I became a monarchist in the late afternoon of 19 November 2009; a dark and chilly day, damp brown leaves blowing balefully along the gutters, the smell in the air of a hard winter to come, declared British columnist Rod Liddle in The Spectator (29/5). He continued:
“This ended more than 30 years of what I considered principled soft-leftish republicanism; the notion that however practically effective and traditional the royal family might be — all those tourist dollars, plus a sense of national continuity — it was still sort of wrong."
"Monarchists would argue with me, saying listen, if we didn’t have the Queen, we’d have Tony Benn or Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson as an elected president — an idea which rather appealed, frankly. And I would counter by saying well, hell, I don’t mind that — but we might even have Richard Dawkins or Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali or Cheryl Cole, and how wonderful would that be?”
“And then, on 19 November last year, Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, was appointed High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and suddenly my whole ideology was snuffed out with an audible phffwt, the sound of a cigarette being extinguished in a cup of coffee. Because it became absolutely clear to me, on that cold and frowsy afternoon, that Baroness Ashton is exactly who we would have imposed upon us if we were ever to abolish the monarchy.”
“It wouldn’t be an entertaining self-publicising political maverick from the left or the right, or a famous clever person, or even someone with no sentient opinions but who you might conceivably want to shag. It would instead be a person who had moved ineluctably through agitprop bollocks to quango after quango, from CND to the, Christ help us, Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work and then on to the Employers Forum on Disability, building up the PC brownie points with every new position, never having said anything of interest to anyone, someone perfectly attuned to the requirements of the deathless civil political appointment, someone whose name was writ, badly, in water."
" Someone like Baroness Ashton, with a face like a bag of spanners and utterly unsuited to the task at hand, a creature — even more than the Queen — of anti-democracy.”
“So it was on 19 November that I finally fell in love with the royal family — and especially Prince Philip.”