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Ireland: Mary McAleese and Queen Elizabeth

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724717.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:48 am Reply with quote


I've found the websites - I see they've moved to a different URL, but I'm certainly not going to sully my posts by linking to them.

Digging about a bit, I've uncovered this little gem, posted on the 6th April 2010;

I will tell you the result right now of the UK general election one month from today on 6th May.

The result has been rigged in advance.

This forthcoming general election will be rigged to retain Elizabeth Windsor as Queen and head of the state that rules in Britain.

I don't know how you can possibly suggest that we are idiots for not understanding 'politics' when you publicise a depth of misunderstanding of the system yourself that rivals the Marianas Trench.

You can't 'rig' an election so that the result retains a head of state when that position isn't up for grabs in the first place.

And then we have this;

I am calling for military action to remove the Queen from Scotland now and I will support similar calls from English, Welsh and Irish republicans who want action to remove the monarchy from England, Wales and Ireland respectively.

If your website is a 'political' one, then it is the politics of hate.

I can't fail to find that utterly despicable. Perhaps this is a reason why you don't appear to be able to convince anyone to stand next to you in photographs.

We can look at other states where the military has got involved in running the country, or the disposing of heads of state. Maybe Pakistan. Maybe Libya. Maybe Myanmar. Maybe North Korea. Hardly shining beacons of freedom and democracy, are they?

724745.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:19 am Reply with quote

Say what you like about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, but at least they don't have a monarch causing "the denial of rights and killings", oh no!

Everyone knows rights are freely available in the socialist paradise of North Korea. Must be as a direct result of not having an evil monarch. Maybe we should club together and buy Mr Dow a one-way ticket.

724765.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:32 am Reply with quote

It's certainly worth pointing out that nine of the bottom ten countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index have the word 'republic' in their official names - and the one that doesn't is Myanmar.

Oh, and the very least corrupt country on the list is New Zealand (something of a win for Liz) and second from the top is the Kingdom of Denmark.

The highest ranked republic is Singapore, which was under Liz's dominion until 1963. And they are immediately followed by the Kingdom of Sweden.


724790.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:09 am Reply with quote

Hi, Peter - I'm one of the mods here so (I guess) more likely to be part of the problem than part of the solution, from your point of view. However, I have a question for you that's intended in a genuine spirit of enquiry, and I hope you'll take it in that spirit.

Your contributions here have elicited a response which you have evidently come to expect: not a single person supports any aspect of anything you say. In fact, I think that if you now said that Sunday is the day after Saturday nobody would believe you.

You are evidently articulate, determined and rigorous (this much is apparent from your website). You have strong views, and on the face of it you would like to convince others of their merits. But, objectively, it must be apparent to you that you are not doing so - that the very fact that you are putting your arguments in this way is having the opposite effect to the one you seek; people who are ready to listen to the republican argument are likely to be dissuaded from adopting it as a result of your activities.

This puts me in mind of a couple of gamblers I knew in my student days. Ostensibly, they wanted to profit from their gambling, but they went to casinos even though they were intelligent enough to understand the mathematical certainty that they would lose money there, and they played poker and backgammon whilst drunk even though they always lost. So it seemed to me that, at some level, people like that must want to lose. I always regretted that I never asked them about that, so I don't want to miss this (similar) opportunity to ask: does that idea resonate with you at all? Do you think that at some profound level you adopt this immoderate tone because you are deliberately sabotaging your own argument, ie that you want to lose? (Lose in the sense of dissuading people from your stated point of view.)

There might be any number of reasons for wanting to lose, of course, ranging from your head driving you to one conclusion while your heart points you towards another, to enjoying the feeling that you stand alone against the world, and many others besides. I'm not particularly attributing any of these to you, and it would be impertinent of me to try to do so.

I ask the question (in a spirit of genuine curiosity, as I say) partly because I think it's an interesting question in its own right, and partly because I'm a republican myself, and think that part of the reason we find it difficult to make our arguments stick is that people think they imply an association with a position like yours - ie your impact is to discourage people from adopting republicanism, which I regret - so I just wonder why you choose to undermine the cause in this way.

724865.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:32 pm Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:

Or is it that discussions which don't involve killing an old lady with a selection of nice hats hold no interest for you?

I can not let that remark go.
How do you kill a lady with a selection of hats? Sharpen the edge of a bowler and use it like a frisbee? Tickle her to death with a feathery one?

An uncharacteristic moment of levity on my part.

Going back to being serious, Flash makes some good points. I, too am a republican, and hope that one day publications such as the Sun would find its readership dwindle to nothing.
It is a source of much puzzlement that I find it difficult to read Mr Dow's rants, even though at one level I probably have a lot in common!

724866.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:36 pm Reply with quote

I respect your opinion in the republican/royalist arguement. However I have to ask, compared to the alternatives, what harm do the royal family actually do?

Spud McLaren
724915.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:20 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
An uncharacteristic moment of levity on my part.
Run that by us again?

724928.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:04 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
what harm do the royal family actually do?

Andy, I seem to remember that we had a discussion like this three or four years ago.

I should say that I'm a republican of a slightly half-baked sort - ie I'd vote for a republic if asked, but I don't feel so strongly about the question that I'd bother campaigning for one. Similarly, I don't have any desire to persuade anyone else to agree with me, but the harm I think they do is that they embody the notion of entrenched privilege. Just by being there they say to people "the proper thing is deference, and the proper way to identify ourselves is by reference to the past" - and that sense seeps into the national consciousness. They are the personification of the class system and the class system has, to my eye, has a malign influence on our society; their very existence says: "Know your place".

And, for me, that trumps everything. I know that one argument deployed in their favour is that they promote stability, but for me that's also an argument which can be deployed against them. They send the message: "Preserve the status quo" - but the people who benefit the most from the preservation of the status quo are the privileged.

724984.  Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:15 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
the people who benefit the most from the preservation of the status quo are the privileged.

Really? If we consider the revolutions in China and Russia, couldn't it be said that although those who had most before lost much of what they had, they still ended up with more than most? Did the former working classes in practice end up with any greater level of prosperity than they started with?

Interesting interview with a Chinese woman who lived through the Chinese revolutions here. She seems to be clear that she and her family were still better off than 'the working classes'.

Article heregives varying points of view about the support of the working class in Russia for the revolution but seems to indicate that there was a wide variation in prosperity.

To me it seems logical that in times of turmoil, those who have the biggest cushion of protection ride the storm best.

I may have misunderstood the point you were making though, in which case, apologies.

725003.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:11 am Reply with quote

No need for an apology, but I think that does miss the point - I wasn't advocating revolution, at all - just the removal of an inbuilt bias in favour of the status quo.

It's surely unarguable that the status quo benefits those who benefit from the status quo? What is perhaps arguable is that the status quo might also benefit the least well-off, because they'd be even worse off under an alternative arrangement - but you'd need some pretty convincing evidence to make that stick.

725014.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:40 am Reply with quote

just the removal of an inbuilt bias in favour of the status quo.

I guess I have a couple of questions in response to this.

The first would be is the status quo really that intractible? I think it is fair to say that the way the Royal family operates, and is regarded, has changed markedly during Liz's reign - with things like the royal divorces and the introduction of income taxes on the royal income. The civil list payments have also shrunk, certainly in real terms.

I think it would be also fair to say that, in 30 years or so years time, when William and Harry become the most senior royals, things will look different again.

I guess I tend to see the royal family as some form of firewall against changes that are undertaken too quickly. I also think that tradition and a sense of historical perspective are both rather effective, and actually quite cheap, moderators of rash behaviour.

The second question would be what material impact would the removal of the Royal family have on, say, an unemployed family in a sink estate in Salford, or wherever? The financial benefits to the public purse would be marginal if they existed at all, and what would become of the royal patronages of the charities they lend their names to?

Of course, charitable donations would not simply evaporate without a royal as a public figurehead for certain causes, but I'm pretty sure their presence in this respect is a positive one.

I guess the bottom line for me is that what we actually need a Head of State to do a lot of the time is, in fact, nothing. And I'm not really convinced that someone who seeks election to the role (which I'm guessing is the most viable alternative) is going to be fully content with that.

725022.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:40 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
I guess the bottom line for me is that what we actually need a Head of State to do a lot of the time is, in fact, nothing. And I'm not really convinced that someone who seeks election to the role (which I'm guessing is the most viable alternative) is going to be fully content with that.

Why must opponents of republicanism always portray elected heads of state as power hungry maniacs who refuse to settle for a purely ceremonial position*, when there are plenty of real world examples, such as Christian Wulff and Giorgio Napolitano, of people who are quite happy to do just that?

*Not just you. Although you've put this opinion forward several times, so have several others.

725029.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:08 am Reply with quote

I guess my thoughts are that I certainly wouldn't want the job. I'm not convinced that most of their time is spent twiddling their thumbs, indeed I would suggest that, certainly in the senior members of the family, they work bloody hard.

Yes they may think world may smell of paint but I cant think that Dave or Nick work quite as hard as Liz, Phil, Charlie and Anne.

725030.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:11 am Reply with quote

I'm also not sure that because it would be better is a valid argument for getting rid of something that isn't really that much of a problem, only to be replaced with anything else but what we already have.

725040.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:42 am Reply with quote

I think 'power hungry maniacs' is rather over-stating my case, there.

when there are plenty of real world examples, such as Christian Wulff and Giorgio Napolitano, of people who are quite happy to do just that?

I can't say that I'm completely up to speed with the full detail of either's posts - but it's been clear from the coverage that Germany's president is intrinsically intertwined with the party political system, as Wulff has been continually referred to as 'Merkel's candidate' and, despite the eventual victory, the process has appeared to have damaged Merkel's reputation and standing.

I think we should also look at the events which triggered the Presidential election in Germany as well, and the view that Kohler had politicised the role of President and had (according to a speed-wiki) apparently called for greater powers.

Similarly, Napolitano has played a central role in the ongoing bunfight that is Italian party politics - not least in not accepting Prodi's initial resignation - I don't think we could imagine Liz doing things like that.


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