Tuesday, 2 November 2021
The Last Chance Saloon
In my long ago days in the Labour Party, there was a hushed dread around the idea that working-class Tories might get their act together and exercise a persuasive influence on their habitually Labour-voting but essentially apolitical neighbours, family members, workmates, drinking companions, and so on. In 2019, that finally happened.
And I have been saying for decades that the people who were kept sweet by the existence of the monarchy would eventually work out that it did nothing for them. The reaction to Prince Charles's COP26 speech suggests that that might be happening right when the Queen was, well, not necessarily at her best.
On balance, I would not abolish the monarchy. Anyone who imagined that either Jeremy Corbyn or Laurence Fox might become President would be whistling in the wind. It would be a choice between the next Bullingdon Club member in line and someone who had casually given a trifling £50,000 to the most recently successful candidate for the Leadership of the Labour Party.
No one else would even make it onto the ballot paper, and I would not want either of those as my Head of State. Nor would I want to abolish the Royal Prerogative. Rather, I want it to be exercised by a Prime Minister who aspired to economic equality and to international peace. But the monarchy, and with it the exercise of the Royal Prerogative by persons who most certainly did not share those aspirations, does not depend on the support of people like me.
It depends on the support of people who, as long as the monarchy and especially the present Queen were simply there, were prepared to overlook the fact that hardly anything that they really wanted ever happened, while all sorts of things that they did not want did happen, no matter who was in government. We may just have witnessed the end of all of that.