Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Football, royals and unionism
I've been out of circulation for a number of reasons but not, as one unkind person said, because I was still celebrating England's defeat in the Euros. To be honest, I felt sorry for poor Ashley Cole and Ashley Young - it's the kind of world-is-watching nightmare that must be very hard to shake. Although the mood was lightened by a text I had from an unnamed but witty source who said 'Police hunting the Twitter Troll who racially abused Ashley Young and Ashley Cole are appealing for help in locating the Twitter user known as @JTChelseacaptain'. It's a mixture of sympathy for the unhappy England team that were so TOTALLY outclassed by a team that (probably) won't win their next game, much less the final, and admiration of the Italians. Even if you are English, you'd have to feel privileged to have witnessed, live, even on TV, that Pirlo penalty, against one of the world's great goal-keepers Joe Hart. Italian cool to the power of 100... You can relive it here if you want ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wr8tJ1wdxE
Right. Just when I thought there was little or nothing left to be said about QE2 and that McGuinness handshake, Féilim Ó HAdhmaill puts an intriguing posting on Facebook. Always an astute commentator, Féilim notes
"The visit of the British Monarch to the North to celebrate her jubilee raises an important point though. Can you be a unionist and anti-monarchy? It's clear you can be - those who view themselves as British socialists presumably, since the idea of hereditary inequality must be anathema ro them. But maybe there's not enough of them to make their voices heard? It seems to me (as an anti-monarchist) that that was the greatest trick played by the English monarchy - to convince enough ordinary people that their identity depended on the continued existence of a privileged group of parasites at the top of the food chain. Would love to see a proper debate develop though on the whole concept of monarchy (outside of the issue of union with Britain or not) in today's world."
It's a good and original point. The British monarchy is, as he suggests, a ridiculous con-job. It's still officially anti-Catholic (no taigs on the throne, whatever about the house), anti-women (only use 'em in succession stakes when you've run out of wonderful males like, um, Prince Charles) and of course anti-democratic (you get the job because of the family you belong to, not because of any qualities or qualifications you bring, and the people who fund you have no say in it). But if you were anti-monarchy and yet a unionist - what then? Ian Paisley (Sr) has always made a point that his loyalty was to the crown, and the Protestant crown at that, and that if a Catholic should occupy the throne (relax, Ian, it ain't going to happen), then his bond of loyalty would be sundered. But there must be unionists out there who object strongly to the pampered royals and yet believe in the link with Britain. Or are the two inextricably intertwined? I hope not. Whatever argument you might put up for union with Britain, it must be an Alice-In-Wonderland mind that sees merit in the idea of a continued, endless royal reign by the Windsors. If that really is their name...