Love for the People

Posted on June 8, 2012


From a guest blogger: Regular readers will probably not be surprised to find that we at Blog for All Seasons had a splendid time over last weekend celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In good cheer we bunted, we sang and we toasted Her Majesty’s (and Prince Philip’s) health. Long may she reign over us.

We have yet to meet one of the few dozens of republicans who turned out bravely to protest the continued existence of the monarchy, but we hope that they, too, were able to keep their spirits up even if they were seemingly too few to obtain much warmth from huddling together.

Right now, the republican cause seems forlorn, with royalists on the streets of London outnumbering declared supporters of ‘the people’ by a factor of something like 4,833:1. Quite who the ‘people’ in question are is something of a mystery, and this blogger has a distinct feeling that British republicanism is more a campaign in support of a nebulous abstraction than a genuine social reality.

That is not to say that supporters of Her Majesty – or, indeed, the Queen herself – wish a return to days of autocratic government when opposition might have led to enforced hospitality in the Tower, or worse. Autocracy may be at least effective when government is small and national communications poor, but with big government and near immediate communication, it is hardly surprising that the time of absolute monarchy has passed. If the Queen really were the embodiment of dictatorship, or of some medieval system, it is hard to see how she might have found the super-human energy required to rule so long, let alone survive long enough to reach her diamond jubilee.

Evelyn Waugh once excused his failure to vote by saying that he would not presume to advise Her Majesty on how to form a government. Somehow, however, one doubts that our Queen objects when we cast our votes at election time. On the contrary, I would imagine her desire to be that all eligible to vote should do so, and a Queen who has, undeniably, seen her life as one of service and duty, surely wants all to be responsible. Ultimately this is rooted in her heartfelt love for all the people of Britain and of the Commonwealth.

It may well be that it was a desire to reciprocate this love that drew millions to events in London and elsewhere that celebrated her sixty years on the throne. Yet, if this love were less evident, and the House of Windsor both distant and indifferent to the people, the republican cause would doubtless look stronger.

The republican cry of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ may express some high-sounding ideals, but without genuine love for the people they are incapable of creating effective government. For all the sincerity of British republicans, it was difficult to detect much human warmth emanating from their protests. A monarchy is by no means the only effective or humane system of government, but ours is certainly strong on the human warmth that holds people together.

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