Should We Celebrate the Jubilee? by Sean Gabb

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Sean Gabb, speaking on BBC Radio 5 on the 2nd June 2012.

This clip is a short extract from a debate that was a shouting match between braindead republicans and sycophantic royalists.

Sean Gabb says:

  • That he approves of hereditary monarchy;
  • That, if you expect an hereditary monarch to be more than the equivalent of a shop window dummy, we have the right to feel short-changed by Elizabeth II;
  • That she has presided over the descent of England from a great an powerful nation to a sinister laughing stock;
  • That it was her constitution duty to step in at various times since 1952 and stabilise the system, and that she did nothing.

Longer article: Thoughts on the Diamond Jubilee, 29th May 2012, by Sean Gabb

9 responses to “Should We Celebrate the Jubilee? by Sean Gabb

  1. Wish I could locate the programme on 5. Listened to the clip and wanted to hear the rest, especially as the adversaries were on the defensive from the off– “oh your going into politics now”! You must have touched a raw nerve there Sean.

  2. I like the idea that you’re not supposed to talk about mere politics when discussing her royal gloriousnessness. And now, Tony’s in Berkshire and Tilly’s in Devon!

    That reminded me when I attempted to get on the BBC as a random caller when Sean was on a radio show about banning the sale of brassieres to anyone below a certain age. The phone-in arranger assured me they’d put me on after the news, but instead they put some fuckwit on who insisted his wife was still playing with dolls at the age of 14, that being basically his total contribution to the debate. Apparently that was more useful to listeners than what I was going to say about moral panics.

    Actually, having read some of the media coverage of a parade of tatty boats floating past an old lady in a silly hat in all its obsequious glurge, I begin to wonder whether I truly live in a nation of fuckwits after all. Am I really so different to anyone else? I am entirely unmoved by the monarchy. I mean, when people start all this waxing lyrical about majesty and the pageant of history and a thousand years of noblesse oblige and you are our most beloved sovereign, ma’am, I feel like I’m listening to somebody explaining the joys of putting ferrets down one’s trousers. Leaves me entirely cold.

    Anyway, isn’t it time another one of them died so we can all indulge in the new tradtition of surrounding the palaces with heaps of floral compost?

  3. derekbernard

    Those who like sucking on the sore tooth of the UK’s diminishing individual and entrepreneurial freedom will probably “enjoy” Kyle Smith:

  4. A wonderful clip! I am full of admiration for Sean Gabb and the way he is able to articulately make these points. I would prefer the sort of monarchy that, when faced with political pressure to do certain things, things that contravened the Coronation Oath, said, “it may cause a constitutional crisis to veto this, but I have entered a contract to defend the constitution, and Mssrs. Heath, Blair, Cameron, etc, I value that contract more than the money and palaces and position – and I am prepared to lose all the material accoutrements I possess by virtue of my role as sovereign as a consequence of my adhering to my Coronation Oath”.

    It appears to put all of the “burden” on the Queen who is just an old lady today. She may have been able to stand up to previous governments – but there is a certain amount of evidence that she has actively played a role behind the scenes encouraging some of the things that have contributed to our decline, and in any case as a woman in her 80s there is little she will do now. None of this changes the fact that the monarchy as an institution is a contract of some kind, and without a recognition that monarchs are installed for a purpose (the Coronation Oath is very explicit that there are certain conditions placed on the role), we just have an inherited head of the oligarchy. Understood correctly, this does not place the sole burden on the Queen, as the proper function of our constitution would see politicians required to respect the constitution in the first place.

    One of the founding fathers of the USA spoke of that state as “a Republic, if you can keep it”. Republic comes from res publica in Latin, meaning “the public matter, the public affair”, and reflects the idea that government should not be simply the private autocratic business of the king or emperor. The term commonwealth in English – e.g. the English Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell – could be seen as a native English equivalent of res publica. Republic or Commonwealth do not essentially mean “having presidents instead of kings”, but refer to the republican ideal of government, where the interests of all are upheld in a transparent policy governed by the rule of law, and where the government is limited by law too.

    Funnily enough, the republican ideal does not necessarily require a formal constitutional republic: as presidents of republics, such as the USA, become less responsible for their actions, they seem to have become elective emperors; conversely, the constitutional monarchy concept in the UK meant that the monarch was the guarantor of republican ideals, i.e., that government would be responsible to the people, not necessarily in the formal democratic sense (which can be manipulated), but in the sense of upholding the ultimate cultural settlement underpinning it.

    The histories of the various Anglo-Saxon polities are all characterised by our attempts to achieve the republican ideal (in the sense of a res publica), and then our ultimate failure to keep it. This failure has only fully come to fruition in the UK under Elizabeth the Fainthearted.

  5. I’m glad the Jubilee is over. I do regret the passing of the old order – the thought of the three party leaders lined up on the tarmac awaiting the Queen’s aeroplane from Kenya in 1952 is quite romantic – but the fawning is quite out of place when the institution has changed beyond all recognition. The Princess of Wales hurling herself down the stairs and smuggling paramours in through the back gates of Buck Pal did for me, I’m afraid – and the outpouring on the day of her death was quite alienating for me at the time – it seemed so orchestrated by the media – so it has never been the same for me since 1997. I wonder if another lot would do better – someone once told me Prince Richard of Gloucester – a minor branch of the Windsors – would be better – but to be honest, having seen the Lords rubberstamp all changes to the constitution in the last century, I am not sure there is really anyone who fits the bill… Better to install myself, reluctantly, but generously, as Lord Protector. I know David David wants that role, but I’ll duel with him for it…

  6. Dear Dr. Gabb:

    I do regret the level to which the monarchy has been emasculated. You may be right that Her Britannic Majesty would have risked little if she had insisted on a referendum. In all fairness, we do not know what happened behind the scenes, and there are in fact quite a lot of broken promises by the politicos. How does Her Majesty prioritize those promises without breaking her neutrality?

    I do believe there are things to be celebrated with this Diamond Jubilee, but the level to which the British monarchy has been emasculated is not one of them.

    You are to be commended for bringing up this debate. I am not sure about the timing though.