Dale Estey, in a post about his outing to the cinema a couple of weeks back, described a slow-moving crocodile of eager film-buffs braving sub-zero temperatures to see The King's Speech. (Ah, the inexhaustible talent of Mr Colin Firth...but no dripping shirts in this one, I guess!)
Whatever one feels about the principle of Monarchy, and whether individual monarchs are saints or villains – mostly they're just ordinary mortals coping with an invidious task in high relief - I believe we know instinctively that we are made to honour it. A Constitutional Monarchy, based on long tradition, is probably as good as it gets. This has to some extent been eroded in Britain, but what is largely below the waterline is the stabilising influence it still has on society. If we didn't deeply, inwardly, assent to that, it would have been overthrown by now.
You see, political theories might well appear just and logical, but they don't take into account human nature and human needs.
It provides no solution that those at the top must have their incomes protected because they are the movers and shakers and the benefits will somehow percolate downwards. The cherished moneymakers who provide the highest revenue, it is argued, are those who will be keeping the country afloat. Not, apparently, if the wife lives in Monaco.
Grants to local government are equally likely to be administered in favour of vested interests, so that money is funnelled into private pockets. The trouble with outright democracy is that, while it may spare us the tyrants, election sifts down to the least abhorred, rather than the most revered and respected.
As a counterweight, we need an impartial hierarchy which is there to promote, throughout the globe, the good of every law-abiding citizen of the nation - and even to mediate the fate of those who aren't!
Rather than the reverse, it gives us status and colours our aspirations. It is the last link with our heritage in a post-Christian society. And if this framework revives our long-lost humility, then we are ennobled by that process. In this finely-balanced symbiosis, we are its servants and it is ours.
The history of the great American Continent is about structuring and redefining. But for Brits, change would mean the kind of deconstruction that, when the chocks are off and all shuffles down, any thuggish embezzler or Godfather figure, could be openly manipulating our national life.
Revolution, for us, would not be like America or France or Russia. We are a close-knit, multi-racial society which every day has to confront the kind of issues raised by the new edition of Huckleberry Finn. Sounds petty? Well, there are real consequences. The indigenous English have to grin and bear it. There are no-go areas for ambulance services, doctors on call, even the police. There are clergy vacancies not being filled. English families have moved out, leaving the elderly, infirm and those on the breadline, in rundown enclaves, trapped by plummeting property values. Neighbourhood bullying is not confined to any group, but the tensions caused by race do focus frustration and polarise allegiance.
It's all a million miles from Wordsworth's Lakes, Jane Austen's Hampshire, Laurie Lee's Gloucestershire, Hardy's Wessex. Yet it's not so far from the doorstep.
Ancestral conflict in the Middle East between Christian and Muslim still reverberates. The St George Cross, an emblem associated with the Knights Templar, worn on tunic and shield, means it's forbidden by councils in some areas to fly the English flag. Last year, that was relaxed because of the World Cup. Heaven forfend that anything should inhibit football appreciation! And, of course, sports pursuits should unify behind a flag. But whether that will hold good come next April 23 remains to be seen.
The worst of it is, ethnic incomers see that we have abandoned our heritage, that the controversial teaching of our history is dwindling, that religious education forms no part of the curriculum, that we have stripped out of our major dictionaries words that express the sensitive realities of living in rural white, Christian-based, communities and the contribution to the economy they make. Christianity may have abused its message in various quarters every bit as much as immigrants may have abused their own religions by fanaticism, but at least they know who they are. Their own women abide by a formal code and white women, who abide by any or none, are seen, Mr Straw coolly observed, as 'white trash'.
The British Empire is why they are here, and we have disappointed them.
“What Britain needs,” said a Jewish friend, “is a benevolent dictator.”
I confess I was amused by the idealism of this oxymoron, thinking of the less bloodthirsty Old Testament kings who stood in God's stead and often did it their way. But he was articulating the deep human cry of a child for a parent.
Perhaps audiences flock to The King's Speech in response to that echo, subconsciously aware of the truth that 'in the beginning was the Word.'
Causes Rosy Cole Supports
World Vision, International Prison Outreach, Salvation Army, Emmaus Project, Poor Clares, DogsTrust, BUAV (against animal testing) WWT (Wildfowl &...