Dream on comrades
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Surely the Daily Mail and its Sunday stablemate know that the idea of the Crown not passing to the heir is preposterous. This would involve submitting a proposal to change the law relating to the succession to the governments of sixteen realms. Even if it were approved, legislation would have to be considered by  sixteen parliaments, to say nothing of any complexities which may arise in federations.

And what would be the reason, the explanation? The need for a newspaper headline?

That of course did not stop this foolish story from going around the world. It managed to get into evening TV bulletins, and was treated as if it were a serious possibility.

 

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That Prince William will obviously take up more duties over the years is self evident. As a spokesman for St James’ Palace told the Mail on Sunday (13/12): “Both Prince William and Prince Harry have gradually increased the number of engagements they carry out in support of the Queen, although their focus remains on their full-time careers in the Armed Services.”

In fact, according to Andrew Pierce in the London Daily Telegraph (12/12), Prince William graduated with “flying colours” according to the Ministry of Defence after an intensive training course at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire. The Prince of Wales will be at the ceremony at Shawbury next month when his son is presented with his wings.  

This clarification from St James’ Palace did not stop the Mail from speculating that The Queen believes Prince William represents the best long-term interests of the monarchy and even that the Crown will go straight to him.




...manufactured controversy....




Glen Owen, the Mail on Sunday Political Correspondent referred to a government announcement  granting Prince Charles tax relief “worth hundreds of thousands of pounds”, by allowing him to deduct his sons’ official expenses from his tax return. This they said , was “slipped out” on Budget Day in a separate ministerial note and was picked up by newspapers only several days later.

The report said this relates to an office at St James’s Palace, with six members of staff, which for the past few months has been organising the affairs of Princes William and Harry. Previously, the Princes had been represented by Charles’ staff.

St James’ Palace explained the arrangements: “The Royal Household and HMRC agreed to update the Memorandum of Understanding for the first time in many years to reflect changes in the Royal Family. The previous Memorandum still included the Princess of Wales and not Prince William or Prince Harry.” “The new MoU merely streamlined the bureaucratic arrangements concerning Prince William’s and Prince Harry’s official lives.”

“The new MoU made no difference to the amount of tax paid by the Prince’s Household.”

  

This of course is a reasonable, proper and lawful measure. If His Royal Highness is paying for the performance of official duties out of his own pocket, he ought to be allowed to include them in his tax return.

So why did the Mail refer to this as a tax “perk”? Would the Mail refer to its reasonable proper and lawful deductions as perks? Would journalists?
 

 And was it really necessary to obtain the mandatory vicious comment on this from some miniscule republican group? Or did the Mail just want to create an artificial controversy?





....republican silver bullet...

 

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In the meantime the leading Australian press and broadcast commentator Andrew Bolt (15/12)  has written a piece summarising the quandary Australia’s republicans are in. Referring to the nation’s leading women’s magazine, he has posted a comment on his blog headed : “Try telling Women’s Weekly it can’t have King William.“

He refers to the latest silver bullet the republicans think will ensure some sort of politicians’ republic falls into their laps. That is the end of this reign.  

Andrew Bolt points out that the architect of 1999’s failed republican referendum says the reign must end “ “before Australians would vote out the monarchy forever.”

He notes that  Malcolm Turnbull said the Queen’s departure from the throne would be a watershed event that would galvanise the population into debating what type of head of state they wanted.Andrew Bolt then refers to the prominent republican   Greg Barns, who said:

“One of the reasons why Australians voted against the proposition advocated by the republican cause in 1999 was because of an enduring admiration and affection for the Queen Mother and the current Australian Head of State – Elizabeth....”

 Mr. Barns forgets that his republicans attacked ACM at the time of the referendum for “not mentioning The Queen.” We of course concentrated on the ramifications of their proposal, and not on the evident qualities of our Sovereign.

“ Last year in the north-eastern Victorian town of Corryong,” continues Mr. Barns,” a group of women in their 60s and 70s gathered in the main street for their morning ‘cuppa.’ I was introduced to them and we began to talk about the republic. All six of these women told me that they would vote for a republic once the Queen Mother had died and Elizabeth had also died or abdicated in favour of Charles.”


But as Andrew Bolt says it:  “Dream on, comrades.”

Any republican who thinks Australians will be rushing to take up some politicians’ republic at the end of this reign just does not understand the Australian people, the way the nation the Commonwealth and the world will be engrossed in this sad event and how they will gradually measure the impact of the new reign, the new sovereign and the next Prince of Wales.

Referring to the speculation in the Mail, he adds: “Do you really think the women of Australia will vote to get rid of King William?”