Saturday, April 13, 2024
HomeCulture WarIn an Australia bereft, even republicans realise we’d miss the monarchy

In an Australia bereft, even republicans realise we’d miss the monarchy


THOSE looking for a bounce in republican sentiment Down Under following the death of the Queen are likely to be sorely disappointed. 

It might still happen, though the number of monarchists who despise the former Prince Charles – I still resist calling him by his new title – probably exceeds the number of republicans who despise him.  He is, of course, famously, one of them, if you get my drift.  The entitled, Leftie, globalist, greenie from Central Casting.  

Instead, bizarre as it may seem, we have witnessed an astonishing degree of weeping by republicans over Her Majesty’s passing.   Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is everywhere about, heaving and sighing and flapping and declaring days of mourning. In Victoria, state premier Daniel Andrews is re-naming hospitals after her.   

Just about every Leftie, republican journalist in our wide, brown land has boarded Qantas for Old London Town.  One republican conservative (Greg Sheridan of The Australian) has even given the phenomenon and the new grouping a name – ‘republicans for a constitutional monarchy’.   

The headline on his report reads: No change to the constitution could improve what we have. I’ve been a republican all my life and voted Yes in the 1999 referendum. But if a referendum were to be held now, I would vote No.  

Now let’s be clear.  Republicans haven’t all of a sudden converted en masse to royalists.  But the current mood is both noteworthy and memorable.  How has monarchy grief achieved this suspiciously woke status?

There are several reasons for the outpouring of grief and solemnity by those not normally given to it.  One reason might be going overboard in an effort not to seem callous about what they see (wrongly) as the ‘inevitable’ republic at the time of the Queen’s passing.   

Of course, this wouldn’t stop gauche try-hards like Australian Republican Movement chairman Peter FitzSimons – clad in his trademark red bandana – who are always up for tactical tastelessness.   

Nor did it stop a more measured journalist, Stan Grant from thinking aloud about colonialism.  (Blaming the late monarch for colonialism, a global phenomenon that has been with us since Adam and Eve and still goes on, unabated, even if it now includes reverse colonialism by itchy-footed Third Worlders, does seem a big call, it must be said).  But it is probably a factor in the sympathy we are seeing from the Left.    

Another reason might be the sheer sense of history and pageant in which just about everyone has been caught up.  It has been difficult not to.   

The immensity of Her Majesty’s achievements, her peerless skill set as a leader, her dignity in office when all around her (including her own family and just about every graceless ‘leader’, in Britain and elsewhere) have been carrying on like contestants on Big Brother or Love Island; her capacity for creating unity in the face of endless and serious division in every direction; her wise counsel of British prime ministers from Churchill to (briefly, alas) Liz Truss; her hospitality to all comers from abroad; her gentle, common touch with her devoted subjects, all suggest that the solemnity of the past two weeks has been entirely appropriate and not unexpected.    

In 1952, Winston Churchill opined, in relation to his then new monarch: ‘All the film people in the world, if they had scoured the globe, could not have found anyone so suited to the part.’  

Churchill was right, if New South Wales One Nation leader Mark Latham is to be believed.  His retrospective view was that Queen Elizabeth made only two mistakes in 70 years – the public relations missteps following Princess Diana’s death in 1997 and the issue of economic sanctions against South Africa during the apartheid period. However, he conceded these were debatable.    

Wow!  Not a bad record, one that no other world leader in history (that I can think of) could hope to have achieved. Though it was sadly tarnished towards the end of her life in the eyes of many previously stalwart monarchists – when she told her subjects ‘not to be selfish’ and be vaccinated, in what was a quite uncharacteristic political intervention. 

But it is the sheer longevity of the Queen’s reign that has, perhaps, caused a rare pause among the chattering classes to consider history and its import.  Perhaps the world has seen in Elizabeth stability as well as grace in a world that has very littleof either.  

A third reason for near universal acclamation of the Queen at her passing is realism on the part of people usually critical of the monarchy and, perhaps, the rare appearance of good taste among those not always given to it.  It is almost as though some of the late monarch’s poise has rubbed off on politicians around the world.   

Her stature was so unassailable that even the second-raters about the place – at least the vast majority of them – could not muster the indecency to photo-bomb the sombre and historic occasion.  Hence my suggestion that her critics and those of the monarchy itself and of her nation’s past were being realistic.  They were recognising that that this was one occasion not to look like an utter political pigmy.   

A fourth potential reason is less complimentary to those who, being politicians, simply love a party (and an international funeral) in order to be seen on the world stage doing solemn things.  This is why politicians also love natural disasters.   

 Whatever the reason for the outbreak of all of this sober reflection, measured response, perspective and a break from the mindless, petty day-to-day bleatings of second-rate ideologues, we should be especially grateful – again – to the one in whose name all of this good behaviour has surfaced.  

 It won’t be long before the past two weeks are forgotten, and things return to normal.  At least the politics we are forced to endure are likely to be occurring under the eye of skilled, seldom-noticed governors-general, rather than a gimcrack republic, for some little time yet.    

Queen Elizabeth’s final gift to Australia might well be engineering, without even trying, a period of reflection on the enduring benefits of deft leadership in a minimalist constitutional system.   

The British monarch might come to be thought of as a friend with benefits.  For all those who have come to profit from what should still be seen, and probably is by most (despite the loudness and endless anger of the voices of opposition), as a relatively benign invasion in 1788.  

Long may her legacy reign.  

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Paul Collits
Paul Collits
Paul Collits is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Quadrant Online

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