Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Scared republicans cling to flawed strategy
Recently, the Prime Minister announced that she favours a republic but only after The Queen's reign ends. In typical fashion she qualifies her republicanism by saying Australians respect and admire Her Majesty. (So, why exactly are you a republican again?)
It's become obvious that republicanism is no longer the chic thing it used to be Down Under. Those advocating an end to the time-tested monarchy have replaced their "I am a republican" mantra with "I am a republican, but..." Call 'em republican-lites.
Of course, republicans in Canada (yes, we've got a few here, too) also cite the end of The Queen's reign as the time when they think Canadians will all of a sudden wake up and magically become republicans. Their thinking is flawed.
Republicans in both Australia and Canada are counting on one thing and one thing only: an unpopular Prince Charles. Their assumptions are based on the idea that people will reject Prince Charles as their king. The problem with this strategy is simple: who says Charles will be unpopular when becomes King?
When the sad day comes and The Queen passes on, Charles will become King of the 16 Commonwealth Realms immediately. Sorry, no time to debate and change the constitution in that brief second of transition.
Nobody can predict the emotional state of the people during this time. No doubt, there will be profound sadness at the passing of the only Sovereign most of us have ever known. And, I suspect many people will have an enormous amount of sympathy for the Prince of Wales and will be impressed with the way the he and Prince William present themselves during what will surely be a difficult period of time. Ultimately, there will be less hostility and more sympathy - coupled with a "let's give this guy a chance" mentality.
If republican politicans were true to their words, they would champion their cause now instead of putting it off. In other words, don't talk the talk but rather walk the walk. Could it be that they are afraid that their cause is simply doomed to failure? Yes. They're scared. So, they cling to a flawed strategy that pays lip service to the declining republican movement while allowing them to still boast, "I am a republican" - sorry "I am a republican, BUT..."
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Next month, CBC will air an extraordinary documenary called "Queen Elizabeth in 3D." It is only fitting that the subect of the first 3D documenary to be broadcast in Canada is The Queen of Canada. The documentary features colour 3D footage of The Queen's Coronation in 1953 as well as 3D footage shot during Her Majesty's most recent Canadian Homecoming. As an aside, yours truly also appears in the documentary...thankfully not in 3D.
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Last month I had the great fortune of meeting Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at the Prime Minister's official dinner in Toronto. The Queen has been one of my heroes and role models since I was a child. Having the opportunity to meet her was for me a dream come true. I thought I'd end by sharing with you what was a truly special moment in my life...