Thursday, 22 July 2021
Wednesday, 21 July 2021
Monday, 12 July 2021
For a long time, I’ve been hoping that, at the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, Australia would remain a constitutional monarchy but change from the UK’s Royal Family to that of Denmark, on the grounds that the Crown Princess of Denmark is an Australian citizen - or was before her marriage.
That still left Britain with the problem of having the current UK Queen’s son as King. He and his oldest son have no understanding of their roles and spend masses of time gabbling about “issues” - mental health, the environment, all things green - making themselves unsuitable for the entirely neutral role of monarch (& don’t get me started on the younger one).
But now I have a solution for Britain too: Charles, as a divorced man, cannot any longer be included in the succession, as the job includes being Defender of the Faith (which is to say the church). Thus he is out - and I trust that means that his children are also, since the marriage they are a result of was dissolved, (I suspect in fact this bit is where things get tricky but in that case I would say William must relinquish his rights as he has too clearly declared his politics, having chosen to appear at Davos, for pity’s sake, as well as regularly berating his future subjects on their poor environmental behaviour) .
My idea is based on an understanding of succession that sees the crown pass to the current queen’s second male heir. Yes, I admit, on the face of it that might appear less than ideal. But remember we live in a time of gender fluidity - in fact, go further; embrace that new state of affairs.
For you see, when it comes to the British monarchy, the doctrine of transgenderism can be supremely restorative. All it takes is for Princess Anne to declare that she identifies as male and is therefore second in line to the throne and all will be well. King Anne will be a hugely capable successor to her mother and Britain will be able to look forward to another decade or two of wise, unpoliticised regal leadership.
Thursday, 8 July 2021
A friend sent me this link to a story I’d never heard of by EM Forster. It is set in a world where humanity has surrendered to science and technology and accepted that life is better and safer when lived cut off from other human beings, alone in cells that are well-provisioned with electronic communication and entertainment, taken care of by the Machine.
It is a world where “people never touched one another - the custom had become obsolete.”
One character makes a break for it and experiences the outdoors, briefly. “I had got back the sense of space and a man cannot rest then,” he tells his mother, once he is back inside, safe under the control of the protective Machine again.
I don’t generally enjoy science fiction of this kind, where no explanation is given for how the usual way of life - as experienced, with minor adjustments, through all of history - has been swept away and replaced with whatever brand of weirdness the writer would have me believe has taken its place. But after the last two years I don't feel so strongly about the need for some kind of back story. I've had to recognise how easily and quickly everything can alter, and how little anyone really seems to mind.
At a certain point in the story, quite a radical change is made by the Machine. “The development was accepted quietly”, Forster tells us. Once I would have scoffed and insisted to myself that this was poor psychology. Now I know better.
Saturday, 3 July 2021
Probably two or three times a day since Matt Hancock, then UK Secretary of State for Health, resigned, a phrase coined by a former Australian politician has floated into my mind. "Relevance deprivation syndrome" is the phrase, and its coiner was one Gareth Evans, about whom I will tell you nothing, as he is a person best forgotten, (something he discovered after leaving parliament, leading him to come up with the phrase.)
Imagine the unappetising Hancock - before his resignation he was ubiquitous, he had power, he was unignorable. Every minute of his day was busy, (and those that weren't were spent doing things that excited him, as witnessed by the bit of CCTV that caused his downfall.)
Now he wakes up and finds no messages on his telephone, no schedule unrolling before him, no demands and pleadings, no bowings, no scrapes. There's just him and his new lady love and no-one else wanting to speak to him. No driver, no appointments, no one remotely interested in his views or ideas.
Although I call myself a Christian, I am not a very good one, because what I think, when I think of Mr Hancock and his relevance deprivation syndrome is: ha ha ha ha ha.