Monday 9 November 2015

The Six Wives of King Henry the Ninth?

Image result for prince harry with sir alan sugar
Ello Grandma
History teaches us many things. When we study English history, we study periods defined by the Monarch or the dynasty. I was wondering what will happen in the future when they look at our period? There has already been an Elizabethan period, under Queen Elizabeth I. The period of the second Elizabeth is perhaps as interesting, seeing the end of the British Empire. I think that Queen Elizabeth has managed a feat beyond comprehension in a modern democracy. Being an unelected head of state, she has nonetheless become a figure beyond criticism or challenge. This is demonstrated by the fact that we have the most left wing ever leader of the Labour Party, but even under a Corbyn leadership, the status and position of the Queen is untouchable. The general consensus among the British is that it is simpe bad manners to discuss the position of the monarchy whilst Queen Elizabeth is on the throne. I think it is a testament to us as a nation that we take such considerations seriously.

There is absolutely zero appetite for a change. That doesn't mean that there aren't people who believe that a monarchy is antiquated. I suspect that is a major reason why the Queen doesn't see the concept of abdicating in favour of her son Charles as an option. The Queen is an extremely astute and intelligent woman. I believe that she recognises the fact that anointing her son as the next King would open a Pandora's box of questions of the role of the Monarchy in a modern democracy. In the circumstances that she passes away, there will be a huge outpouring of grief, people will feel suitably upset and will recognise that Charles will be grieving, therefore there will be surge in support for the Monarchy and the questions will have to wait until a suitable time.

Then there is the question of whether Charles will actually take the reigns. He's waited forever for the job. The queen has good genes. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could spare his son the same fate. Whilst the Queen is more or less universally loved and admired, many feel that Charles is a different cup of tea. He's opinionated and has inherited some of the gaffe prone tendencies of his father Prince Phillip. His son William is seen as a thoroughly good egg. As the Windsor brand goes, he is a far more bankable brand. He has young sons and a beautiful wife. I had a bizarre dream last night, which inspired this blog. I suspect it was caused by eating a bag of Monster Munch for tea. I had a dream that Sir Alan Sugar was running a special "Royal Apprentice" to select the next monarch. In this X Factor age, it seemed to make perfect sense. He had Princes William and Harry. Much to my amazement, he said "William, you are a safe pair of hands, you've got the right wife and two lovely sons, but in this day and age, we need a King who takes a few chances and knows how to deal with Al Quada, you're fired!". Can you imagine it? King Henry the Ninth? I was in a state of shock when my darling wife woke me up with a cup of tea.

You are probably reading this thinking "what a stupid thing to write in a blog, what a stupid idea at all". You'd of course be right, but it is a far less stupid idea than the one we currently buy into. With the current system we simply say, "This geezer is going to be the King just because an accident of birth put him next in line".  At least if Sir Alan put Wills, Harry and Charles through their paces, there'd be some sort of quality control. The whole system of Monarchy is horribly antiquated. Until recently it was inherently sexist and discriminatory. Females could not take the role as heir to the Throne. Personally, if I was in charge of the brand, I'd have reversed the law and made it so that the female took precidence. Women had a thousand years of negative discrimination. Despite this, the three greatest monarch we have had were females, Elizabeth I, Victoria and Elizabeth II were without parallel. The first Liz saved the Country, Vicky made us the pre-eminent super power in the world and the second Liz transformed us into a modern and civilised state. If I had the choice, I'd take Princess Anne as the Monarch over any of them. However nice Wills seems, I suspect that Sara Phillips has far more gumption and is much more down to Earth'. The boardrooms of the UK are stuffed full of stuffy old men, who are their due to their sex and connections, rather than any great talent. What a message it would send to them to say "We are a country that takes addressing sexism seriously, we've brought in positive discrimination for the Monarchy and you are next if you don't sort your act out".

I was thinking about the issue. If you'd have asked me yesterday, I would have said I am a republican and I would vote to abolish the monarchy. Today I am really not so sure. Of course a hereditary head of state is no way to run a modern democratic state. That said, I do believe that the British are somehow different. Despite the fact that the Queen is white and definately rather upper class, I know very few commonwealth citizens who do not think she is the best thing since sliced bread. I think she reassures us all. Her birthdays and Jubilees are causes of national celebrations. We love the soap opera of her offspring. As family businesses go, it is a pretty successful one. It is part of the UK brand and it does bring in the tourists and the foreign cash. People love all that pomp and ceremony.

If you look at the list of State visits made by the Queen and the list of State visits received by the Queen, you see a list which will probably never be equalled by anyone. If you add in all of the Leaders she's met at Commonwealth conferences and at the UN, you see someone who has had unique insite into the way we run our planet. While she's around, the question of the job is locked away in a little box somewhere that few even care to look. But with the sands of time, sooner or later we will have someone else on the throne. Maybe it will be Charles, maybe it will be Wills, it probably won't be Harry unless Sir Alan gets his way. There is virtually no chance it will be Anne and even less that it will be Sara. But that really isn't the interesting question is it? The really interesting question is who will be the next but one monarch. I suspect the answer to that, may in the fullness of time, prove to be nobody at all. And I suspect that in five hundred years historians will look back on this little period now and see it as the end of an era, which was in some ways beyond comprehension. The concept that an unelected Monarch could rule for so long and out of good manners, no one even discussed whether it would seem like a good idea will seem as strange as belief in a flat earth. It sort of reminded me of my old RE teacher at my Catholic secondary school explaining about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He said "God told them not to eat the apple, but they thought they were too clever, so they did what they wanted to. Then they saw what the world was really like and no one was ever happy again". I'm not saying that the passing of the Queen will lauch us into an age of eternal misery, but I suspect that like many things, we may not really understand the vaule until its gone. But thats progress isn't it? That's why I've got the M1 at the bottom of my garden instead of an orchard. Personally, I'd rather have that Orchard. But you my friend wants to be able to drive from Watford to Brent Cross a little quicker, so in the name of progress, the idylic orchard of my early years was bulldozed and now it is a concrete Highway.

It''s called progress my dear, and however much you may loathe its, there is nothing at all you can do,

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