Counterpunch: Wills’ visit was a stunt and a farce
Don’t think for a moment that last week’s visit by Prince William was anything other than a stunt by the House of Windsor or, at the least, those whose survival depend on its.
Prince William was said to have been “mobbed” as he moved through Victorian country towns. The Beatles were mobbed. The future king was watched. “King of the kids” was the headline. You’ll get that during school holidays, and how fortunate was he to chance upon those?
We aren’t the only nation still constitutionally tied to the old colonial master – there a more than a dozen - but we are the jewel in the crown.
Most of the others are tin-pot embarrassments, such as Grenada, Belize and the Solomons, that the royals are occasionally forced to visit, but where they wouldn’t dream of sending their kids to school.
Indeed, Australia is what most people in Britain would like their country to be, but its rigid class system, atop which sits the royal family, steals the opportunities of too many of those born with none.
Inherited opportunity and wealth are, to varying degrees, part of every nation, but in Australia and other countries like, say, the United States it is still possible to rise form the bottom to the top – like Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama have done.
The hurdles embedded in British society sometimes are obvious – Scotland, Wales and the north are disadvantaged, a good education is expensive – but at other times they might appear subtle to the outsider, like the accent that stands between you and a job.
Britain’s ruling classes – and its ruling family – aren’t keen for too much change; they also know power and how to use it.
When the republic debate raged across Australia, and was led by the articulate, but arrogant Malcolm Turnbull, the official Buckingham Palace website appeared at odds with our delusional pro-monarchists who were insisting that the governor-general was our head of state. The Palace, like the Australian constitution that monarchists should read more often, stated boldly that the Queen was Australia’s head of state.
Manipulatively, the Palace removed this humiliating statement of fact before Australians voted in that flawed referendum to decide the Windsors’ fate.
But last night, updated, arrogantly insistent, and perhaps emboldened, that same Palace website stated unequivocally: “The Queen is Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms.”
Australia is but one.
Australia is special. The envious royals understand that, and they don’t want to let go. It’s not just the sunshine; that’s an overworked cliché. Britons have generously helped populate colder countries than their own. Canada springs to mind.
Our robust democracy, our opportunities for almost all, and the fact that the most successful mass-migration of modern times has delivered terrific cultural diversity alongside social cohesion that is unparalleled, and which the UK can only dream about – Britons would kill for that.
One day they might.
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