Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Orwell on Monarchy...

"The function of the King in promoting stability and acting as a sort of keystone in a non-democratic society is, of course, obvious. But he also has, or can have, the function of acting as an escape-valve for dangerous emotions. A French journalist said to me once that the monarchy was one of the things that have saved Britain from Fascism. What he meant was that modern people can't, apparently, get along without drums, flags and loyalty parades, and that it is better that they should tie their leader-worship onto some figure who has no real power. In a dictatorship the power and the glory belong to the same person. In England the real power belongs to unprepossessing men in bowler hats: the creature who rides in a gilded coach behind soldiers in steel breast-plates is really a waxwork. It is at any rate possible that while this division of function exists a Hitler or a Stalin cannot come to power. On the whole the European countries which have most successfully avoided Fascism have been constitutional monarchies. The conditions seemingly are that the Royal Family shall be long-established and taken for granted, shall understand its own position and shall not produce strong characters with political ambitions. These have been fulfilled in Britain, the Low Countries and Scandinavia, but not in, say, Spain or Rumania. If you point these facts out to the average left-winger he gets very angry, but only because he has not examined the nature of his own feelings towards Stalin. I do not defend the institution of monarchy in an absolute sense, but I think that in an age like our own it may have an inoculating effect, and certainly it does far less harm than the existence of our so-called aristocracy. I have often advocated that a Labour government, i.e. one that meant business, would abolish titles while retaining the Royal Family." From the Partisan Review, 1944.

It sounds almost like Fr John Ball, the mad Kentish priest, who in A.D 1381 proposed to the masses at Blackheath that there ought to be one rank beneath that of the King. I disagree with Orwell's views about the aristocracy. If peers of the realm serve any function at all these days it is their place in the House of Lords. I doubt very much that peers are at all interested in political correctness which means that they can vote on things that are sensible and in the interests of the people; unlike the oligarchical Commons who, for the most part, just give voice to the great unwashed, who think with their genitals and cry hysterically about equality.

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