Writing on the wall

Submitted by Anon on 18 August, 2003 - 6:55

Welcome to Ruritania

A big stir was provoked in Mediaworld last week by the news that Charles Windsor, aka “the Prince of Wales”, and his partner, Camilla Parker-Bowles, are to marry in the spring. For a few days all other news, even the crisis in Iraq and the imminent General Election, was driven out of the papers. There is, to paraphrase Macaulay, nothing so ridiculous as the British press in one of its periodic fits of sycophancy.

Some difficulty has been caused in some backward quarters of the land by the fact that Ms. Parker-Bowles is a divorcee. The Church of England will not marry the couple in church because Camilla’s “adultery” with Charles was the reason for the divorce (although the Archbishop of Canterbury is pathetically eager to preside over the “religious blessing”). This is deemed to be a problem as Charles may one day, as King, be “Supreme Governor of the Church of England”, as a result of the well-known act of grand larceny committed by his distant ancestor, Henry VIII.

So there will be a civil marriage in Windsor Castle, which will apparently be “morganatic” (i.e., Camilla will not become Queen and any children of the union [miracle babies indeed] will not become heirs). This term derives from the medieval bastard Latin word “morganatica”, denoting the gift on the morning after the first shag which was all that commoner women marrying noblemen were once entitled to. Long past the feudal era, we must rely on the “royal family” to preserve such charming customs.

I wonder what Charles will give her? Her favourite hobby is hunting, but by the time they marry that will be illegal.

Perhaps she will be lucky enough to get a plant he’s talked to, or one of his books on Very Boring Architecture.

Even the morganatic marriage, though, doesn’t satisfy some traditionalists. A number of Oxford dons (wouldn’t you know it?) led by the fossilised old loony Vernon Bogdanor, have raised concerns that civil marriage for a “royal” might not be legal.

Solidarity can exclusively reveal that this is nonsense. However, it does raise an important question of public interest. Mr Bogdanor is being paid by the public to talk about the private affairs of Charles Windsor in terms of archaic royalist claptrap, and this isn’t the only waste of public money. Charles gets six million a year.

So I propose a solution to the “constitutional difficulties” inherent in his remarriage: sack the lot of them, then he can marry whomever he likes!

"Pleasing to the Council and the people"

Good news from Oxford, where an active Defend Council Housing campaign was organising against the threat of privatisation. The Labour Council has responded to an 89% vote to keep council housing in public ownership by effectively ruling out any change.

Fresh from this victory, local Labour lefties went to the party’s Spring Conference in Gateshead to ask some awkward questions about council housing and public sector pensions. The response was predictable. “I’ve got a photo of me being poked by John Prescott!” declared one activist.

What a thrill. It is to be hoped that this latest defeat for New Labour’s housing policy will deliver a big poke in the ribs to their ideological infatuation with the private sector.

Education, Education, McJob

A n update on the progress of Ruth Kelly, the Opus Dei-influenced new Education Secretary, is called for. Ms Kelly has defended her position, insisting that her religious views will have no impact on how she does her job. She intends, she says in this week’s Tribune, to ensure that “there are no caps on a child’s aspirations”.

She will do this by promoting vocational education for less academically inclined children — or those whose background has not given them the advantage that most middle-class kids have. Children will have “options” allowing them “to enter the workplace” at an early age. In other words, working-class children will be taught to limit their aspirations to the quotidian lives of their parents. How progressive.

Religious hatred

This week’s bit of pseudo-religious rubbish comes from one of the traditional sources for such stuff — the Democratic Unionist Party. Ian Paisley junior has proven himself worthy of his father, the self-appointed “Reverend”, by attacking a fellow Unionist, Trimbleite Steven King, for marrying his long-term male partner.

According to Paisley junior, this was “perverse” and a “sin”. All gay marriages are “immoral, offensive and obnoxious”, etc, etc, etc. Of course, everyone knows the Paisley family act as though the 11th commandment was “Thou shalt be a raving bigot”.

But the DUP were supposed to be toning it down. Their much-vaunted new-found “pragmatism” seems more apparent than real.

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