December 15

Republican Infiltration

Passionate republican ( mercifully only republicans are described as “passionate”)) Peter FizSimons asked me in his page 2 Column in Sydney’s Sun Herald on Sunday, 11 December, 2005 to perform a service for him, which I do in part by repeating his message – verbatim.

“MEMO: David Flint. Pssst. My infiltration of the Republican ranks has continued apace, and they really do deadest think I am one of them. Please pass on to everyone in your monarchist newsletter-just as you have written every other even vaguely Republican reference I make in any column I write-that there was another meeting of the disloyal breed in Phillip Street on Tuesday and there is a push for late January to get things moving. I will report back with more details soon, but in the meantime I think a very earnest newsletter from you decrying all Republican activity as an abomination against God’s will is in order. Whaddyareggon?”

Sorry, Mr FirzSimons, while I am happy to repeat your message, I can’t put out the Fatwa against the republicans which you seem to be asking for.

You see, republicans have every right to propose peaceful constitutional change, but this time, please, don’t ask the taxpayer to add to the millions and millions of public money already diverted from schools and hospitals for their folly.

Do what you want to do, although given the venue the law precinct- I do hope that for consistency’s sake there are no Queen’s Counsel, knights, anyone bearing the Queen’s commission, or assorted oaths- breakers there.

And some words of advice. Don’t try any more stunts-the latest republican stunts are getting sillier and sillier. The worst was the one demanding The Queen of Australia” give back” the wonderful Tom Robert’s painting in Parliament House Canberra. That is like asking Her Majesty to give back “Her” Crown land!

And whatever you do, don’t mix politics with sport. The republican movement threatens to do precisely that for the Commonwealth Games, and it will do them no good at all.

And no more personal attacks on Prince Charles- unless you too can raise a quarter of a billion dollars for the disadvantaged, as he did last year .

And whatever you do, don’t end up being called an “RWM”. That is, according to an ACM volunteer, a republican who wants a republic now, but hasn’t the vaguest idea what sort of republic he wants. An “RWM”, by the way, is a Republican Without a Model.

Finally, Mr FitzSimons, all I said in the last column in which I mentioned you, that of 19 November 2005, was in relation to your comments in your sports on the Marseillaise, the French anthem. I assume you do not challenge what I said:

“It would not be unreasonable to describe Fairfax journalist and author Peter FitzSimons as a passionate republican.(I am delighted to say that nobody calls me a passionate monarchist.)

Mr FitzSimons is so passionate he cannot resist including it in his sports column in the republican Sydney Morning Herald.

In his column of 12-13 November 2005, he lauds the French anthem, La Marseillaise, which is magnificent, particularly in the Berlioz setting.

He says it was written “in honour of the troops of the town, who were heading up to Paris to take on those trying to restore the French monarchy."

Not exactly, Mr. FitzSimons, not exactly.

Rouget de Lisle, variously described as a royalist or a moderate republican, composed the song in Strasbourg, not Marseilles and when France was still a constitutional monarchy*.

Its original name was Chant de Guerre de l’Armée du Rhin ("Battle Hymn of the Rhine Army").

Its present name came from its adoption by the volunteers from that town.

But when de Lisle refused to swear allegiance to the republican constitution, he was cashiered from the army, thrown into gaol and almost guillotined.

He was released during the counter-revolution, and wrote a hymn to celebrate the downfall of Robespierre.”

When the apparently republican Napoleon made himself Emperor, the song was banned, and this ban was continued on the restoration until King Louis –Philippe came to the throne in 1830.

(It was banned again by the Emperor Napoleon 111, restored in 1870, and again banned by Petain and in all occupied France from 1939 to 1945)

In old age, de Lisle would have been condemned to die in poverty, but the King rescued him from this by granting him a pension from his own resources.

De Lisle was badly treated by republicans, but well treated by the monarchists.

Perhaps the moral surely is, put not your faith in republican politicians.”

Now , who could object to that?

Until next time,

David Flint


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