Are British Republicans being inconsistent over the #Royalbaby?


9:15 pm - December 3rd 2012

by Robert Sharp    


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The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant, and my Twitter timeline and Facebook wall were immediately filled with curmudgeons complaining that the issue of #Leveson and other important stories will get buried. I think this may be an over-reaction – there will be other news reported in the papers tomorrow.

Most of the comments in my timeline were meta – discussions about the discussion, not a discussion about the news itself. This is unsurprising because of course, there is no actual analysis that can be done on this kind of story: Kate is pregnant. The kid will be born about 7 months from now. They will one day be monarch, regardless of gender.

I have little patience for those complaining about the level of coverage. Britain is an immensely influential country, and a new head of state – one that could potentially reign for decades – has just been designated.

We went nuts for discussion of the US Presidential election, and the French Presidential election. The opaque appointment of a new Chinese leader was also well documented.

Why should the emergence of a new British Head of State be any less talked about?

The madness is not the level of coverage given over to this story. The madness is that British heads of state are still chosen by the hereditary method. If you are annoyed, irritated or angered by the news overload, but you’re not a republican, then you’re just being inconsistent.

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About the author
Robert Sharp designed the Liberal Conspiracy site. He is Head of Campaigns at English PEN, a blogger, and a founder of digital design company Fifty Nine Productions. For more of this sort of thing, visit Rob's eponymous blog or follow him on Twitter @robertsharp59. All posts here are written in a personal capacity, obviously.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Media ,Our democracy

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Reader comments


The heading is inconsistent with the article…
I am not commentating- either way – about this story.
I have only added that she is suffering from a neglected illness that is often overlooked and underplayed. So if it helps other sufferers all well and good.
I disagree though about the amount of commentary- most of it from republicans and royalists- is celebrity tittle- tattle. Let us regulate ourselves!

Well the weather here in Dorset was OK, but we had a tiny bit of drizzle and now frost last night. Flood meadows starting to dry out.

What about anyone else?

3. domestic extremist

“We went nuts for discussion of the US Presidential election”
Speak for yourself. I could barely have cared less which corporate stooge won, though it crossed my mind that if the even more rabidly right-wing one won, his additional follies might usefully accelerate the decline of the US empire, to the considerable benefit of the rest of mankind.

“of course, there is no actual analysis that can be done on this kind of story”
- except to observe that it sharply dramatises the deep inequalities disfiguring this society, in that large numbers of young couples, unlike the Windsors, are probably being forced to decide against starting a family at a time of stagnating wages, rising food prices, unrestrained utility and transport costs, and absurdly expensive housing. None of which problems confront, of course, the feather-bedded monarchy we financially support.

“They will one day be monarch, regardless of gender.”

No, we’ll have abolished the monarchy by then.

@ Chris

Good luck with that. I’d fight to make sure we have a monarch as a largely powerless head of state rather than a power mad party political apparatchik in control. President Blair anyone?

Yes, I too found the heading misleading. I can, just about, follow the point that if republicans feel strongly about the importance of the monarchy then we can hardly complain about the level of coverage it’s receiving.

But, of course, it’s not just the “level” (ie quantity)of the coverage that we find objectionable. It’s the sickening, obseqious natuture of it. And not just from the Mail and Express, but most of the serious press as well. Long gone are the days when the Independent had a policy of keeping royal news to an absolute minimum, reporting marriages and births in short, factual articles in the inside pages.

There’s nothing inconsistent about calling for the abolition of this affront to democracy and human dignity *and* objecting to the media coverage it receives.

@5 why would Blair be standing, and who would actually vote for him to be head of state?

I don’t think that it is unduly cynical to do this, but whenever an announcement like this comes out I always think it worth while perusing the ‘minor’ news stories to see what bad news the government of the day may be trying to bury. I know Septicisle did a bit of this during the O*y*p*c* – it might be worth trying now.

Tyler @5:

Ah! Serf Argument #3. “Well at least we won’t end up with a President Blair/Thatcher/Clarkson!!!!”

In a democracy, you’d get whoever the majority voted for. More importantly, if they showed themselves in office to be, a) feeble-witted, b) corrupt, c) bonkers, d) all of the foregoing, you’d have a chance of removing them without bloodshed.

To adapt an old movie slogan, “Monarchy means never having a say. Sorry.”

No. You went nuts over the US and French presidential elections. Since most of us didn’t have a vote in either, it didn’t really matter.

Why is the potential royal baby so important to you anyway. I don’t care.

And just what in the name of sanity is a British Republican?

11. Chaise Guevara

“We went nuts for discussion of the US Presidential election, and the French Presidential election. The opaque appointment of a new Chinese leader was also well documented.

Why should the emergence of a new British Head of State be any less talked about?”

Because the British monarch is a largely symbolic figure who has little power and would probably lose what they had when they lost it, whereas the US and Chinese heads of state are the leaders of possibly the two most important and powerful countries in the world?

@ Mike

“And just what in the name of sanity is a British Republican?”

A Brit who believes in getting rid of the monarchy. I’m trying to work out whether you a) think that’s somehow impossible, b) honestly think that “republican” only means “supporter of the US Republican Party”, or c) are pulling Sunny up on his incorrect capitalisation (in which case, agreed).

12. Richard Gadsden

It’s possible to believe that William should not be automatically king (and thus, that his child should not be relevant from birth) without being a republican.

Support an elective monarchy!


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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