Thursday 25 December 2003

Egalitarianism is a pipe-dream

When the Queen speaks
The Commonwealth represents the extent to which the British Empire grew in the 19th Century which then diminished in the first half of the 20th Century.
Mozambique is the only country that has no historical ties to the Commonwealth, but has joined this community on the realisation that it is surrounded by other countries including the rogue Zimbabwean state.
On gaining independence, a number of countries became republics and had the complete mantle of government vested in the local citizenry. The Queen’s representative in those countries then becomes a British government representative with the title of Ambassador.
Where the countries have not adopted a republican status, the figure-head head of government as the Queen’s representative in that country is the Governor-General. Canada and Australia are not republics.
Many of those former British Empire states started off as democracies and descended into governmental chaos when certain groups grabbed the reins of government as a right rather than elective privilege.
This was worsened by other factions, feeling marginalised and resorting to arms and plunging their countries into civil war and complete anarchy.
Others either had years of military misrule or populist governments that abused the rule of law and all due process.
The Commonwealth is more peaceful now, though the last meeting of governments did threaten to undo the relationship. Zimbabwe and Pakistan remain outsiders for misrule and military dictatorship respectively.
Anyway, every Christmas day at 15:00 hrs GMT the Queen’s Christmas message is relayed to the Commonwealth. The message is supposed to cover issues of the year, the hopes, the fears, the thanks and the regrets.
However, this traditional atmosphere is continually getting a touch of modernisation, one expects the speeches of the near future to be the Queen rapping her message on Top of the Pops. God forbid!
The Queen represents a documented and traceable heritage of history, circumstance and development of the British identity. Though the class structures of feudal servitude have all but disappeared, these have evolved creating new battle lines.
The moneyed, the celebrity, the politician, the fan, the deprived, the refugee now make up the obvious classes. However, the class struggles along the erstwhile lines still continue without specific appellation.
The equality of democracy as we know it does not produce the liberality of a government of the people, by the people for the people. No modern democracy can boast of that lofty definition in practice.
Rather the government of the day seeks to impose a set of class values on majority society, where they are mostly in government with less than 35% of the total enfranchised population.
On Christmas day, the Queen reminds us of history, how society has evolved and gives a time frame to the era we live in. The Second Elizabethan era of the late 20th Century which now includes the early 21st Century?
Long live the Queen - by the which we know our identity as members of the Commonwealth.
An Englishman abroad.

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