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Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Hereditary Principle for Dummies

In managed democracies like the United Kingdom well brought up politicians never ever name-call voters. They may call each other by all kinds of cruel and unnecessary epithets but the voters must always be Respected. Mr Gordon Brown greatly assisted his own downfall by name-calling Mrs Duffy. "Bigot" he muttered and, whether accurate or not, it destroyed him as a Man of the People.

The trouble with this principle of Respect is that it allows the electorate as a whole to bask in the complacent sense that it knows best and is always right, even when it changes its mind from one day to the next (the day after a General Election, for example). Moreover, this intellectual superiority requires of the voter no arduous study of history or politics or economics, no knowledge of capitals and presidents, no familiarity with maps or statistics. It is the hereditary birthright of anyone destined to become a Voter.

Today, the Guardian reports its own Poll which finds that when asked what they think should happen when Queen Elizabeth II abdicates or dies, 10% think the country should become a Republic; 39% think that Prince Charles should succeed to the throne; and 48% think that Prince William should become King.

There is, of course, a broad constituency of William fans. All the girls who wanted to marry him but didn't and now want to marry Prince Harry. The many fans of Princess Diana and haters of The Other Woman. The readers of Mills and Swoon novels. But perhaps most importantly of all, in this case, all those who have watched and voted in one too many television talent contest - I understand there are many such though my own familiarity is confined to the Eurovision song contest though I find it hard to imagine Prince William in that context. His father, perhaps, on drums, but not the son unless perhaps as backing vocals in some boy band (Eurovision boy bands can accommodate the balding not-quite-so-young)

In any case, all these people who have given their solemn opinion (subject to revision if William cheats with Another Woman), all these people have decided that they want a hereditary head of state but not Charles. Yes, the head of state should descend in the blood line of the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas; but, No, not the one whose turn it is.

It is rather as if a taxi driver approaching the rank was obliged to pick his passenger from the waiting queue, but at liberty to choose the totty at Number Two in preference to the old git at Number One.

My own choice is unambiguous. A Republic and, if we aren't allowed that, well then Charles (on drums if necessary) because the newspapers and the BBC will not flood us with quite so much drivel as they would if it was William.

1 comment:

  1. Whoever happens to be the head of state will line his/her own pockets at the state's expense, so you might as well have a hereidary monarch - who will at least do it with a bit of style.