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A different world… April 13, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Telling to see the flood of complaints about the TV coverage of the death of Prince Philip – which by any measure seemed excessive. Unlikely that that would have been the case say thirty odd years ago – in respect of so many complaints. But wall to wall television coverage of the event, or rather specials on his life, across multiple channels has a curiously authoritarian feel to it.

But what does it say about the situation in Britain today and attitudes to the monarchy? I’ve been watching the Crown and it strikes me a television programme like that would have been dustily received in the 1980s, and even 1990s. Granted it is a fiction eliding and reworking history for the narrative. But it is also remarkably hostile to the institution, if not all of those within it (actually, ironically, Prince Philip comes out of it better than most, though some may not think that much of an achievement).

Perhaps all this means little – a public figure who had withdrawn due to age and ill health some time back. And yet I also wonder is this somewhat like the dynamics in respect of the pro-choice campaigns here. A week or so after the result I was talking to someone who would be close to a socially conservative politician in a constituency where there was a smaller than average, but still substantial, majority in favour of the Thirty-sixth amendment. They simply couldn’t understand how this had happened there.

I’m not for a moment suggesting the two issues are the same, or of the same importance – though a British republic would, I imagine, be the optimum approach for many of us here, but clearly something happened between the 1980s and the 2010s where the attitudes changed considerably more generally in the Republic. Could it be that quietly in Britain the monarchy is beginning to slip off the radar, that attachments to old or long-held beliefs are beginning to fray?

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1. 6to5against - April 13, 2021

From reading Bowling Alone a few years back, I got the insight that -once they have reached adulthood – very few people really change their core beliefs and behaviours, and that changing societal attitudes to things like the 8th amendment are less due to Damascene conversions and more to do with the fact that old people die and young people grow older.

I could imagine something similar happening with the UK with respect to royalty. The general population (from my experience) are nowhere near as interested or as loyal as TV coverage would suggest. But without a well organised campaign (such as we had here with Repeal-the-8th) I don’t know if that will ever amount to constitutional change.

In a way, the crazed complexity of the British constitutional situation might well protect that very craziness into the future. Independence movements, voting reform, hereditary peerages, the existence of an established church and the very fact that the constitution is so loosely defined are all tied up together, along with royalty. You might have popular support for change on one or two of those areas but its hard to see any political coalition coming together to actually change any of it.

Though – if I ran the world – voting reform would come first.

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WorldbyStorm - April 13, 2021

That point re the complexity, I can well see how that would function to protect it. Indeed… it’s almost as if it is designed deliberately that way – though I imagine the shape of the structures came around unconsciously in large part.

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2. NFB - April 13, 2021

Dreading what the weeks after Elizabeth passes will be like tbh. Philip getting the re-runs of Battlesar Galactica pre-empted was bad enough.

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WorldbyStorm - April 13, 2021

Unbelievable how intrusive it was.

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3. Paul Culloty - April 13, 2021

The Queen is probably the exception to the rule, in that through sheer longevity she has become a British symbol, much like John Paul II had been the only Pope that the millennial generation could remember at the time of his passing. By contrast, “99-year old gaffe-prone man who’d been on the brink of death for the last five years” doesn’t exactly endear sympathy, and the subsequent generations have all been fodder for the tabloid press.

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WorldbyStorm - April 13, 2021

Yeah, that’s true. He’s always been a conflicting character. Wow, though when the Queen goes that’ll eat up bandwidth.

Funnily enough the Crown would make me even more convinced the institutions are malign (and also to those within them) even if I’d have a little sympathy on a human level for those caught within them. It’s a rotten old edifice that is long past time was put to one side.

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4. alanmyler - April 13, 2021

It’s hard to see any great sense of public affection for the Royals continuing once QE2 pops her clogs, isn’t it? Might be a good time at that stage for the government to pull the plug on them and convert Buckingham Palace into student accommodation or whatever the property speculation vehicle of choice is in London these days.

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5. oliverbohs - April 13, 2021

As has been pointed out elsewhere, by Ash Sarkar for instance, adapting in order to survive is what institutions like the Royals need to do and Phil the Greek knew that better than most. And if leaning in ever so slightly to wokeness (for want of a better description) is what they need to do in the future they will. The Guardian’s remarkably bootlicking obituary to him is indicative that enough of them in the UK, even liberals, need them more than they need the UK. That when it comes down to it, The Firm’s existence makes enough of them feel better. Phil himself remarked upon it in the past, ‘we’re up here cos you lot wish it to be’ kind of thing. Wonder how much he gazed at Denis Thatcher in envy, whose public role was similar, but had a looser leash, and had anyway a deeper belief in that particular cause (neoliberalism)

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6. Bagatelle's Unled Tyro - April 13, 2021

Sounds almost as bad as the situation in the US when Reagan passed.

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7. benmadigan - April 13, 2021

I think the “Republic” initiative is running about 20-25% support in the UK. That might well rise when King Charles seems imminent because a once and future King Billy seems more popular.
Since Elizabeth II has been there, as the only sovreign everybody under 75 has ever known, many in the UK will be shocked to find they can’t choose their head of state, as they have seen countries like the USA, France, Italy etc do over and over again.

PS when Elizabeth II was crowned Truman was president of the USA, and committed socialist Vincent Auriol was president of France

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Jack Jameson - April 13, 2021

“Many in the UK will be shocked to find they can’t choose their head of state.”

I think pretty much everyone understands that they can’t/don’t choose their head of state but are content to accept it as the natural order of things.

If that continues when the adulterous Charles (unfaithful to the sainted Princess Diana) and Camilla ascend to the throne after the death of the iconic Queen Elizabeth is another matter.

The only apparently strong personality still standing outside of Anne and Harry is Andrew, a prince afraid to face questioning by the FBI about his possible involvement in or knowledge of the Jeffrey Epstein celebrity paedophile ring.

Will things change much after Elizabeth RIP?

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CL - April 13, 2021

” Queen’s consent is a procedural rule, internal to the workings of parliament and of unclear origins, which requires the monarch’s consent to be obtained for certain types of legislation – before they can be presented for final approval by either house of parliament. ….
The anti-democratic potential of the consent process is obvious: it gives the Queen a possible veto, to be exercised in secret, over proposed laws.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/08/queen-power-british-law-queens-consent

Queen’s consent.. has been exercised at least 39 times, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information act, including “one instance [in which] the Queen completely vetoed the Military Actions Against Iraq Bill in 1999, a private member’s bill that sought to transfer the power to authorise military strikes against Iraq from the monarch to parliament,…
As the head of state in Australia, the Queen has certain powers over the government. In 1975, for example, the Queen’s representative in the country at the time, Gov. Gen. Sir John Kerr, fired the prime minister in response to a government shutdown…..

The Marquis of Ailesbury owns Savernake Forest and is required to produce a blast on a hunting horn should the Sovereign pass through the Forest. This last happened in 1943.
Similarly, the owner of Dunlambert Castle in Northern Ireland has to produce a blast on an ancient bugle.”
https://www.businessinsider.in/politics/32-incredible-powers-of-queen-elizabeth-ii-you-didnt-know-she-had/slidelist/48886245.cms#slideid=48886267

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benmadigan - April 13, 2021

Will she be henceforth known as Elizabeth The Last?

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yourcousin - April 14, 2021

One can only hope.

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