There ought to have been a picture of the Queen somewhere at the club I went to last night. Until very recently it was the Conservative Club, but they are reaching out to the community now and want a more diverse range of members. Fair enough… except that their membership forms still state that you have to be a Tory! Still at least we didn’t have to sit staring at a portrait of Thatcher. I would not have been able to digest my beer.
A picture of the Queen, however, does not inspire such unmixed bile. I have very mixed feelings about the monarchy, partly because the whole thing is so finely balanced: the Queen is phenomenally rich and until recently paid no tax: however no amount of money would compensate me for not having a life that is my own. Frankly I feel sorry for the royals – it’s hard to be anything but dysfunctional when you grow up in such a household.
The Queen does seem to have a genuine sense of duty. We may not share it – we may even find it sterile and pointless, but I can’t help feeling some level of respect for it all the same. And it’s an odd balancing act, the monarchy. On the one hand, she has phenomenal powers. On the other hand, she would almost certainly lose them if she ever attempted to use them. It would precipitate a constitutional crisis and the beginning of the end of the monarchy.
I can’t help worrying about Charles though. He seems like someone who would use his powers, if only to save badgers. But there’s no great appetite for a Charles III and the Queen seems determined to live as long as possible and deny him the opportunity anyway. But the monarchy, if it is to survive, must modernise and slim down, along the lines of other European monarchies. Will seems the person for that job, but we’ll see.
But I simply can’t understand the kind of fawning royal-worship the likes of Nicholas Witchell and Barbara Windsor seem to go in for. Don’t these people have lives of their own?
It has also been noted today, on the day ER takes over from Victoria as the longest-reigning monarch, that all those with the greatest longevity have all been women. Sure, women live longer than men, but is there more to it than that?
I’ll have to leave you there as I’m off to tread the outer edges of the Soar near Barrow. I’m meeting Jan, who I know for sure is a republican. It’s unlikely we will be toasting Her Madge…