On the conclusion of the recent return to Australia by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh I could not help but notice that yet another prominent republican has accepted that a politicians' republic is unachievable.
And so he has graciously surrendered. All this comes he says from seeing the adoring look in the eyes of the children as they regard the Royal Family.
This time it was Graham Richardson, the Labor Party’s éminence grise, now a political commentator for the Seven Network. He makes this point in “Republicans bow to the Queen's charm,” in The Daily Telegraph 28 October, 2011.
He says that as a young boy he got into all sorts of trouble for refusing to stand for the National Anthem (when it was still God Save The Queen) at the Kogarah movie theatre.
Although times have changed, he agrees that the monarchy retains “a healthy number of fans”, a “loyal following” in Australia.
He says that a cursory glance at the evening news during the visit “shows the adoring throngs which always seem to gather around her.”
…and the young…
“If it were just the older ladies hanging around I could have shrugged it all off. But it is the number of children and teens who queue up to present her with a bouquet of flowers, or a handmade greeting card, that really tells a story.“Even teenagers seem caught up in the whole circus.
"The breathless accounts of the young and the very young – ‘I was on the wrong side of the road but I did see Prince Phillip …’" – tell the story pretty well. The kids who got their five seconds bubble over with the enthusiasm only children can have.”
While he has spent most of his life believing that I would live to see Australia become a republic, he admits that “the republic which looked such a sure thing only a decade ago is now at long odds and blowing out in the betting.”
“Nobody talks about it anymore. Nobody seems to care. Where have its champions gone? Where are they hiding?”
…that look in the eyes of the children…
“Maybe they are daunted at the overwhelmingly preferred direct election method. Maybe, like me, they have seen the crowds and spotted that look in the eyes of their own children.”
“ All I know,” he says “ is that talk of the republic has for all intents and purposes ceased entirely.” He does not see a politicians’ republic on the horizon.
…Prince William unassailable…
“I am afraid the republican movement can never beat Prince William. As a poster boy for the monarchy, he is a sensation. There may be a window in the expectedly brief reign of Prince Charles but after that the castle will be unassailable, the moat too wide.”
“I am no longer the naughty, rebellious 12-year-old at the Kogarah theatre – and now finally I surrender,” he concedes.