”I went out onto the streets of my native Birmingham shortly after watching half an hour of Huw Edwards being solemn on the BBC and, I have to say, no one seemed to be crying or, indeed, much concerned”
So this is how you think history works? Go in the streets and see how wild the reaction of the regular people is in their day to day coming and going? I can guess everyone of them reflected back on their life in relation to the Monarchy for some amount of time. Many thought long and hard on it, recalling moments of their life in light of the Monarch. Most would picture the queen, think on what the death made them think – think of Charles, and obviously Markle, and Harry, and Andrew and various thoughts on other things related. Every person in almost all the world took a moment to reflect on that death.
”Perhaps one day historians will recognize that the most important constitutional commentator of the period was not Sir Simon Schama or Lord Hennessy but Johnny Rotten, who marked the Silver Jubilee of 1977 with the words: “She ain’t no human being.””
This article is more part of the death knell of our University System than the Monarchy. We saw what the Queen stood for, and we see what the universities stand for, and we think you guys are the problem, not the King.
“She ain’t no human being.””
Very astute of both Johnny Rotten and the writer, I think.
If a certain (probably soon to be former) chip shop owner in Muir of Ord be believed, she was in fact a shape shifting lizard being. So maybe Mr. Rotten was right.
Indeed. A history professor who pokes his head into a Birmingham street and finds nobody crying or, indeed, much concerned? What? This despite Aston Villa lurking just above relegation? This is a professor who doesn’t know what real research is.
The paroxysms of the armchair monarchists at the slightest criticism of their God-Queen are fascinating
“Paroxysms.” Where do you see this? In the article itself, or the comments?
1. James I was not a bad monarch, nor was Charles a catastrophe. James was decent, and Charles was a decent man who had a shir heap for a parliament,
2. This guy is a shit historian.
Maybe, but the story is not a historical lesson. Though the idea he’s working towards is in history.
James Stewart was an unwashed, greedy, h*mosexual Scotch bigot, obsessed by witchcraft, yet rated as the “brightest fool in Christendom “ by his contemporaries. It is very sad that Guy Fawkes & Co didn’t manage “ to blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains “.
As for Charles Stewart, a complete cretin responsible for the worst civil war this country has ever endured. Need I say more?
“James Stewart was an unwashed, greedy, h*mosexual Scotch bigot, obsessed by witchcraft,”
He also had a bad side.
Yes, he couldn’t abide tobacco!
Yes but don’t (old history now gone). Blowing up the houses of Parliament is a little excessive: let the punishment fit the crime as Gilbert and Sullivan noted
A Scottish bigot, if you please. Scotch is the beverage with which one bookends one’s evening repast.
Utterly wrong about Charles I. This was a critical turning point in British history – do we stick with a powerful but incompetent king or prefer a competent and professional parliament. Fortunately we chose competence and thrived as a result.
It is not enough for a king to be “decent”.
Charles I was actually devious and untrustworthy and whilst arguable “decent” as a person was not so as a leader.
“ … it needs to get away from an emphasis on the supposed personal qualities of any individual King or Queen and rest once again on the abstract quality of the Crown.”
I think this is true. It seems very much like the decline of Christianity. The more human God and the church became, the more it failed to have meaning. The Crown is an abstract quality heading the same way. Elizabeth became more human in our eyes, and Charles more so with his human foibles. I think it’s the mystery men and women in the street have been struggling to elucidate when interviewed. Only actions can really explain this, like the bowing of the head, and all the other acts of respect and dignity carried out on the day of Elizabeth being taken to Westminster. It’s sad, but more than likely true, that the Crown, as we know it, is going. Sad because without it we are lesser. In a way we are bereft without understanding why.
Nonsense, we should look forward.
Ancient Rome ‘binned’ its last King, a certain Lucius Tarquinius Superbus in 509BC/244AUC and went on to far greater things, as you must recall.
Once we have disposed of this Anglo-German “rent a mob”, we can enter a new golden age and even perhaps have a true Conservative Government. For far too long we have gazed at the Brunswick Hotel in the vain hope of inspiration.
Yes the Romans replaced one king with a republic, then under Augustus created a new one under a different name. Long live the Emperor! Of course Julius his old dad, might have usurped him but for old friends knifing him in the back.
That Republic lasted for nearly five centuries.
Incidentally Julius Caesar was NOT the father of Augustus but rather his great uncle.
“The more human God and the church became, the more it failed to have meaning.“ The Christian God literally became a human carpenter who experience the full breadth of emotion. Seems pretty meaningful to me?
Yes, he became too human. If it was meaningful, as you put it, then why is Christianity in decline?
I am unsure what you mean Brett
By becoming human God lost the great power of a god that lived in peoples imaginations: his omnipotence. A carpenter is about as common as you can get. It’s a long curve to the church losing it relevance and then trying to make itself relevant to the people by trying to be more popular. Once again the slippage is there. The idea of God/The Crown is that they are not one of us. And then the church became community centres. How can someone feel the presence of God there? I know it’s the work of God, but it’s not God. So, by becoming too human Christianity slipped into decline. The same for The Crown. “She ain’t no human being.”
Christ became man because only a man could pay the punishment of man’s sins. He was both God and man (I am both a mother and grandmother – but of course not perfect!!!) Only a perfect man could pay that price because otherwise he would be dying for his own sins.
You are right that a carpenter is as common as you can get; also the point so that people could identify with him.
I hope, and expect that, if Prince Charles had broken his neck in 1976, we would now be awaiting the coronation of Queen Anne. The monarchy has always been pragmatic and the ending of male primogeniture could easily have been made retrospective.
As for ‘a state church’; that was the point of the Church of England. If it ceases to be that, it is nothing.
“Perhaps one day historians will recognise that the most important constitutional commentator of the period was not Sir Simon Schama or Lord Hennessy but Johnny Rotten …”
Oh, come on! Cut the crap if you aspire to be taken seriously!
That line about Johnny Rotten is very good I think. Elizabeth was not a woman, she was The Crown. That’s a truth, I think. Which means that The Crown is bigger than the individual.
“If it (the monarchy) is to do so (survive), it needs to get away from an emphasis on the supposed personal qualities of any individual King or Queen and rest once again on the abstract quality of the Crown.”
That would be nice, but it won’t happen. Old women (of both sexes) are too wrapped up in hagiography for a person or people they have never met, will probably never meet, and who would not give them the time of day. Hoi polloi like their heroes and ‘strong leaders’ whether kings, pop stars, film stars, or tyrants (that nice Mr Stalin) and the monarchy knows this and plays to the gallery, because God forbid that the royals should appear in the street and the people should boo.
The plebs like the idea that their monarchs should be clever (or not actually stupid) and kind and any contradictory evidence will be completely ignored. Charles’s outburst at the leaky pen has been widely excused because “he’s under a lot of pressure”. It couldn’t actually be the case that he is a petulant toddler prone to tantrums, could it? And he must be clever, like his brother Edward – after all, they both went to Cambridge, didn’t they?
“after all, they both went to Cambridge, didn’t they?”
Yes they did, under rather controversial circumstances it must be said. As expected both performed poorly.
You might recall an episode of The Goons where Neddie Seagoon was sitting with Eccles in a waiting room at the BBC waiting for a job interview. Eccles declares he will get the job “Because I’m wearing a Cambridge tie”. Neddie asks “What did you do at Cambridge?”
” I bought a tie.”
Sorry, not a totally accurate quote, and somewhat off topic, but it made me smile at the time.
Those were the days when ‘we’ still had a sense of humour, and could laugh at ourselves
Yes indeed!!! Those were the days . . . the pre-woke period!
He’s both under a lot of pressure and prone to tantrums. There have been other examples (his clattering of the documents on the table as he signed the articles of Procession at St.James Palace for instance, in front of the world’s media).
But the most egregious example must be his sacking of the servant who failed to provide his shaving water at precisely the right temperature one morning, when he obviously “got out of the wrong side of the bed”. That was some time ago now, when he was perhaps only in his forties. Maybe he’s grown up a bit since? I sincerely hope so, because i wish him well, for all our sakes.
“get away from an emphasis on the supposed personal qualities of any individual King or Queen and rest once again on the abstract quality of the Crown”
It would be fairly difficult to interest most people in the ‘abstract quality of the Crown’. On the other hand, one of things going for a Royal Family is personal, which is that they have a lot of training within the family before they have to assume a unique role.
“It would be fairly difficult to interest most people in the ‘abstract quality of the Crown’.”
But that’s how it’s been for centuries, don’t you think?
What do you think that unique role might be?
“What do you think that unique role might be?”
A question way beyond my paygrade – let’s hope a constitutional expert chimes in with a proper answer. The role has been changing – once upon a time the sovereign had all the power, but over time that transferred to the government, to all the organs of ‘the state’, and the Crown has become just the symbol of that power, plus a symbol of the nation and its institutions. So the Crown now represents the people to themselves as well as to foreigners. Also a visible, living connection to history.
“and the Crown has become just the symbol of that power, plus a symbol of the nation and its institutions. “
Not an empty symbol, though, presumably. An interesting question though: the Crown represents the people to themselves. What is that? ?
Have a look at the Queen’s Christmas message.
“that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.”
This seems to be the crux of the message. It doesn’t seem to address my query, though.
When I wrote ‘represents the people to themselves’ I was thinking of all the better aspects of ourselves – often seen in the Xmas message: family values (the photos on the desk), inspiring messages of how people had overcome difficult circumstances during the year with self-sacrifice, doing one’s duty, dedication to community, recognition of the armed forces etc., then the Christian message … all delivered in perfect sentences. I suppose these days we could say that the current generation of the Royal Family more accurately represents who we actually are (sigh).
Okay. So really, just people like ourselves?
Not in so far (as I wrote earlier) as they are trained from birth to fulfill a particular role, to identify themselves with the traditions of the country and to uphold/demonstrate certain values.
But we were brought up to ‘look up’ to people in those sort of positions and so only so much was revealed about their lives. That’s all changed now. History, institutions, people – all get torn down. We’ll see how it goes.
To add fig leaf of respectability to the otherwise rampantly sordid, grubby world of politics.
What is it that makes commentator and academics turn out these dull and inaccurate articles at these times? This is an especial corker, starting with the nonsensical analysis of James I.
Please, no more; move onto something else. Birmingham, supposing the Prof knows more of that than constitutional history, though recent reviews of his new book suggest he doesn’t.
I find myself agreeing with his conclusion and it’s an idea that’s being developing from reading the comments here for different articles. It’s possible that you missed the point of his article. Or you believe it’s better for Monarchs to be considered as just like us but with a bit more money. And in that case you’ve passed up the idea of The Crown. And then what?
Remember that if Prince Charles had broken his neck playing polo in 1976, we would now be awaiting the coronation of King Andrew.
That is the best, and most succinct, argument I’ve ever seen against hereditary monarchy.
I’ll give you a list of recent President’s of the Republic of GB&NI that we’ve managed to avoid. Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May & Johnson. Careful what you wish for!
I don’t like any of them, either. But none of them would have been president for life. What the people vote in they can vote out again, four years later.
Imagine King Andrew, a head of state who would not dare to visit the US because the FBI want to speak to him about the trafficking of girls for sex. Heredity can give you a wrong’un, and he’s yours for life.
Ah but Andrew would have been ‘beaten into shape’ as the heir apparent, and not indulged as the spoilt brat he has turned out to be.
Its the old “supposing if…” game, Prince Andrew would have been 15 at the time of this theoretical death. Thenceforth his life would have been very different, trained to serve as future monarch, a mother and father carrying grief and loss, no front line service in the Falklands, probably a different wife, certainly different cares and responsibilities. Life would have been different, more than that we cannot tell
Ah yes. If Andrew hadn’t served in the Falklands he’d have never lost his ability to sweat. Never would he have sought out high class pimps as his best friends.
He might have proved a fine king, but we’ll never know.
The really big question here is will the Scotch return THE STONE OF SCONE to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of Charles III?
This War Trophy was seized by Edward I during his conquest of Scotland in the late 13th century. It remained In Westminster Abbey a part of the Coronation Chair/Throne until the 1990’s when the utterly pathetic John Major had it scandalously returned to Scotland as a sop to Scotch Nationlists.
Will Sturgeon & Co return it as promised in 1990’s agreement? I very much doubt it.
I support most of what you have said on this thread, but I wonder if your use of ‘the Scotch’ is a deliberate attempt to cause mild offence (most prefer ‘the Scots’, though for no good reason, I admit). If it is deliberate, it does you no credit, and disappoints me. Are you one of those people who refer to ‘Britain’ as ‘England’?
I just happen to prefer the perhaps archaic version as used by Fawkes and others.
Additionally we still call it Scotch Corner (on the AI) not Scots Corner do we not?
As for England and Great Britain, two entirely different geographical entities.
OK – I can live with that. As long as you are not exemplifying “He only does it to annoy/Because he knows it teases.”
Scotch corner is, of course, not in Scotland, and I think we have to make allowances for anything in Yorkshire, which is the ultimate ‘special case’. (You will no doubt be aware of the advice for foreigners “Never ask an Englishman if he comes from Yorkshire. If he doesn’t, he will be offended, and if he does, he has already told you – twice.”)
England and GB are not just different geographically, of course. One of my personal dislikes is where those who are British citizens (holders of British passports) who describe themselves as English or Scottish when they are clearly neither in an ethnic sense. That might change if the UK breaks up, of course, when it will be geographical residence which will be the overriding factor.
Let’s not go there : let’s just praise the god diversity.
‘You can always tell a Yorkshireman; but you can’t tell him much.’
You blaspheme Madam.
No greater expert than Dr Samuel Johnson normally used the expression Scotch, and we still don’t refer to it as Scots Whiskey or for that matter Scots Egg do we?
I know it may irritate some of the Scotch but they have notoriously thin skin on this subject. A case of Small Nation Paranoia (SNP) perhaps?
Your final point on diversity is well made and ultimately it is, and has been for more than three centuries, the great strength of this nation of ours.
Diversity was fine up until about 10 years ago now there’s too much of it.
Yes, we seem to have forgotten that great adage of the Ancient Greeks: “Moderation in all things”.
Tony Blair has taken a knighthood.
But so did John Major!
A couple of points…
“No serious observer doubts the monarchy serves the interests of the Conservative party”
Given the Conservatives haven’t really been bothered about conserving anything for at least 40 years, and have basically turned the UK into a theme park for wealthy foreign oligarchs, I think this is debatable at least and needs much more substantiating. At any rate, even if it’s true, it amounts to an appropriation of the imagery of the monarchy by the Tories for their own purposes, and is separate from whether or not the monarchy is really ‘apolitical’ (by which I assume the author means ‘non-partisan’).
“The creation of a written constitution”
Pedantic point, but we already do have a written constitution; it’s just not written as a single document. I assume the author means a codified constitution.
It’s a shame, really, as I was interested to check out his book on Birmingham. But these basic errors in fact and logic have put me off a bit.
People aren’t reading these anti monarchy articles are they? Good.
The Royal Queen or King has a Quality job.
Before anything is signed off, an interview of the job’s difficulties is queried – what went right, what went wrong, what might go wrong in the future etc..
The Queen has brought stability to the country because of her long reign and neutral stance. Within the next few months the destabilising of the ‘transient’ young will only lead to even more instability in the country as the country went strike mad with the removal of Boris. Brexit was a stupid move as would be the independence of Scotland and for the same reason, which reflects this loss of cohesion as is happening with the old colonial empire as well: Better together chanted David Davies, so why are we falling apart?
Boris deserved to be removed, at the end of the day he turned out to be a pathetic weakling. Damnatio Memoriae is the best he can hope for.