Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Revealed: Queen's dismay at Blair legacy

Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter at the Daily Telegraph, has revealed today that HM the Queen has been left "exasperated and frustrated" at what Tony Blair's 10 years in power has done to the country, particularly regarding countryside issues (such as the outlawing of fox hunting). If unnamed sources are to be believed, she is under the impression that Blair has "meddled unnecessarily in Britain's heritage, including the reform of the House of Lords" and that the Armed Forces have become "overstretched" by foreign commitments, notably in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of most concern to all of us who look to the Monarchist as our compass,

She suspects that Mr Blair has spent too much time cosying up to America - at the expense of dealing with her beloved Commonwealth.

It's a revealing article that puts into focus the views of Her Majesty and again reiterates the idea that while politicians come and go, screwing up everything in their wake, the Monarch remains to try to provide stability and reassurance.

66 comments:

Beaverbrook said...

Not just America, but Europe!

That photo probably represents the most embarrassingly undignified moment in the history of our monarchy. All holding hands in a giant sing-a-long under the rainbow of the millennium celebrations. Have "just call me Tony" and company have no self-resepct. Not amused doesn't begin to capture what's going through Her Majesty's mind at that moment, I'm sure.

Spencer said...

And yet she went through with it. Poodle much?

Scott said...

Never heard of the Glorious Revolution or Act of Settlement much?

I assume you're critical of the monarchical system - undemocratic, blah, blah, yeah? But here she is being scrupulously democratic...

Spencer said...

I'm just saying, everyone says the Queen is this independent individual who's above it all, when in reality she's just a showpiece for the various Prime Ministers.

Scott said...

If she tried to be much more politically, the crown would be hastily and permanently dismantled by politicians. And she would immediately risk the crown's popularity in getting politically involved: one of the reasons over 70% wish to retain the Monarchy forever is because they've never done anything so grotty or controversial as politicians have to. A lot of acrimony towards them arises from when certain members (e.g. Charles) have merely opened their mouths in a slightly political fashion.

She is neither showpiece nor opponent of politicians: she is our living flag, Britannia and the Britannic peoples embodied, a human figurehead we can ALL invest our trust and allegiance in, regardless of trends or political affiliations.

Constitutional Monarchy beats republicanism any day because of this: in the Prime Minister and Queen we divide out the two functions of the executive, allowing frank political debate without risk of disrespect or damage to our country's image, and patriotic admiration and love of our leaders (Monarchs) without the pratfalls of the tyrant-cult (because they are politically neutral and powerless). Numerous other benefits too.

Really the most perfect system from all points of view. In the case of Blair, I think a number of other culprits must be fingered with responsibility before the Queen: the man himself, the Labour party, his cabinet colleagues, the Privy Council, the House of Lords, the ineffective Tories, the STUPID VOTERS WHO CHOSE HIM THREE TIMES, etc.

Younghusband said...

I thought the photo said it all to summarise Blair's regime. But Scott, voters didn't chose him. Last election most didn't bother voting and of those that did, only 37% voted Labour. Again, you don't choose personalities as one does in the US, but parties, and it was the first time since 1929 that no party received more than 10 million votes.

Scott said...

Lots of people didn't vote, no doubt, because the result was assured; and had it not been they would have turned out accordingly to ensure it was.

Voter abstention is a matter of strategic inaction as much as - or more than - apathy.

Spencer said...

Showpiece, man. I mean look at her, the PM beckons for her to come to some little hold hand ceremony and there she is.

Beaverbrook said...

It was the millenium celebrations you twit. Given that it happens once every thousand years, I imagine Her Majesty could be forgiven for attending that one.

Republic of M said...

beaverbrook - it has nothing to do with HM attending, but Mr. Blair grabbing her hand and not showing the respect he should. Look at what an awkward moment that is.

His "cool Britannia" philosophy has put Britain in a really odd position not only on the global stage, but within his own party. He is the lap dog of my President, an ultra conservative, and everyone knows it.

Beaverbrook said...

I agree with you, Republic of M, as you will note from my first comment. That holding hands awkwardness was a monumental embarrassment and anyone with a semi-serious disposition would have cringed when they saw it. No doubt millions thought it was a high point for the monarchy too, such is the cult of celebrity worship in our society. All I'm saying is that HM probably wasn't expecting it to turn into such a farcical spectacle when she chose to attend.

Spencer said...

She coulda just not held his hand?

Scott said...

The Queen is far too polite for that. I also think, if you watch the footage, it's easy to see how the confused horror arises.

James said...

Ah, it amuses me that republicans must blame the Monarch for *everything* just to have *something* to criticise her for. If she didn't hold hands: aloof, out of touch, cold bitch. If she does hold hands: toadie, poodle, doormat, etc. One wonders what Spencer's comments would be if on December 31, 1999, President Victoria Beckham was photographed holding hands in a sing-along with her prime minister.

James said...

Come to think of it, by the point the picture was taken it was probably already January 1, 2000.

Scott said...

Well said James. I just coughed with laughter (having something of a cold). Painful.

J.J. said...

I am just somewhat amused at the logical contradiction in some the arguments I am hearing here.

----
Argument 1: The Queen is good because she is apolitical, unlike those "grotty politicians"

But wait! Now the Queen is allegedly caught making anti-Labour political statements!

New Monarchist Argument: Well good, because it just shows that the Queen is a wise bulwark of conservatism.

Spencer: But what good are her values if she just goes along, uncritically, with whatever the Prime Minister of the day demands?

Monarchist: The Queen must put aside her politics in order to sustain the institution of the monarchy.
---

It's been said before, but it's worth repeating; the very fact that there ARE republicans around is evidence of the fact that the Queen is NOT an apolitical creature. Her very continued existence is a political matter, and a political controversy.

This site is very brazenly conservative, and being a conservative myself I don't disagree with all of the commentary on it. However, the manner in which the columnists of this site regularly correlate support for the crown with support for their own, rather rigid brand of Toryism (both partisan and not) seems to serve as pretty strong proof that there is nothing fundamentally apolitical about the monarchist cause. I'd be hard-pressed to think of a group of people who have done MORE to infuse partisanship into the crown debate.

James said...

In case you hadn't already noticed, in our constitutional monarchies debate about the Crown is not the same as the Crown getting involved in debate.

That the Queen harbours personal opinions (how could she not?) is of no matter - she knows that the best way to maintain governmental stability is to stay as much as she can out of political decisions, and as an unelected figure she will win no personal rewards by going against this tenet. Contrast this with any republican model, wherein the chance of the selfish motives of a chief executive trumping the need for stable government greatly increases.

The differences between the Pakistani (or French, or American, or Colombian, or, well, you get the point) head of state and the Canadian head of state are a prime illustration of the difference between a political and apolitical leader. You, JJ, should know this by now.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Millennium celebrations?

For those of us who can count the turn of the millennium was between December 31, 2000 and January 1, 2001, when I was in Gisborne, NZ.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

As for the term "constitutional monarchy," I agree that a monarchy where the monarch does not interfere in politics qualifies as such, but that is not a necessary feature of a constitutional monarchy.

Beaverbrook said...

I grant you that a not insignificant chorus of people are against our constitutional system, which therefore makes it a political matter, but "political controversy" goes a full length-and-a-half too far. There is no controversy whatsoever about the existence of our constitution, Her Majesty, or in the way our Queen goes about performing her public duties with complete bi-partisan affection. Notta.

The real matter here is not political, nor even monarchical - it's cultural. I don't support the Queen for political or intellectual reasons, but for deeply ingrained cultural and traditional motives. If you want to make our tradition and cultural identity a political issue, then I'm obliged to fight it. But I wouldn't judge all monarchists by the character of this litte old blog, which is, as you correctly point out, fogeyishly High Tory to the bone.

Scott said...

It's mistaken to argue that the Queen cannot possibly be apolitical because some people are of the political opinion that she should be abolished.

It unfortunately demonstrates a comically useless grasp of our countries' constitutions. The Monarchy is not and cannot be a political matter, given that the Monarchy *authors* and therefore resides outside the political structures of our nations - we have HM Government, the Loyal Opposition, &c, all the way down to the Armed Forces. Hence you aren't holding a political opinion - one sublimated and expressed through the elaborate systems of our Monarchical-licensed democracy, which comprehends both political organisation and practices like free speech (a *legal* right; and she legally guarantees our laws) - but an opinion that, in essence, refuses to recognise the entire substructure of your country.

The Queen might be mere background music to you; but trying to turn the record off involves more vandalism than you'd think.

Younghusband said...

The Queen never made these comments publicly, but in private, no doubt expecting confidence as the article makes clear. For someone whose first PM was Churchill, there are few who are as entitled to an opinion as her.
With everything she does under the media microscope, she surely must have been thinking at the time of the picture that she simply had no choice- she had had enough of the criticism of her being unfeeling and out of touch during the Diana ordeal.
Damned if one does, damned if one doesn't, she simply chose the one with the least distressing consequences to herself and the institution.

Spencer said...

Scott, the vandalism you allege is merely aesthetic. Every single man woman and child who knows anything about the monarchy knows they do nothing at all and, as such, removing the monarchy basically means changing names and letterhead and has no bearing on the actual working of anything at all. Getting rid of the monarchy would just be a reflection of reality.

J.J. said...

Beaverbrook is my favorite columnist because I think he's the most rational and plain-spoken. I agree wholeheartedly that the monarchy "issue" is primarily a cultural debate, and I think this blog does a good job at openly and unapologetically embracing the sort of Anglophilic, high-Tory culture that is naturally inclined to loyally defend and support the crown.

That being said, I believe this culture is clearly one which the majority of Canadians, Britons, Australians, etc have long since moved away from. Thus, lacking a firm grounding in this sort of cultural mentality, there is no longer a genuine foundation of support for the monarchy in the way there was in years past.

Trying to justify the monarchy on strictly political/constitutional terms makes for a very lame argument, and I think most of you know it. The Queen is such a thoroughly irrelevant political actor and her powers are so non-existent and trivial that I find debating the matter something of a farce. There is no compelling evidence that the constitutional monarchy system offers any real tangible benefits that cannot just as easily be accessed through some other republican arrangement.

So, at the end of the day the debate will always boil down to a cultural one, which is fine by me. The Monarchist blog fights for the monarchy on cultural grounds, which in my mind makes it a much more honest and worthy torch-bearer for the monarchist cause than any of the Commonwealth's various vacuous "monarchist leagues," and their empty, emotionless arguments.

Scott said...

The vandalism wouldn't be merely aesthetic: it would be translating a nation into a new one, as if moving, overnight, the entire population into a new country and culture, where everything is mildly familiar, but troublingly alien. And without a revolutionary war to bind the new symbols of state up with the hearts and history of men, you'd be left with a patriotism designed by politicians, a kind of ghoulish, if benign, quasi-Maoism.

I don't think you appreciate the dislocation consequent.

The Monarchy is cultural - and the difference between being the Queen's subjects, or a republic's citizens, different only in theory - but it remains perhaps the most potent and continuous cultural presence in our lives and history. The monarch is on our coins. The monarch is on our stamps. The monarch's crown is/was on our pint and half-pint glasses. The monarch is prayed for daily in our Church liturgy and C of E schools. The monarch opens our government every year. The monarch delivers an annual Christmas address watched by nearly every household. The monarch is saluted weekly by scouts. The monarch's arms are on the mastheads of most of our papers (eg. Times, Daily Mail). Etc, etc. It's hard to ignore them. And never forget the way in which kings from Alfred onwards are a continuous presence in histories and novels for young and old, providing whole walls of annual bestsellers.

I think it impossible that Britons would ever break faith with their history like that.

Canadians, unless very slowly manipulated into somehow forgetting the fact that they lay claim to just such an inheritance, are hardly going to either.

Spencer said...

Having grown up in Canada I can tell you most of what you say is false in regards to this country. Everyone I know, besides my mother (who supports a republic once Queenie dies), when asked about the monarchy really don't know what the deal is, and when I inform them they express either ambivelence or hostility. They view it as a waste of money and, rightly, something that has no effect on them. I say this having worked for the Conservative Party of Canada, working in the Federal government and having served in the Army Reserve (Reg Force in August), so I'm not just talking about my buddies from school.

What you say about patriotism designed by politicians is also false. All of the things that make being Canadian great and living in Canada great have nothing to do with the monarchy and have evolved on their own naturally.

I don't care what Britons do with their government. It's their business and if they want a monarch they can have one. I feel your idea of Britain is a little out of date by a few decades, but I don't live there and my entire experience of the place stems from a few friends of mine from there, and some friends who have visited. Oh and for the record when I asked a British friend of mine what Britons thought of the Queen he responded with "bugger all". An admittedly limited scope of inquiry I admit, but I think feelings of devotion towards her are far less universal than you believe.

James said...

"Trying to justify the monarchy on strictly political/constitutional terms makes for a very lame argument, and I think most of you know it."

You can't dismiss the arguments as irrelevant that easily, JJ. Monarchy - in various forms - has stuck around as a system of government for at least as many millennia as republics - in various forms - have, and, as much as your ilk dismiss monarchy as "outdated" and "antique," there's nothing to assert that it will not remain around for millennia to come. That length of existence proves there is a certain merit to its use.

We also can't ignore the general failure of republicanism over the past century (perhaps longer if we include France) to provide the security and permanence you say can be provided by any democratic republic as equally and easily as by any constitutional monarchy.

But, yes, beyond that, there are national paradigms at stake, and they too are extremely important. As unfashionable as it is (especially in Canada) to outwardly respect history and recognize on what our identity and long-standing stability is founded, suddenly remove or drastically alter those things without, as Scott says, the patriotic orgasm of revolution, and people will be left with a vacuous, politically correct, corporate replacement for what they, and their ancestors, have always been familiar with.

Of course, you'll try and make it sound as if the minute republican leagues of the Realms are fountains of chest-thumping, nationalistic rally cries; leaders of the People's revolution against the tyranny of colonial oppression - as opposed to the vapid monarchists with their outdated Forsey-ian theories. But that's merely your narrow-minded hubris showing through. In reality, as has already been pointed out, there is no controversy, no fight, not even a glimmer of interest - much as Canadians (and Britons) don't care about the Monarchy, they care less about any republican alternative. I think that if we’re all aware of anything, it’s that; and the evidence of republicans’ awareness of their lack of real backing of the populace lies in the fact that any move from monarchy to republic must be undertaken by stealth. Erase a little here, a little there, but shhh… don’t let anyone know. And why? Because Scott’s quite right: it’s impossible that Canadians would willingly discard what has been a part of their, and their ancestor’s, personal and national life for as long as they’ve known.

It seems that, in Canada at least, monarchy may have both political and emotional advantage over the republican option (whatever it may be).

James said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James said...

Sorry for the double post - can one be deleted?

Lord Best said...

The Monarchy of Great Britain drains all of one pound thirty three pence from the pockets of each of Her Majesty's subjects, taking the cost of the Monarchy as eighty eight million pounds as reported by The Guardian and the population of the United Kingdom as nearly sixty one million as of the 2007 census. An article on BBC.co.uk stated the actual post per subject was only 60p, but I cannot find the article at present.
I'm sorry but one and a half pounds from the pocket of each subject is hardly devestating. Eighty eight million pounds is also a mere drop in the ocean of a modern nations expenses, put an extra eighty eight million pounds into the education system and you will not see much improvement, even less in health.
For that eighty eight million pounds Great Britain gets a dignified, apolitical head of state who is bred for the job and is not reliant on nauseating popularity contests for the position. That is good value for money.
In addition, revenue generated by the Crown Estate amounted to one hundred and seventy million pounds.
It is perhaps interesting to note that in many European republics there is a growing support for restorations, 20% in France, the highest since 1877, and around 25% in Russia. A monarchy, once lost, is always regretted.

J.J. said...

I would agree that the financial argument is not terribly strong when viewed in context (hence why I did not bring it up). However, as a republican I believe any moneys spent on the rituals of the crown is money best spend elsewhere, just as I am sure you would not protest if the associated expenses doubled overnight.

"We also can't ignore the general failure of republicanism over the past century (perhaps longer if we include France) to provide the security and permanence you say can be provided by any democratic republic as equally and easily as by any constitutional monarchy."

I am tired of this argument because it is so inherently arbitrary. There are more republics than monarchies in the world, ergo there are more unstable republics, just as there are also more democratic republics. There are more of every kind of republic by virtue of the system being the overall more common one.

To definitively prove this "monarchy = stability" thesis one would have to find two roughly similar countries, one a constitutional monarchy, and one a republic, and evaluate their comparative histories over a set period of time. For example, we could take Ghana, which was a republic, and Sierra Leone, which was a Commonwealth Realm. During the period of the 60's and 70's both countries had several military coups and dictatorial regimes, despite their different systems. It suggests to me that their constitutional differences were ultimately irrelevant in the face of other, stronger domestic factors which led to the emergence of tyranny in both nations.

But like I said, this is a silly game to play. We both know the support is cultural. I don't believe support for the crown is nearly as culturally ingrained in the nation as you guys suggest. The fact that less than 10% of the populace can even name the Queen as Head of State seems to be a pretty clear gage of that fact

Spencer said...

I would suggest that people who claim the monarchy has some sort of cultural relevence in this country do not spend much time associating with average Canadians, who usually respond to any news from Rideau Hall with "get rid of her" and news from Buckinham Palace with.. well nothing.

James said...

"I am tired of this argument because it is so inherently arbitrary."

Perhaps you're tired of the argument because it's inherently true. Very few republics have the longevity of constitutional monarchies; and yes, constitutional monarchies have been overthrown - they're not completely impervious - but in how many cases was the republican result actually *better* that what was there before?

In fact, a number of monarchies were overthrown under the guise of nationalistic bombast and/or the liberation of the people, and look at many of the results. Of course, you want to address neither this, nor the evidence that Canadians (and Brits) just aren't interested in the fallacious promises and hollow patriotic posturing that republicans spew.

James said...

"I would suggest that people who claim the monarchy has some sort of cultural relevence in this country do not spend much time associating with average Canadians, who usually respond to any news from Rideau Hall with "get rid of her" and news from Buckinham Palace with.. well nothing."

The same people would react to news about the president's costs with the same comments, and to news from the presidential palace with a similar silence. Doesn't strengthen your argument for a republic in any way.

Spencer said...

That's not true at all.. People might think Bush is silly but I have literally never seen somenoe suggest we get rid of the position itself, or trash the White House. Hell, the French take great pride in the pomp and ceremony surrounding their president.

James said...

You have very selective observations, then.

J.J. said...

James-
if anything your argument is making the case against revolutions and coups rather than republics. An unconstitutional transfer of power is always bad news no matter what form it takes, be it a republican revolution by the military or clerics, a fascist revolution against a constitutional republic, or a Communist revolution against either system. But who's proposing any of that? If any Commonwealth republicans were proposing a systematic guillotining of the Windsors and establishing a Safety Committee in their place then your concerns would be valid. But we're not. All we want is a constitutional republic of some form, and the historical track record has clearly shown that mature democracies are more than capable of handling such a monarchy to republic shift.

Indeed, as far as a correlation between constitutional monarchies and democratization goes, I think a stronger piece of evidence is the fact that so few countries ever bother to restore or create a constitutional monarchy when they move to either restore or establish democracy and the rule of law.

Again, it's because the symbolic and cultural disadvantages of a monarchy dramatically outweigh the political benefits- which are practically non-existent.

Scott said...

Monarchies aren't often re-established because much of their stabilising - hence democratizing - power depends upon the established historical associations and continuity of the crown in the hearts and loyalties of their subjects.

Although, you miss an obvious example: the Restoration of the Crown with Charles II.

As for republics not being more unstable... that's absurd. Even France is on, what, it's fifth republic in just over two centuries?!

Republicanism, in throwing away the last vestiges of mystery and honour to something greater than the machinations of man, invites internal instability much more than Monarchism. If the government of man can be wholly re-made once, why not again, why not forever?

Spencer said...

This furthers my point that monarchists are living in the past. This stuff doesn't happen anymore, not in established Western democracies. It isn't a matter of monarchism versus republicanism but stable, etablished countries with democratic traditions as opposed to unstable countries with weak economies and little to no democratic traditions.

Anonymous said...

The restoration of Charles II is not even a great example of "bringing stability" considering that in the years subsequent England would go through two more dynasties and countless wars and constitutional reforms before achieving the political stability of today.

Lord Best said...

If stability is not an issue one way or the other, nor finances, why on earth do you actually want to get rid of the monarchy?
A head of state which links the current and future generations to over one thousand years of their history.
As I understand it, you do not like the idea of an unelected head of state? So for that rather small and insubstantial reason, you would strip current and future generations of a millenia of tradition. The gross arrogance of Republicanism is beyond belief.
We now have no right to destroy an institution which has survived a thousand years simply because a small number of idealogues today dislike it.

Anonymous said...

"Having grown up in Canada" as well, I can tell you some of us don't take kindly to a pulpit thumping junior edition "progressive" like Spencer, who pretends to speak for all of us based on a diligent examination of the lint collected in his navel.

Long live the Queen. And may her son have the good grace to immediately abdicate in favour of his more worthy progeny.

Burton

Drago said...

Burton,

Would that not entirley undermine the spirit of a hereditary Monarchy, thus reflecting badly apon the instituion itself.

J.J. said...

Lord Best-

I guess our concepts of history are quite different. I obviously do not believe that something which is old deserves protection or deference simply because it's hung around in some form for a long time. The British monarchy has transformed so dramatically over the last few centuries that it is now practically unrecognizable from whatever "original purpose" it could be said to been devised to serve. It is an admittedly flexible institution which has evolved to fulfill a large number of roles throughout different generations. In the present day, it's current role is to provide the nation with a powerless, hertitary head of state, a role which I obviously believe is no longer necessary or useful.

But listen, one cannot very well "poof" the monarchy out of existence. Should Britain become a constitutional republic tomorrow the monarchy will be still around. Those who wish to continue to follow the antics of the Windsor family or seek their sanction or charity will be able to continue to do so. The monarchy, in some sense, will still be "around," just as the deposed monarchies of other states are still "around" in some form today. It will have simply entered a new phase of its historical evolution, a phase in which the democratic state has grown mature enough to discard the last remnants of its non-democratic, aristocratic past, and thus divorce itself from its useless marriage to crown.

Call me a Whig is you must, but I believe none of this is disrespectful to history, but rather honors our history of growth and progress. Quintessentially British values, by the way.

It is only through our fortunate history of British colonization that Canadians are today a free enough people to realize the problems of the monarchical system, and debate alternatives.
There is certainly nothing anti-historical or anti-British about republicanism, the ideological tradition having originated in Britain itself, and having been around for as many centuries as there have been kings to rule.

spencer said...

I imagine you weren't exactly a popular kid in school, Burton :)

James said...

"It will have simply entered a new phase of its historical evolution, a phase in which the democratic state has grown mature enough to discard the last remnants of its non-democratic, aristocratic past..."

"Canadians are today a free enough people to realize the problems of the monarchical system, and debate alternatives."

And here's the proof of the arrogant assumption on the part of republicans that monarchy is inherently fraught with problems and utterly useless in this modern age, while republics are the absolute pinnacle of modernity, constitutional (and apparently intellectual) evolution, and thus have been crafted down to a perfectly functioning political machine.

Please. Spare us the condescension.

Scott said...

"I guess our concepts of history are quite different. I obviously do not believe that something which is old deserves protection or deference simply because it's hung around in some form for a long time".

Can you stop pretending to be a conservative then? You're a radical, by your own standards.

Spencer said...

There's no condescension at all, you guys are just perceiving slight where none exists. And there are different strands of conservatism, not just your guys' narrow Tory view of it.

J.J. said...

I'm a conservative because I believe in classical values such as common sense, rationality, fiscal restraint, individualism, and human dignity.

I reject the unscientific, irrational, unproven, collectivist doctrines of the socialist left, but also the equally irrational supersticions and tradition fetishes of the reactionary right. One would find people like me far closer to the mainstream of any modern conservative party than any of the authors on this site, which is simply part of my larger argument about republicanism being a natural component of a larger cultural evolution.

Scott said...

You're merely a pragmatic radical.

Anonymous said...

"I imagine you weren't exactly a popular kid in school"

You must mean a school populated by your illusory "average Canadians"?

I didn't attend that mythical institution, I'm afraid.

I got along with all the real folks just fine, though.

Burton

Spencer said...

He's not a damn radical. It's not radical to feel the same as roughly half the population.

And Burton, you must be living in a different Canada than me because barely any Canadians I've met even care about the monarchy, much less hold any affinity for it.

Scott said...

He is a radical. We don't just measure political positions next to what everyone presently believes, but against the historical positions of society, and against acknowledged political paramaters derived from political history and philosophy; that is, humanity and our various polities in the round.

P.S.

"It's not radical to feel the same as roughly half the population."

Er, by many historical definitions of the political radicalism this is EXACTLY what it is to be a radical: temperamental, following the herd, and a leveller.

P.P.S.

I remember rather unpleasant and tiresome spats with spencer in the past. Can we all ensure this doesn't go that way? Remember that these blog comment threads are not important chapters in any of our's or our nation's lives: they will not move anyone onto anything new, so don't act as if, were this taking place a few centuries ago, you were about to issue a duel.

JJ said...

By 19th century standards we're all radicals now.

Scott said...

Speak for yourself.

JJ said...

Do you believe in a woman's right to vote and work in any career she chooses? Do you believe minority races are not genetically inferior to the white race? Do you believe the franchise should be enjoyed by all citizens regardless of wealth or property? Do you believe that Africans, Indians, Asians, et al deserve to govern themselves? Do you believe that child labour is wrong?

Well then you my friend are a radical too.

Scott said...

You have a very amusing and wrong-headed understanding of 19th century history and politics. The political radicals of that century were hardly defined by those positions; your present-tense disregard of tradition and the past is exactly the kind of ultimately self-eating, destabilizing, violent ignorance they possessed. Your principles are true to theirs.

As it happens, I do "believe" all of those things. But my belief in them - or anyone else's in the 19th century - is immaterial. I would also advocate them; perhaps they wouldn't. That is the difference. Were I living then I probably wouldn't advocate them either. To do so all at once, when there was little democratic urge for it, or ready infrastructure or tradition to cope with it, would have been folly. It would have been, you know - radical.

Such changes were enabled mostly by the first and second world war, events which provided the necessary upheaval and reorganisation, but at the obvious parallel cost of vast and lasting societal trauma. Without those conflicts I doubt they'd have happened.

It is fundamentally radical to go around picking your complicated and sudden political realignments, and enforcing them without a universal mandate (republicanism is minority sport).

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Some of the comments of "J.J." have been posted here.

JJ said...

I apologize if I am stringing out this debate for too long. For what it's worth, I am quite enjoying it. You guys often come off as quite angry, but I want you to know that from my perspective at least, I bear no personal ill-will. Indeed, I very much admire this site's commitment to intellectual debate on this topic, as opposed to the message board of the Monarchist League of Canada, which famously shuts down any dialouge that dares deviate from their party-line orthodoxy in the slightest way.

But anyhow...

Evidently, the republican cause is a radical one because it espouses "sudden political realignments." But wait, haven't we evil republicans been devilishly pursuing "republicanism by stealth" over the last few decades? And, as has often been pointed out but never responded to, have we not been successful to the point where the role of the crown in contemporary Canada is now notoriously misunderstood, or not known at all? It is hardly radical to espouse the elimination of the monarchy at a point where it's contemporary relevance is already so marginal and we are already so close to the goal.

Bu I strongly object to your larger thesis, Scott. Namely that one should not espouse change when there is no "democratic urge" or "ready infrastructure" to accommodate it. I don't call that conservatism or anything else admirable. I call that cowardice, and being a subservient follower, rather than a leader. Any man in the 19th Century who kept his mouth shut when one of the worthy causes above were being debated was a wimp whose values are not worth emulating.

If a cause is just, a person should fight for it with passion and bravery, no matter how popular or unpopular it may be at any given time. In a democratic nation such as ours, minds can always be changed through the power of argument and persuasion. It is very much the game we are currently engaged in, on both sides of the fence.

Scott said...

"I call that cowardice"

How about modesty?

Younghusband said...

60+ comments. But of these, how many deal with the issues referred to in the indictment on Blair's 10 years of misrule? Has Blair, the elected representative of the people (and who gives off every impression of presidency which alone should negate calls for such an office)not "meddled unnecessarily in Britain's heritage, including the reform of the House of Lords"? Is the Union not in more danger and instability than at any other time? Has he not undermined the Armed Forces?
Who then defends Blair, rather than criticise our national institution?

Rafal Heydel-Mankoo said...

I certainly regard Tony Blair as the the arch-villain in this lamentable state of affairs. He is a modern day Alaric leading a Visigoth cabinet. It is no hackneyed trophe of speech to state that he has wreaked more havoc upon the strength and unity of this nation than any other British-born individual in our long and ancient history.

If in 1997 I were to stand on a milk crate at Speaker's Corner and declare that within 10 years we would see the millenia-old office of Lord Chancellor castrated and on the verge of abolition; an act of hereditary-cleansing in the House of Lords leaving the institution in a ravaged state, neither fish nor fowl; the stealth-like erosion of our sovereignty through the imposition of European conventions and laws that in reality establish an EU constitution in all but name; the abandonment of our beloved regiments; the rapid creation of an Orwellian police state through the creation of ID cards, the imposition of limits on our most cherished rights of habeas corpus and the right to free public protest, and an attempt to remove the right to trial by jury; and the beginning of the end of the Union through devolution, I would be regarded as an extremist and scare-monger.

As a former Canadian resident I could see Tony Blair embarking upon the same failed policy of "appeasement" that his Canadian counterparts had embraced in earlier years with Quebec. Appeasement never succeeds: those whom it is intended to satiate become ever more ravenous. It was clear from the outset that the creation of a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly would stir Scots and Welsh nationalism and place further pressure upon the strength of Union. I have little doubt that the judgement of history shall fall heavy and hard upon this Presidential Prime Minister.

Scott said...

I agree with all of the above, with great despondency.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

I have heard that PM Blair has "reformed" the House of Lords to be more like the Canadian Senate, in that it is now a corrupted institution where political hacks and out-of-work politicians are given patronage appointments to sit there. Is this true?

If so, then he has turned the once illustious House of Lords into a House of Ill Repute.

Scott said...

It is true.