Posts Tagged ‘royal family’

The Queen’s Nazi salute shows how fragile our liberty has always been

24/07/2015, 10:33:18 AM

by Sam Fowles 

History is power. Control of history means control of the political battleground. If we remembered how often the powerful have betrayed the principles for which they claim to stand, we may be less inclined to meekly accede to their wishes.

I’m sure the young Princess Elizabeth had no idea what she was doing when she performed the Nazi salute but members of her family (and other leading Establishment figures) did. As a nation, we suffer from collective amnesia concerning the rise of Hitler. In some cases we have even used pop culture to re-write history. In “The Kings Speech” the royal family are depicted voicing their concern to Timothy Spall’s Churchill in the early thirties. Something that, all reliable accounts suggest, absolutely did not happen.

History isn’t inevitable. We are not swept along on an unstoppable tide of events. History is determined by the actions of individuals. The depression, German politics, the repercussions of the Versailles Treaty all played a part in the rise of Hitler. But so did the contribution if the British Establishment. The European elites supported Hitler because they saw him as a better alternative than a left wing party. In the UK Conservative MPs organised in groups like the January Club to promote Hitler’s politics in the UK (even after Kristallnacht). After Germany invaded Czechoslovakia the Bank of England facilitated the transfer of its sovereign wealth fund to the Nazis. The Royal family’s censors prevented plays criticising Hitler from showing on the London stage as late as 1939.

One of the most significant supporters of Nazism was Prince Edward, later the Duke of Windsor, who appears in the footage released by the Sun. Recent evidence suggests that Edward passed information to Nazi agents including the suggestion that London should be bombed. He did this while a serving officer in the Grenadier Guards. He was assisted by other aristocrats such as the Countess of Athlone. Yet Edward was never court martialled. He was never tried for treason. Would an ordinary citizen, perhaps one of the many killed by the bombing that Edward supported, have received the same leniency?


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Peter goes to the palace

14/07/2011, 07:58:01 AM

by Peter Watt

I think I am going all Blue Labour.  All that longing for the lost icons of a simpler more communitarian age; it warms the fraternal cockles of my nostalgic heart.  Or am I mixing my popular political philosophies?  Anyway, it doesn’t matter because on the whole they’re all gobbledygook!  But what I do mean is that whilst I am all for modernisation, I also happen to think that there are some more traditional aspects of life that are also worth preserving.  They provide us with a feeling of stability and security whilst all around is changing.  One of those traditional aspects, that many on the left struggle with, is the royal family.

A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace.  It was a fantastic experience.  There were several thousand people attending from all walks of life.  Charities, the military, business, politics all gathered as a recognition for their, or their organisations’ work.  The focal point was Her Majesty and Prince Phillip who made themselves available to meet and greet their guests.  Their energy levels at their age were really incredible.  And the guests had of course all dressed up, with a handy protocol card sent in advance ensuring that the ladies wore hats and gentlemen morning or lounge suits.  The national anthem was played and people mingled.  My only complaint was that we missed out on the cakes and sandwiches because by the time we got to the tea tent there was none left.  I couldn’t help but notice that there were plenty of other guests with very full plates.  I tried not to be bitter about their gluttony.

There was lots of the choreography and so on that I didn’t really understand.  The Yeoman of the Guard; the men in top hats who seemed to be in charge of the walkabout; all of the titles of the various palace officials and the heraldry.  It did all feel a bit ‘olde worlde’ and yes there were an awful lot of very posh voices.  But do you know what?  It didn’t matter because it was an honour to be there and it felt special.  This was the royal machine delivering an event in the same way that it probably has for 100 years.  I bet that  the Royal and diplomatic tea tents are in exactly the same place, tea served at exactly the same time and the running order is pretty much the same as it was in 1911.  And that to me is quite simply fantastic and something to be proud of.

I accept that intellectually the hereditary principle is a little at odds with notions of equality.  But I don’t care.  The alternative to a royal head of state is an elected one.  Quite frankly, I can think of little worse than an elected head of state.  Another powerful, elected, party political politician.  Another point of political friction taking on those in the Parliaments.  Try selling that one to the public; good luck. (more…)

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