I am, by default, a Monarchist.
What I mean by this is that I’m not a Republican. I’ve never really seen the point in Australia going through all the hassle and expense of dumping the monarchy when they don’t cost us that much, and don’t really do anything to us. I mean, sure, the Queen could mess with our laws and such, but she’s far too smart, and hence doesn’t. I can vaguely appreciate the points made about our head of state being a foreigner, but then issues of nationality and patriotism and such have always seemed slightly suspicious to me – I’ve always instinctively felt that patriotism is but one step from nationalism, and nationalism one step from fascism. Put me down with H.G.Wells – my true nationality is mankind.
So I’m a de-facto Monarchist.
Which is not to say I have any great affection for the Windsors. If the majority of Australians want to kick them to the curb and have a Republic, I have no objections whatsoever. That’s democracy. And it’s going to happen, probably within the next 20 years when all the die hard Monarchists (ie: the Elderly) die off and the die hard Republicans (ie: the Young) take over. It’s inevitable, and is known as progress. On the day the papers are signed and the Australian Monarchy abolished – well I won’t be out there in the crowd cheering, but neither will I be in the crowd booing and hissing. I’ll just be watching the whole hoo-haa on TV, thinking “what a waste of time”, and probably eating a sandwich.
So, my reaction to the Royal Wedding has mostly been one of wishing they’d just get it over with so the TV schedule can get back to normal. Or at least that was the case until the Chaser scandal.
The story in a nutshell. The Australian national broadcaster – the ABC – has purchased two live feeds of the wedding from the BBC. One with commentary by some BBC bigwig, the other without commentary. The commentated feed will be shown on ABC 1, while the uncommentated feed was going to be shown on ABC 2 with local commentary by comedy troupe the Chaser. Was is the operative word as as soon as Clarence House heard about it they whipped off a communiqué to the ABC saying that if the Chaser broadcast wasn’t cancelled, then both feeds would be cut, and the ABC wouldn’t get to show the wedding at all.
This violates what I consider to be one of the most important functions of the Australian Monarchy – leaving us alone to do our own thing. If the monarchy is suddenly going to start interfering in Australian domestic affairs and – even worse – inflicting censorship, then as far as I’m concerned they can go do physically implausible things to themselves. Mocking our (supposed) social superiors is part of the Australian identity, and if the monarchy isn’t willing to go along with that then they no longer represent who we are as a people, and are as redundant as the most rabid Republican claims they are.
So, basically, what I want to say is Queen Elizabeth, if this kind of thing continues you’ve lost my vote!