Friday, April 01, 2011

Oh Man--the British Even do April Fools Better Than Us

Is there no holiday that the British can't outclass Americans in? Sigh. Anyway, enjoy this from The Guardian, via Chris Brooke:

A decade ago, the Guardian prominently announced its commitment to republicanism. But Prince William has shown that he can be a new kind of king. That is why, in a significant change of course, we today pledge our full-throated support for the British monarchy.

Let's face it: the current crop of world leaders is far from inspiring. Across the Arab world, dictators battle their own people; at home, attitudes towards [David] Cameron and [Nick] Clegg alternate between apathy and outrage. In America, the hope that greeted Barack Obama has long since faded. As The King's Speech so vividly reminded us, there are times when only the calming leadership of a hereditary monarch will do; and as the MPs' expenses scandal illustrates, it can be dangerous to trust power-hungry elected officials, who lack the security provided by land ownership and immense wealth. Amid all this, William in particular stands out as something unique: a bastion of tradition with a deeply modern sensibility – not to mention a helicopter pilot's licence. When the time comes, we urge Prince Charles to redouble his focus on his important work in the field of alternative medicine, and to pass the mantle of head of state to his son.

For too long, a hair-shirt tendency on the left has insisted that a commitment to progressive values is incompatible with an appreciation for the magic and wonder of royalty. But in this era of austerity, couldn't we all do with being a bit more "happy and glorious"? Few things, after all, are as likely to lift the spirits of Britain's embattled public sector workers or benefit claimants than the sight of Kate Middleton's sure-to-be-spectacular wedding dress.

The couple themselves, meanwhile, reflect values close to this paper's own. William encapsulates our spirit of internationalism, thanks to his Greek and German heritage on his father's side, and his gap year in Chile. Kate embodies our commitment to gender equality in the way in which she has faced work-life challenges common to many women today, juggling such roles as accessories buyer for Jigsaw and being one of Tattler magazine's top 10 fashion icons. Other royals, too, are surely deserving of recognition: belatedly, for example, we have come to appreciate the crucial work done by Prince Andrew, using his personal connections to plant the seeds of democracy in repressive regimes worldwide.

Beginning today, the Guardian announces a raft of changes designed to ensure that our royal coverage is unrivalled by any other media organisation. We begin an unprecedented month-long, 24-hour royal wedding live blog, offering minute-by-minute coverage of the preparations. We will be recalling correspondents from some less newsworthy parts of the globe, such as north Africa and south-east Asia, so they can focus on palace matters instead. And we will shortly be making available to readers a range of attractive commemorative crockery.

The marriage of a prince to a commoner – a true bridging of class divides, if ever there was one – represents the perfect moment for progressives to commit again to the promise of hereditary monarchy. Great philosophers, from Burke to Andrew Morton, have argued powerfully for the institution's value. In any case, it would be churlish to fight the tide of excitement and optimism currently flooding the nation. It is time to put away the cynicism, and get out the union jacks.


(For the above image, hat tip: Laura McKenna. Just be glad I didn't choose to feature the commemorative condoms.)

3 comments:

Jacob T. Levy said...

Chris also posted this one, which I think is even better.

Russell Arben Fox said...

Ack. I suppose it reveals too much about my political prejudices, Jacob, but I saw that link, and didn't take the time to read it, assuming it was for real. (I was planning on reading it and getting infuriated later! Thanks for saving me the time.)

Jacob T. Levy said...

I think that's what makes it better-- in the current climate, it's just-barely believable at the same time that it's so obviously insane. I didn't believe the Guardian for a split second; this one, I did.