Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Royal Family abhors a vacuum - and the Labour Party has provided one

Back in the 1950s, the BBC used to lead off the evening News with a deferential report on what the Queen had been doing that day even if the world was in chaos.

Recently, I have been struck by the fact that The Times now runs a front page Royal story every day. This is obviously a policy. But why?

The Royal Family - the Firm - never misses a trick to entrench its position - or re-entrench it after a set-back (Charles as heir to the throne, Death of Diana, Prince Harry's antics, Prince Edward's antics, Prince Andrew's antics ....)

Mr Cameron is very much on their side (he has been very obliging with Days Orff for flag waving this year and next) but the big asset at present is the disappearance of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. They don't make the front page every day. How could they? They don't know what they are opposed to, if anything, or why. They are not photogenic or telegenic.

So into the vacuum The Firm has stepped. And they are working hard at it. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been despatched to Canada to whittle down the strength of sentiment for a Republic. Australia next. Some good work done by the Boss in the Republic of Ireland, and so on.

Of course, all this work is not disinterested. They expect a reward - and it seems they are going to get it. In place of the "Civil List" they are now going to take a percentage of the income from the Crown Estates. Guess when they handed over the Crown Estates to the state? Back in 1760.

You could look at this way. They have succeeded in putting the clock back 250 years. Not bad for one Royal Wedding and a publicity campaign in The Times.

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PS. I forgot. There is someone else trying to fill the vacuum created by the absence of a political opposition to the ConLib coalition: Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. He has a very good case to be regarded as Leader of the Opposition: London's eight million people basically pay for the rest of the UK.

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