The late Auberon Waugh, the son of the great author Evelyn, was a lifelong enfant terrible and one of the most amusing writers in the British press. An outrageous satirist, his posthumous editor William Cook says, he “slaughtered whole herds of sacred cows and turned people's heartfelt convictions on their heads”.
During National Service he was an officer in the Royal Horse Guards in Cyprus. Irritated by a faulty machine gun he did what no soldier must ever do: he held it by the barrel and shook it vigorously.The gun went off and fired several bullets. He lost his spleen, one lung, several ribs, and a finger, and suffered for the rest of his life.
While lying there waiting for an ambulance, and no doubt recalling the example of Lord Nelson, he said to his platoon sergeant: "Kiss me Chudleigh".
Apparently Sergeant Chudleigh did not recognize the allusion and from then on treated him with extreme caution.I have just ordered a selection of his best writing recently published as “Kiss me Chudleigh.”
(You can buy a copy at a special price of A$25.92 tax and post free: just click here)
..Auberon Waugh and the 1999 referendum…
I learned of the publication in David Dale’s column in The Sun Herald (29/5/2011). He refers to one piece written in 1999 when Australia was holding a referendum on whether to become a republic,
Auberon Waugh wondered if the hole in the ozone layer was damaging our Australian brains:
“Possession of a genuinely hereditary monarchy does wonders for any nation’s sense of absurdity, its satirical perception, and its appetite for scandalous gossip.
“It is this sense of absurdity which the Australians seem to have lost when they propose an Australian president.“In 927 years of a national monarchy, we have never once had an Englishman on the throne.
“The present Queen has scarcely a drop of English blood in her veins, and her children have even less.
“The whole idea of the monarchy is to prevent Englishmen and Englishwomen from growing too conceited and pleased with ourselves.
“By performing elaborate acts of self-abasement before these strange humourless foreigners in our midst, we all learn to laugh at ourselves as well as at each other and at our institutions. “How are the Australians going to preserve the slightest element of self-mockery when they start deferring to one of their own number, chosen on merit?”
(Incidentally, to the Republican Royal Watcher who reads my columns: this is satire.)
As a result of reading this and watching question time in our parliaments Mr. Dale claims he has become a monarchist.
I have to be careful about swallowing that. Not only is Mr. Dale a satirist. When The Guardian declared its well overdue conversion back to the monarchy, I was warned by a friend not to be taken in by its editorial on 1 April. I said" No newspaper of the standing of the Guardian would so misuse its editorial."
As my friend said: “Don’t be so gullible; you have no idea of the deceit to which republicans will stoop”.
So until you do something which only a genuine royalist would do, Mr. Dale, I am afraid I can't believe you.