This festive period I took some time off from my duties with National Rust …
[Actually no, let me begin that again. The unvarnished truth is that I have no duties on the Rust, whose creed is about as loose – and therefore as liberating – as you could possibly find in the world of journalism and comment. I cannot speak for other contributors to this great organ, but my personal brief, as first handed down, was to contribute whenever I feel I have something to confide or impart – and otherwise keep quiet. It hasn’t changed to this day.]
This festive period, having nothing particular to say, I ‘went to ground’ and simply pigged out, eating and partying too much, and deliberately resting my brain. This stuff is all relative, of course. My brain – with its constantly reducing capacity for work and focus – is pretty rested most of the time anyway.
This last weekend I figured that I ought to get myself into gear and so began taking an interest in the world of British politics. The year that has just begun (2015) could be a seminal one, given our imminent first ‘five year fixed term’ General Election and the great degree of uncertainty flying about as to the likely outcome. For the past six months the pundits have been indulging in a period of ever-wild speculation and exploration of the maddest possible options … subsequent horse-trading … and even the medium-term chaos that could spring from the result in May.
To be honest, although I haven’t yet formed my own view of what I think that will be, I do know one thing – I’m going to enjoy watching it all playing out.
That’s all I wished to register today.
In the meantime, I have two articles I wish to recommend to my readers.
Someone close to the editor of the Rust once gave me this advice: if you cannot say anything original, or you find that someone else can articulate your thoughts better than you can, keep your own counsel and say nothing.
Accordingly, here they are:
First up is an article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown that I spotted this morning on the website of The Independent.
I feel I must introduce it with a declaration of interest.
I am marginally against the institution of the monarchy. Reduced to its simplest of terms, the idea that some person – some family – has an eternal hereditary right to ‘rule’ over the rest of us seems to me to be illogical and just plain wrong. Especially when, if you bother to look into the history, the basic principle is shot full of holes by the number of times that force of arms, happenchance and indeed straightforward practical necessity have played their part in determining who – and which family – has this supposed right at any particular time.
I have nothing against the present Queen. I don’t know her and it seems to me that, broadly-speaking, she’s done little wrong – indeed, a lot right – and has done nothing to offend anyone. Better than that, she’s done her best to avoid all controversy and largely succeeded. This seems to me to be the one and only modus operandi that could conceivably justify an argument in favour of retaining a British monarchy.
Then again, I’m not a fan of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. A highly-privileged man, he has somehow deluded himself that his right to express his views on subjects of his choice ought to have greater weight with the powers-that-be than mine, or indeed yours. This goes against my guiding thrust that the monarchy is just about tolerable, but only if it remains seen and not heard.
There’s believed to be a common public perception in Australia, which I’ve also personally heard expressed by Australians to me, that, whilst firmly fond of the Queen herself, that country will instantly go republic if ever Prince Charles succeeds her. I know people who know Prince Charles and who say he’s much (and unfairly) maligned and that in reality he’s a good bloke. Frankly, I prefer the general public perception that he’s just an over-indulged, averagely-intelligent, toff with a heavily-pronounced sense of entitlement.
Anyway, here it Yasmin Alibhai Brown’s article – THE MONARCHY
THE COMING GENERAL ELECTION
Andrew Rawnsley is a thought-provoking and always-worth-reading political pundit.
I need waste no time introducing his latest piece which (I presume) was originally written for The Observer and I first saw this morning on the website of The Guardian – see here – THE GUARDIAN