2007 - 2021

Long to Reign Over Us

stop-celebrating-celebrity-feudalism-2The state broadcaster and the amassed media horde (grateful for something to distract us from the embarrassing phenomenon of people reclaiming their humanity in the refugee crisis despite their best efforts to sell us xenophobic bile for thirty years) are about to kick-in to full-on Royal Celebration Mode. There’s usually little excuse for this default setting but this time the reason for this unnecessary descent into unquestioning fealty is that tomorrow Elizabeth II (sic) will apparently outstrip the length of Victoria’s reign and (after 63 years on the throne) will become the longest-reigning monarch in the past 1,000 years.

Starting us off is Britain’s Sycophant in Chief, Nicholas Witchell who dribbles (‘Queen Elizabeth II: A constant amid gale-force changes‘):

“Steadfast. Constant. Dutiful. These are the words which are used most frequently to describe Queen Elizabeth II, monarch and head of state of the United Kingdom and of her “other realms and territories”. Few, I think, would disagree with these characterisations of a widely respected sovereign whose reign has entered the record books.”

Few indeed Nicholas, a man who is actually paid by us all to trot-out this dire nonsense on a daily basis. He continues: “It’s a record which, in so far as these things can ever be gauged, would appear to have placed the monarchy in pretty much as strong a position now in the UK as it was when she inherited the throne. In Prime Minister David Cameron’s view she has been “a permanent anchor, bracing against the storms and grounding us in certainty”. Her grandson Prince William takes comfort from the example she’s set of “duty and compassion” and from what he calls her “innate sense of calm and perspective”. And so it will continue. There is no question of her retiring. She will continue seeking, as she said in a broadcast on the night of her coronation, to be “worthy of your trust”.

The cult of extreme wealth and the fawning ridiculous deference are only the cultural aspects of this obscenity. The Queen remains the apogee of Britain’s unreformed feudal landscape, from the disgrace of the House of Lords, to the culture of privilege and patronage to the blight of land ownership. As Andy Wightman wrote in our inaugural newspaper back in 2007:

“…many of Scotland’s landowners are charming, polite, eager to please and undertake good works in the community. So what? Just as a benign dictator who is popular with the masses does not diminish one iota the case for democracy and human rights, so the presence of so many charming members of the nobility still lording it over huge swathes of Scotland (but doing a splendid job) does nothing to detract from the case for radical land reform. Of course many will argue that it matters little in the overall scheme of things that the Queen owns Balmoral. What matters is the symbolism and what this says about or attitudes to who owns our country because, for a start we know so little about how land is owned and by whom. For example, Queen Victoria is popularly believed to have fallen in love with Balmoral and purchased it in the 19th century. She didn’t. Likewise, the Queen is regarded as the owner of Balmoral Estate. She isn’t.”

Read the full article ‘Balmoral Buyout’ (Nov 2007).

As we’ve seen through the Black Spider Letters the Royal Family are expressly political, and with Katie Hopkins, who needs Prince Philip?

The Queen’s contestant presence and the drip drip of sycophancy through the pores of a pliant media have indeed been a constant for a very long time. Why this is a source of celebration in the 21 Century Scotland is a mystery.

 

 

 

Comments (54)

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  1. Waggle says:

    Why do we prefer to elect a politician to replace our Head of State with constancy of purpose?

    1. jimbennett says:

      …err…democracy?

      1. Waggle says:

        I had no idea that we had so much love for politicians!

        1. Urbangril says:

          a)because when someone is elected they can be got rid of and replaced
          B) because a pool of 60m candidates is better than a pool consisting of one family of inbred aristocrats
          C)because this is the 21st century and forelock-tugging went out 100 years ago

          HTH.

          1. Urbangril says:

            And nobody said it had to be a politician btw. There are many good and clever people who aren’t politicians.

    2. John B Dick says:

      When I shortlisted and interviewed people for jobs, the only thing I wanted to know was whether they had done this kind of work before.

      I have no use for the Queen of England, but the Queen of Canada is a class act who has experience of the transition of a country to independence like nobody else in history. I didn’t know she could issue a statutory instrument.

      The monarch no longer is ‘at the apogee’ of an aristocratic landowner system. We have a non-dom hedge fund system.

      The House of Lords is now a crony system not an aristocratic system.

      The middle class no longer cares how the Queen’s household lays a table setting: they are much more interested in how her great-grandson’s aunt’s bottom moves.

      I recognise that my appreciation of the current monarch has much more to do with me turning 70 than how she does her job but aside from facilitating the transition to independence there is one overwhelming argument against removing the monarchy.

      I heard it first from a LibDem spokesman on Question Time. George Galloway brought it up to date.

      President Thatcher
      President Blair

      If there was an automatic shortlist of people who had successfully served a term as PO of the Scottish Parliament, I’d be for a republic. If we had a republic right now, President Blair would be the current head of state.

      Fundamentlist Republicans need to get their act together and say what they would offer instead. Until then, long may she reign.

      1. Waggle says:

        I agree.

      2. bringiton says:

        You have to consider what it is you want from your head of state.
        In some countries,the head of state is elected and has real powers within the executive to form policy.
        In others,the head of state’s function is titular and solely to represent the state on formal occasions.
        Within these positions a number of possibilities exist.
        However,the main issue is that if the head of state is to have real powers then it has to be accountable to the electorate in a democratic system of governance.
        The feudal state that we currently live in where neither the head of state nor the major ratifying house are accountable to the electorate in any way is not where we should be in the 21st century.

      3. David Lee says:

        I’m sorry, but why on earth would Tony Blair be president?

        There isn’t much for republicans to explain. Hold an election for a head of state with ceremonial functions for a fixed term. If Blair wants to stand then let the public decide.

        1. John B Dick says:

          Why? Because that is what the Westminster ‘elite’ and their friends in the press would have told the UK electorate to vote for when Thatcher died or retired. What’s more we would have to cope with that as we move forward to independance.

          From where we are now till a parliamentary term or two after independence we are better off with what we have now.

          1. Douglas says:

            You’re talking about a French or American presidential Republic….there are other kinds, like the Italian Republic, or the Portuguese Republic, where the President has much less power….

            …the President of the Republic should be there to keep an eye on the Executive. And represent the country and the general interest of the nation.

            Plus your assertion that Blair would have been President is hard to fathom…how so?

            Write it into the Scottish Constitution that no former PM can be President….

          2. John B Dick says:

            I don’t suggest he would be elected NOW in Scotland. Substitute AS if you like.

            If we already had an elected president, President Blair would be head of state of the UK, and a great help that would be for Indiref2.

            There are suggestions upthread that would avoid a divisive politician unable to speak for half the country but an over simplistic solution creates a different set of problems.

      4. Why would Blair – widely despised and exposed – be elected President? Thatcher’s deid.

        Why would Scotland be any different from any other small country who successfully elects a head of state in the context of a functioning constitutional democracy?

        You haven’t put forward any reason for the status quo.

        1. John B Dick says:

          Thatcher’s gone, and my MSP didn’t take up my offer to put my extensive crop of wild garlic and some pointy fenceposts to use as stakes at the service of the nation.

          I do not suggest that an independent Scotland would elect TB if a head of state were elected now, but there was a point in the recent past when that would be what we would have been lumbered with (in UK) and that would have been a great help on the way to independence, wouldn’t it?

          It’s no use shouting ‘What do we want?’ ‘Democracy!’ we need a worked out proposal that would avoid some obvious dangers.

          1. Douglas says:

            Wait a minute John….the Queen “purred with delight” when she heard the vote went in favour of the Union…what makes you think she would be more sympathetic than an elected President to indie?

            How much power does the Queen have? Nobody knows. The records of her weekly meeting with the elected PM are not made public…which is feudal, as Mike Small says….

          2. John B Dick says:

            She Purred? You got that from a reliable, unbiased source I suppose?

            She doesn’t ‘phone me often so I don’t know whether she purrs all the time, or just when she has had an extra glass of Dubonnet.

            Next you will be telling me that she told us to think carefully before voting for independence. She didn’t, she told us to think carefully before voting. Would you want independence any other way?

            What makes me think she would do the right thing? Childhood brainwashing inculcating a sense of duty.

            Of course things can always be improved, but the fact that this is so, or whether the present incumbent does a bad job or a good one is neither here nor there. We should change for something better not worse and a reality TV contest set up by the ‘elite’ and their friends in the press is not self evidently an improvement.

  2. jimbennett says:

    “With Katie Hopkins, who needs Prince Philip”….Excellent! Funniest thing I’ve heard today.

  3. Mark Rowantree says:

    Hereditary monarchy is anachronistic and in the so called UK only serves to reinforce the remnant of class deference.

    1. John B Dick says:

      Remind you of it maybe, not reinforce it. I’ve never tugged a forelock and neither have you.

      Class is gone but the left, wth their class war mantras, dead prophets and sacred texts havn’t noticed yet.

      For over a decade post war, in every budget speech the chancellor would say how pleased he was to be able to do something for people on small fixed incomes, or failing that, would be castigated by the opposition for having failed to do so.

      As late as 1960 I saw one of that “class” of people give a choclate bar to a train driver. If you don’t know who these people were, what they did in the lavatory and why the train driver got a chocolate bar then you do not understand class.

      We have rich and poor; powerful and powerless but if you think we still have class you are either Rip van Winkle or under 60 years old.

      Is David Beckham a member of the working class who labours by foot and brain? If not, why not?

      1. David Beckham is representative of the obscene inequality in our society and the bizarre celebrity culture we endure. Not sure why this is an argument against having functioning democracy with an elected head of state?

        1. John B Dick says:

          It isn’t.

          It’s an argument that the class war is over and most people have left the battlefield except the fundamentalist left.

          It’s also an arument for not allowing the ‘elite’, and media to permanently pollute the constitution by foisting on us a system that would give us a President Thatcher or President Blair or capitulating to the celebrity culture you deplore.

          1. Frank says:

            The class war is practised every day John, by the rich and powerful. Are you seriously suggesting that class is no longer a useful sociological concept? If so, you need to put forward a more intellectually coherent argument than the one constructed thus far.

            There remains a fundamental difference between those who own, and those who sell their labour. Moreover, an array of research suggests, most notably the book Capital in the 21st Century, that the rich have got richer whilst the incomes of the working class and middle class have stagnated.

            Also, recognising the ways in which class shapes our lives has nothing to do with the fundamentalist left as you put it.

          2. Waggle says:

            Again we wonder why so many of us seek a job to put a capitalist between our work and our customers.

            Instead of selling our labour to an employer we could sell our services and products direct to customers.

          3. John B Dick says:

            Frank:

            “Are you seriously suggesting that class is no longer a useful sociological concept?”

            Yes.

            I am aware that there are rich and poor, and the other things you say, and I deplore as much as you that it is so.

            It isn’t the same as class and increasingly hasn’t been since c 1945. Money matters, power matters, but that’s nothing to do with class.

            What class is David Beckham? He works by foot and brain so he must be working class.

          4. James Coleman says:

            “Class is gone”

            So who are those phantoms who own most of Scotland and speak with with their funny foreign Engish accents? And who are they who are entitled to attend the House of Lords as Hereditary Peers, this time speaking with accents alien to the ordinary people in England.

            If you really believe “class is gone” you must be one of THEM because they like to pretend that that is so.

          5. Frank says:

            I’m sorry John, but I actually don’t understand the point you are making, nor the reference to a footballer.

            Class is perhaps fragmented, and the collectivised institutions that define the working class are in retreat, for example, the trades unions, the British Labour Party, council housing, but the working class as an economic category exists and there are numerous studies which suggest that people still think of themselves as working class. For me, class is defined in part by one’s relationship to capital – one enters into a relationship with society independent of ones will, and in that sense we need a structural explanation for societal dynamics. In that sense my thinking is influenced by Marx, although I reject his writings on revolution, communism, etc.

            If we abandon class as a sociological concept we are left with a society of atomised individuals, bereft of any structural analysis whatsoever? I’m not sure that analysis would stand up to close scrutiny.

  4. bringiton says:

    I suspect that one of the reasons she still reigns over us is that her successor is likely to be rejected,especially here in Scotland.
    Her demise could well provoke a constitutional crisis and the British establishment are fully aware of this.
    We will know when she is about to retire when HM press start bigging up her replacement.

    1. David Lee says:

      I love the idea that Charles will be rejected, but I just can’t see it happening.

      It would be great to have a new constitutional framework ready to slide into place when Elizabeth dies (elected second chamber, elected head of state, truly federal UK structure) but the UK is so utterly conservative that I can’t imagine anything other than more dismal coronations of Windsor after Windsor.

  5. Dennis Mclaughlin says:

    “Her heirs and succesors”….Aye that’ll be the day!..
    Queen Camilla will be as welcome in Scotland as something nasty you’ve just found on your shoes!.

  6. Richard says:

    My preference for Scotland would be to model after the 1603-1707 period in Scotland, where the Chancellor (nowadays equivalent to the Presiding Officer) was the acting Head of State in the absence of the Monarch. I would just do away with any Monarch whatsoever and have the Chancellor/Presiding Officer/President/Whatever be the actual Head of State.

    1. John B Dick says:

      I’d go for, except that it would be an extra job two days a week. That’s why I’d want an ex-PO.

      1. Richard says:

        The immediate ex-PO. There we go, problem solved. 🙂

        1. John B Dick says:

          A longer term than four years would be good, but better let that go than a beauty contest run by political parties and the media.

  7. Gordon McShean says:

    There are some thinkers Down Under who have been considering these matters. The status of Maori royalty – as well as the validity of the flag (with its Union Jack patch) may become a matter for reconsideration- especially if Scotland has its way! My reputation (as the Scottish exiled RETIRED TERRORIST) of course requires me to sit back and enjoy the view!

    1. Anton says:

      So, as matter of interest, do you believe that the Maori royalty in New Zealand should be disenfranchised in favour of the colonialist community?

  8. Douglas says:

    John B Dick…no space to reply to your last comment on the thread…

    …”the Queen purred with delight when she heard the result” is a quote from the blundering fool David Cameron, who called her personally to tell her the result….another Cameron balls-up of course…here it is:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2014/sep/23/david-cameron-queen-purred-scotlands-no-vote-video

    John, are you one of those deluded people like Alec Salmond who thinks that Elizabeth II (though first of Scotland) is ALSO the Queen of Scots?

  9. Frank Lynch says:

    The Bolsheviks knew how to treat Royalty.

    1. bringiton says:

      And the French.

  10. John B Dick says:

    The Duke of Rothesay writes to ministers, or so we are told, about things he knows about. Rural issues. Why should he not? I do that too, and I get replies, sometimes even action.

    There would be a problem if he wrote about things about which he knows nothing. We have plenty of MPs like Jacob Rees Mogg who do that sort of thing.

  11. John Page says:

    Two points
    I am so glad I don’t watch BBC any more as this crap used to drive me nuts
    Why has this discussion been hijacked by this “constancy of purpose” mumbo jumbo? Are wee too wee, poor and stupid we need to invent an old man with a beard behind the clouds to use magic oils to anoint a special family (ancestors murdering psychopaths) to reign over us in perpetuity? Are we incapable of agreeing a written constitution with an elected figure head president charged with ensuring the sovereignty of the people of Scotland? C’mon Scotland.
    John Page

    1. Waggle says:

      Yes, a written constitution could impart constancy of purpose.

      But, over 200 years, it may also result in thousands of lawyers.

      1. John Page says:

        Waggle
        What’s with this trivialisation of the steps necessary for the reasonable change that Scotland needs to progress to the maturity that most other nations have……are we to remain infantilised under the Windsors cos we might need to spend time agreeing a constitution……..or would you rather bishops, princes, lords and pourers of the bath water determining our future. Your negative ripostes might sound good at the golf or bowling club with your pals perusing the Telegraph or Express……….why don’t you turn on the BBC and get all cosy and brain dead
        John Page

        1. James Coleman says:

          In your reply to WAGGLE you forgot the ‘Keeper of the Stool’ aka royal arse wiper and penis holder

          1. John Page says:

            I had assumed that Waggle was personally aware…..

  12. Fran says:

    Can we fill Balmoral with refugees.

  13. John Page says:

    O/T
    Good news and bad news
    Good news
    Gaelic beginners class started in my village tonight
    Bad news (well for me) already full

    John Page

  14. HerewardAwake! says:

    Some very interesting thoughts on this thread. After a lifetime of antagonism to the principle of royalty, hereditary or otherwise, I have to accept that the UK model (perhaps echoing its Thai and Middle-Eastern equivalents) have survived and prospered over the centuries with the willing support of the majority of its people. Why is beyond me, and at my time of life could I care less. If doormats enjoy being trodden on then so be it, I’ll do without one and won’t be one.

    However, what does interest the 25% of my soul that is Scottish is how Scotland will deal with the challenge of monarchy if, or as, independence looms. Is your uni-cameral assembly strong enough withstand the awsome Westminster tide and look after all its people properly? I find the White Heather Club caricature of the cosy Windsor/Scottish happy family set-up of sycophancy and nepotism quite revolting and demeaning, but it obviously works, and its going to be very hard to dissect Scotland away from it without the risk of serious consequences. Perhaps you should start drawing up a written constitution now, you (and we) certainly need it. In the meantime its good to know that that poor little wretch Witchelow, the Uriah Heap of Windsor, appears to be held in as much contempt above the salt as he is below it.

    1. John Page says:

      I think the position is changing fast on this issue. After another 5 years of austerity who would opt for a monarchy for an Independent Scotland……even if there remains some residual loyalty for E2, C3 will be seen as a spoiled philanderer who has his toothpaste squeezed for him. Ask the under 30s who can’t get houses or decent jobs if they value this “constancy of purpose”.
      If IndyRef2 comes before a succession, I could just about thole this crap pending a referendum for a republic once we are independent.
      John Page

  15. Bill Boyd says:

    One small correction. Witchell isn’t paid by ‘all of us’. Only those who pay a TV licence.

  16. Bill Fraser says:

    Brilliant! Far too much of this rubbish day after day from the media. And as for her rapidly growing brood, enough said.

  17. Broadbield says:

    It’s unfortunate the article’s argument concentrates so much on the person of the Queen. She, as a person, is as much constrained by her circumstances as the rest of us. The real issue is a hereditary monarchy, and indeed hereditary anything.

    A hereditary monarchy is an absurdity, but it also symbolises and breeds unfairness, inequality, privilege, and the subjugation of the 99.9% to the whims and advantages of those who inherit titles, wealth, vast properties, positions of power. Look at the statistics for who hold all the top jobs as lawyers, judiciary, politicians, army officers, journalists, business people and so on. A huge unrepresentative proportion come from wealthy backgrounds, processed through private schools – the main agency by which the privileges maintain their advantage.

    The monarchy perpetuates this advantage for a small elite group who all work through various channels to ensure this advantage continues. Let’s establish that an Independent Scotland needs, first a written constitution and another means of establishing a Head of State, if, indeed we need one.

  18. Brian Fleming says:

    It brings to mind Ceausescu’s Romania. When oh when will we be rid of this odious monarchy?

  19. Colin Lonie says:

    The Queen is the legal owner of all land in the Uk and the Commonwealth.

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