Celebrating the jubilee…in the British republic

by Kevin Meagher

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe…

What have you been doing this weekend to celebrate the Jubilee?

It is of course ten years since Britain became a republic, ending centuries of monarchical rule, following the abdication of Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Her withdrawal from public life followed the disestablishment of the Church of England, abolition of the House of Lords and the overwhelming vote in favour of Scottish independence.

With her role as ‘defender of the faith’ and symbol of the Union and heredity superseded by the will of the public the Queen decided there was no longer any point to the monarchy. The public agreed and the British Republic was born.

It was the role, not the person that the public had fallen out of love with. The enduring esteem for Queen Elizabeth was matched by an equally certain rejection of the Prince of Wales as her successor. He led the campaign to retain the monarchy, but lost the subsequent referendum by a 70/30 margin.

Some said antipathy at the prospect of Queen Camilla lingered, others that the public had the measure of him and found him wanting. Too old and unlikable was a common view – while his son William was likeable but too young. Daylight had flooded in on the magic following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and the public did not like, or perhaps respect, what they saw.

Either way the house of Windsor ended with a whimper.

A decade ago the nation turned to a same pair hands to steady the ship of state. Professor Lord Robert Winston became the first president of the British republic. A fertility expert to give birth to a new republic. The irony was not lost on the public who instantly warmed to “President Bob’s” unassuming style.

He comfortably beat off a challenge from self-styled ‘social entrepreneur’ Charles Windsor. He was backed by the coalition government in the hope of fostering support for an eventual restoration of the monarchy. However the former Prince of Wales showed he was unused to detailed public scrutiny and his ungainly, regal demeanour did little to endear him to the public.

The nadir of his campaign was surely the ill-starred decision to enlist the services of his father, the former Duke of Edinburgh. His undiminished ability to cause offence was on full display during the infamous episode where he insulted women, gays, black people, the obese and “bloody foreigners” in the space of a single walkabout. Protestors took to following him around with a giant bingo card with different minorities crossed out every time the nonagenarian abused a particular group.

Under Britain’s constitution, no head of state can serve more than two consecutive five-year terms. The country now goes to the poll in a weekend-long ballot to choose Winston’s successor.

Early favourite Sir Richard Branson was forced to withdraw after it was confirmed he had forfeited his British passport after a PR stunt promoting his new space shuttle business saw him become a ‘citizen of the Moon’. Immigration officials held him to his claim and he now spends most of his time orbiting the Earth in ‘Virgin One’ while he works on his appeal.

Also pulling out last month was the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. He withdrew after Catholic leaders promised to pray for his victory. Horrified at the prospect, Dawkins said he would rather end his bid than have divine intervention attributed to his success.

Another casualty has been former England footballer David Beckham. Gossip websites had claimed his wife Victoria had misunderstood the role and thought that a victory for her husband would automatically make her queen. When it was pointed out this was not the case she apparently urged her husband to move full-time to America instead.

Last week rumours that Mohammed Al-Fayed was interested in standing sent social media website Twitter into meltdown, until it was pointed out he doesn’t have a UK passport and is ineligible to even stand.

This weekend’s presidential ballot pits Jude Kelly, the well-respected artistic director of the South Bank Centre against the former television presenter Carol Vorderman who is backed by the coalition.

Polls put Ms Kelly well ahead.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut

Tags: , ,

11 Responses to “Celebrating the jubilee…in the British republic”

  1. Clint Spencer says:

    Move along, just another republican ranting. Nothing to see here.

  2. Qwerty says:

    Self defeating exercise. Even pathetic. A Lord substituting the Queen???

  3. Rallan says:

    This article neatly points out the reason why Republicans are never going to win. Replace the Monarchy with what? Republicans have no acceptable answer.

    When do you hear the public crying out for MORE politicians? No-one trusts them, no-one wants them. Elected “celebs”, then? The whole concept of celebrity is now totally devalued, and certainly no-one thinks that they would be suitable as our highest national ambassadors.

    Republicans are driven by ego, simply hating the concept of someone being automatically considered to have higher status than them.

    A tiny group of self important kill-joys is no reason to throw away an important national asset. The Monarchy is a tourist magnet, a unique national brand and an apolitical diplomatic service. At time of war & national distress they are also a popular non-political rallying point. They are excellent value for money. Accept it.

  4. Kevin says:

    Better a ranting republican than a lickspittle royalist

  5. Royalist says:

    Unlikely to lose a referendum http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/6nces75nwx/YG-Archives-Pol-ST-results-01-050612.pdf

    Only 16% of the country are republican, would of had to have been a very strange parallel world.

  6. Henrik says:

    Did someone ask for a lickspittle royalist? Can’t provide the adjective, but the noun is right enough. The thing about monarchy, especially in the UK, is that it’s probably the least worst means of providing a head of state. Fantasies about electing Robert Winston were there a vacancy are just that, fantasies – does anyone seriously think that the political scum would miss the chance for yet another fantastically well-paid niche?

    Perhaps that powerhouse of internationalist fervour, Baroness Ashton, could stand.

    Incidentally, just for a happy Jubilee note, one of the key things about the monarchy is that the Armed Forces swear personal allegiance to the monarch. Reflect on that, politicians.

  7. Anon E Mouse says:

    Kevin Meagher

    You and I have differed in our opinions in blogs but why on earth would you publish something so stupid as this?

    One look at the crowds down the Mall should be enough to tell you this was a futile and self defeating article to write and I simply do not understand why you’ve done it.

    The people in Britain along with those in many many other countries love the Royal family – even towns in Tipperary in Ireland (I have personal knowledge of) have been showing the footage from Sky in the pubs where they seem to adore the “Queen of England” and all the pageantry.

    I even dispute that 16% want a republic – that seems WAY too high unless those polled we’re Guardian and Independent readers.

    This article is nuts…

  8. Jon says:

    Complete and utter rubbish – Charles’ reputation was greatly enhanced over the Jubilee weekend (those who know him never doubted his innate wisdom and skills with people, only his distorted utterances by a gaff-obsessed Press).

    In addition to which, those final Balcony shots were designed to show that the Monarchy is in safe hands for 70+ years.

    And any suggestion that Scotland will vote for independence is laughable – Wee Eck is increasingly exposed as a snake-oil selling charlatan with no policies, no guts …. and no future, either, since his claims are repeatedly shown to be false bluster and hopes and aspirations (eg oil revenues and Bank debts) proclaimed as certainties are not welcome, and are being rebutted and shown for what they are – lies.

  9. Brumanuensis says:

    Amusing Kevin, as a republican, let me say that few things give me more pleasure than the prospect of King Charles III.

    What was it George V said about Edward VIII? ‘He’ll ruin himself within a year’, I think.


    ‘those who know him never doubted his innate wisdom and skills with people, only his distorted utterances by a gaff-obsessed Press’

    A LOL is in order, I believe. If the future of the monarchy is in the hands of a man who can’t understand the principle of ‘constitutional monarchy’, then the future is rather dim.

  10. Portsmuthian says:

    Perhaps Kevin could let us know which country has a better system. Which President does he think would do a better job, and command as much respect as Her Majesty, The Queen. Would he prefer Clinton, Nixon, Eisenhower, Gadaffi, Mubarak etc etc? Perhaps he would prefer the American style Presidential elections, with a year’s worth of electioneering, at great cost every four years. Would it be more economic to have former Presidents paid exhorbitant pensions and security for life when they leave office. On an historical note. I wonder how many Commonwealth countries would have been so quick to come to our aid in two world wars if Great Britain had been a Republic instead of a Monarchy.

  11. Kate Dircksen says:

    What is the most significant snake, I would like to know for research?

Leave a Reply