PRINCE CHARLES VISIT
In case you missed it, the itinerary of the visit of Prince Charles was sent out on Saturday morning, 26 February, 2005, and will soon be posted to our site. It includes details of his return to his school
A COMMISSION INTO THE MONARCHY? WHAT FOR? A TIRESOME WISH LIST ABOUT, SAY, THE CORGIS?
My letter to The Scotsman sent on 25 February explains what this is all about. It is the sort of thing which would bring joy to those who wish not to reform The Crown, whatever that means, but to destroy it.
The call by the director of Burke’s Peerage for a commission to determine a policy on the future of the monarchy is no doubt well intended. But I suspect that Mr Brookes-Taylor may have overlooked the fact that The Queen is the Sovereign not just of the UK, but of fifteen other countries who must be consulted on matters of substance. The role of the monarchy differs in each. Australia, for example, was the first former colony where most the functions of the constitutional monarch were placed by the constitution itself in the hands of the Governor-General. It was also the first to receive the power to change its own constitution. The Queen of Australia remains an essential part of the Australian constitution, demonstrated by the increasingly convoluted models and processes proposed by the small republican movement here to remove the Crown and replace it with something meaningful. The Crown is of course constitutionally important in all of the sixteen Realms, not so much for the power it can wield, but the power it denies others.
A commission without representation from all sixteen Realms would be wrong in principle, and all it would come up with, at great expense, would be a purely subjective and tiresome wish-list of things-to-do about such matters as the role, function and number of corgis in the Royal Household. The Crown is an intrinsic, essential and yet evolving institution in all of our countries -don’t meddle with it.
AN ERROR IN REPORTING
The Daily Telegraph , Sydney, published my letter on 26 February, 2005 under a headline, PURPLE PROSE. It was about the practice of too many journalists9 and one former governor of Tasmania) to put words into the mouths of members of the Royal Family, reporting this as news!
Mr Bruce Wilson writes (25/2) reports that The Queen announced she would not attend Charles wedding because she considers it "demeaning."
Of course she did no such thing, and it is wrong for Mr Wilson to report this as news. The fact is that a gaggle of so called Royal watchers and Royal experts, trying to make some headlines and increase their importance and their incomes, decided to put this spin on the decision. These gossip mongers, as well as those lawyers with sufficient time on their hands who are gratuitously casting doubt on the legality of the marriage, should let this couple get on with their lives, and allow Charles to get back to doing what he does best-raising vast amounts of money for the disadvantaged. They never mention that just last year, he raised about $240 million for charity!
HEAD OF STATE
Sir David Smith returned to the issue on which he is the expert, the Head of State, in a recent letter to The Canberra Times. The subject was a reply to their columnist who is also Chair of the ARM, Professor Warhurst.
A recent editorial in The Sydney Morning Herald expressed the hope that the debate on the republic would be about principles and not personalities. So I do not propose to pursue Professor Warhurst over his grubby little diatribe against the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Parker-Bowles ( Constitutional system is broken, as Charless visit shows, CT 25 February 2005).
However, I do wish to challenge his assertion that our constitutional Monarch is also our Head of State. In an earlier opinion piece, (For the Queens sake lets get the G-Gs role right, CT 30 May 2003), Professor Warhurst claimed the Governor General is not the Head of State, and asserted that there is an overwhelming consensus among independent constitutional experts that this is the case.
When invited to provide the names of the independent constitutional experts to whom he had referred, and references to published accounts of their views, Professor Warhurst could provide no names and no references.
Instead he replied:
I believe that a survey of all the professors of constitutional law and Australian politics in Australian universities, for instance, would support my position. This was hardly convincing confirmation of his dogmatic assertion, and certainly no evidence whatsoever of the overwhelming consensus which he had claimed was in existence. Scholarship has to be about more than just unpublished firmly held personal opinions, even by university professors.
The reasons why some Australians take the view that the Queen is our Monarch and the Governor-General is our Head of State will be found on the Parliaments web site at
http://www.aph.gov.au at Submission 20A.
There you readers will find the names of independent constitutional experts and references to published accounts of their views.
REPUBLICAN BIAS IN NZ MEDIA, TOO
It was, I suppose, to be expected. But it is sad, and it is wrong. The public broadcaster in New Zealand has unfortunately been struck by that well known modern malaise- campaigning for an agenda, which includes a republic, under the guise of providing objective news and balanced opinion. The following press release of the Monarchist League of New Zealand, issued on 23 February 20005, exposes this breach of the broadcasters Charter.
TVOne is broadcasting republican propaganda on 3 March, two days before the arrival in New Zealand of the Prince of Wales. The programme is entitled "Should Prince Charles ever be King of New Zealand?", and in the words of Richard Harman, the executive producer, is designed to provoke a debate about republicanism on the eve of the Prince’s visit.
The Monarchist League is not opposed to debate on the question of whether New Zealand might chose to change its political structure from constitutional monarchy to some other form of government, such as a republic. However we do question the appropriateness of the timing of this programme and its format and provocative title. It focuses on personalities, and is deliberately timed to coincide with Prince Charles’ visit.
The timing of the programme is not appropriate. At best it is impolite, at worst it is intended as an intentional insult to the Prince personally, or even a deliberate attack on the institution which he represents.The idea of discussing a serious constitutional subject of this nature in the manner proposed is unrealistic. It is not a subject which is likely to provide much entertainment value. The really important issues are those of political and constitutional principle, not whether we like Prince Charles. It will not elicit serious debate, and is likely to descend into personalities. We strongly oppose the form of media circus which is likely to result, however well-intentioned the producers may be.
The programme is apparently intended to begin with a lengthy section setting out the constitutional situation. This section will include interviews recorded prior to the show going to air. The programme will be hosted by Simon Dallow. The studio audience is apparently to be chosen to allow the producers to cover the range of views within the community. They will also use groups of people around the country. It might be doubted whether this cross section will reflect the majority view that favour the monarchy.
Having a major programme based on the question of whether New Zealand should become a republic is an indication of a political agenda, whenever it is aired. There is no serious debate on this issue, despite the best efforts of elements in the media to create one. This is clearly an attempt to provoke controversy, and is therefore a dubious use of taxpayer money. If this is to be the approach taken by TVNZ under its Charter, I look forward to a similar programme asking whether New Zealand should abolish parliament (to be aired two days before the General Election).
Dr Noel Cox
Chairman, The Monarchist League of New Zealand Inc.
At a recent discussion on the teaching of history, I made the point that it is impossible to understand our legal and constitutional system without knowing British and Australian history. In particular, without appreciating the struggle between the Stuart Kings and Parliament, it would not be possible to understand the Westminster system. Even the English school curriculum is apparently being used to advance a political agenda, a fact admitted in the recent and now notorious editorial in the journal of the association of English teachers. I thought English , as a school subject, was about grammar and literature and not politics.
So what chance is there that history will be taught as it should be, and as it once was?
Bruce A. Knox sent this letter to the Editor of The Sunday Age to attempt to correct a columnists apparent misunderstanding of our history. It is to be hoped that The Sunday Age publishes this.
Some of Terry Lanes insights into the cult of Gallipoli are welcome. He needs however to reconsider the assertion that an imperial ally gave orders for an attack upon "people with whom we have no quarrel and who have done us no wrong."
Lanes implied comparison with Australias questionable attitude to the international actions of the United States – truly a mere "ally" – is fallacious.
ANZAC forces invaded Turkey as part of a war undertaken not to support an ally – and certainly not under some kind of duress – but because Australia and New Zealand were part of an empire resisting an exceedingly powerful and dangerous enemy. The Turks were that enemy’s allies. They were as much the British empires – and therefore Australias – enemy as were the Germans. They were for that reason doing us wrong and we had, to say the least, a quarrel with them.
The horror of the Kaisers War has nothing whatever to do with the case; nor has the fact that the Dardanelles campaign was bungled (perhaps misconceived); nor has the Turks hard-won success in resisting the invasion; nor have the casualties sustained by the Australians (a common piece of unwarranted special pleading).
Let me conclude with a quote from Theodore Dalrymple, writing in the US based National Review, March 2005:
The present Queen has behaved so well, for so many years, that she represents the greatest modern exemplar of devotion to duty known to me.
What more can be said about our Sovereign?
Until next time,