about the sight, to me. I suddenly feel quite alien from the majority of people, who (or so opinion polls and personal experience tell me) are either in favour of, or at least, indifferent to, the monarchy, and think that the whole pompencircumstance that goes with it lies somewhere on the spectrum between "one of the things that makes us British" and "reaffirmation of the natural order as set out in the unexpurgated version of 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'".
It actually feels slightly infantile, as if we'd all decided that on one day of the year we were going to wear nappies and eat Cow & Gate Banana Mush as "a tribute to the ideals of childhood".
I get the impression that Andy Murray wanted to side-step the whole thing, but got slapped into compliance by his management and the Wimbledon high-ups. It's a shame. I liked him better when he was an unreconstructed, chippy Scot.
Infantile is exactly what it is. I'm hungry for someone to step out of line and do something disrespectful. Where's Johnny Rotten when you need him? (Oh yes, I'd forgotten- he's busy selling butter...)
"I'm hungry for someone to step out of line and do something disrespectful. Where's Johnny Rotten when you need him? (Oh yes, I'd forgotten- he's busy selling butter...)"
That poor farmer and his wife!
I did the curtseying thing as a kid when my dad was filming and photographing for the local paper and we got invited to join the line-up on a royal visit. As a kid it was exciting and respectful, but now I feel uncomfortable with it all, and enjoy myself when someone acts out of protocol and gives her a hug or whatever.
As for Charley-boy's latest antics, he has the same right to an opinion as everyone else, but he also, like everyone else, has no right to interfere. Is he going to reimburse the people who've lost out because of what he's done? I suspect not.
Charles is a rich man in his own right. He's entirely at liberty to conduct social experiments and build Georgian villages in his own time, on his own land, with his own money. Leading by example is fine. But using his position to twist the arms of government ministers and foreign investors is a violation of his very delicate constitutional position.
But hasn't Charles been effectively denied his "constitutional position", at least in terms of the royal succession? Perhaps in light of the way things turned out for him, he doesn't particularly care about propriety. From a distance, not sure that I blame him.
If Charles outlives his mother(which isn't a foregone conclusion) he'll be our next king. A lot of people would prefer the succession to jump a generation- to the highly popular William- but there's no provision for that to happen.
There was a poll on LJ a few weeks ago that asked "What do you do to celebrate your country's independence?" and I said "I don't think Britain is independent, it is still in thrall to Wiliam the Bastard and his Norman Barons". This bowing and scraping is so horribly feudal, it's time we let her bog off to Sandringham and invented something better.
I'm right behind you there.
I want a republic- and I want it NOW.
Republics are nice, but they don't seem to last very long. Sooner or later, the plutocrats and populists will tear them down.