Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 21/06/03


I just knew that this subject would crop up sooner or later...

William Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Battenburg (or 'Mountbatten-Windsor' as they insist on calling themselves) deigned to pay a teensy-weensy visit to our benighted land last week, in the company of his father, Charles, Prince of Absentee Landlords. Presumably Charles kept saying to him, "One day, my boy, all this will be yours".

I am a republican. There, I've said it again (see here). I've never understood why being one should still be considered something to be furtive about. I would have thought that being a monarchist is a greater reason for shame.

For consider what monarchism entails: it means that you believe that a person (or even an entire family of them) is in some way intrinsically better than you are (always has been, always will be) simply on the grounds of birth or heredity. It doesn't matter whether the individuals concerned are thicker than a docker's packed lunch, more lacking in morals and social values than your average council-estate smack-dealer, or more buggy than a Microsoft v1 release; they are our superiors, and that's all there is to it.

Ponder what this says about monarchists. These are people who get off on the notion that someone has an innate superiority to them, and who have multiple orgasms at the thought of being in the presence of these strange creatures, or even in the same county during the same month as them. What sort of lack of self-respect does this imply on their part?

For the essential element in monarchism, as with theistic religions, is serfdom. It implies that a crown (even of thorns), a throne (even in the clouds) and a lot of land (even of the Promised variety) give the wearer/occupier an innate superiority over everyone else, irrespective of the qualities (or lack of them) of that individual. And so we reach a situation where nobody's actual merit matters - they can be as moral, kindly or talented as any paragon you can imagine; they don't count for much because they don't come from the right family! Astonishing! It's as if democracy had never been re-invented. It's certainly as if the racial theories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries had never been in any way discredited by their own absurdity and crudity.

We in this colony of the defeated some call Wales seem to have a very bad dose of this affliction when it comes to the tiara-monde. Having not had even a middle-ranking nobility to call our own since about 1450 (careerists as they were, they piddled off after the Tudors grabbed England), we seem to be delighted to be able to drool after someone else's. And wasn't this on full show last week? You can tell, even with the sound down, when those glorified bus conductors called 'news presenters' are about to bring us a royal story; their faces contort into a rictus simper which looks, to these eyes at least, to be one eighths calculated insincerity and seven-eighths artificial sweetener.

And so we had it. The ingredients were all there: the swarming crowds (all of about 150 people, about 1.6% of the population of Bangor - now you know where the US got the idea for that 'statue-toppling' photo-op in Baghdad from); the gummy grannies with their best macs on; and, worst of all, the schoolchildren corralled in to sing. We rightly object to children being propagandised by politics, but isn't this every bit as political? Our next generation is being taught the politics of licky-licky, sucky-sucky, tuggy-tuggy to these parasites, whilst at the same time being taught little if anything of the history of the country in which they are growing up. Scenes like that drive me to despair. If not rage.

Monarchism, like all forms of know-your-place-you-worm-ism, is a form of social illness. It prevents people from thinking about what they themselves are and what they might achieve; it encourages passivity and a sense of inferiority; and it more deeply entrenches a system of deference and inequality which means that those at the bottom tend to have to stay there.

Of course, in the eyes of those at the top, this may be The Point. It's time for the serfs to grow up.