UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 25, 2009

RECOVERED HISTORY: ICON OF THE BRITISH MONARCHY

Johann Hari, Independent, UK - It must be exhausting to be a monarchist, forever finding ways to pretend a family of cold, talentless snobs are better than the rest of us. . . . The system of monarchy - selecting a head of state solely because of the womb they passed through, and surrounding them with sycophants from the moment they emerge - produces warped and dim people and demands that we scrape before them. What's a poor monarchist to do? They can only lavish a thick cream of adjectives - "dignity", "charm", "majesty" - over the Windsor family in the hope that some of us are fooled.

This process corrupts even the most intelligent monarchists. A strange case study is the new, authorised, 1,000-plus pages biography of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the "Queen Mother") by William Shawcross. He is a smart man: his study of the secret bombing of Cambodia by Henry Kissinger is extraordinary. Yet as a monarchist he has an impossible task. He has to present a cruel, bigoted snob who fleeced millions from the British taxpayer as a heroine fit to rule over us. His mind turns to mush. . .

The most striking aspect to Shawcross's biography is that, once she had contrived to marry, Elizabeth really didn't do anything else for the rest of her life except spend, spend, spend - our money. He has to pad out whole decades. She didn't even raise her own children: she would see them for an hour a day and get them to chant: "We are not supposed to be normal. We are not supposed to be normal." But to be fair, she did do one more thing. In her spare time, she supported far-right politics. She was a passionate defender of appeasing Adolf Hitler, lobbying behind the scenes to garner support for Neville Chamberlain. The reasons are plain: even 50 years later, she bragged to Woodrow Wyatt that she had "reservations about Jews". . . .

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon kept up her support for far-right politics throughout her life. She did everything she could to bolster the torturing, white minority tyrannies in Rhodesia and South Africa, because - as the journalist Paul Callan, who knew her, put it - "she is not fond of black folk". . . .

The defenders of Elizabeth were left claiming that her drunken inactivity was itself an achievement. WF Deedes, the late Daily Telegraph columnist and editor, claimed: "In an increasingly earnest world, she teaches us all how to have fun, that life should not be all about learning, earning and resting. In a world where we have all become workaholics, there she is... grinning at racehorses. Bless her heart." . . .

William Shawcross has won the favor of his fellow monarchists by taking this curdled life and presenting it as the best of British. It's the single most unpatriotic claim I've ever heard. If you don't think Britain can do better - far better - than this nasty leech and her stunted family, then you don't deserve to live in this Sceptred Isle.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still hoping the IRA will sink England into the North Atlantic.

September 25, 2009 9:50 PM  
Blogger radical royalist said...

I don't think Johann Hari would concede us Monarchists to be of any intelligence. At least his republican ranting keeps him in the job and earns him money. Shouldn't he be grateful to the Royal Family?

September 26, 2009 1:26 AM  

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