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A Right Royal Cock-Up

What exactly is the bombshell here? Old age pensioner wants to leave the EU… don’t most of them according to the demographic polls?

Lucy Mannion

Naked Politics Blogger

It’s always kind of weird when non-political public figures declare their allegiance to a political party or give their unsolicited take on an issue which doesn’t really relate to their civic profile.  I mean having Peter Stringfellow or Jim Davidson on your side (Conservatives) seems like a bit of a poisoned chalice to me and the backing of Tinie Tempah didn’t seem to serve Labour that well in the last election.

We have even seen some celebs coming out to state which way they are going to vote in the #EUref (though this seems to have caused less divisive excitement than Team Aniston vs Team Jolie did) June Sarpong wants to stay, Michael Caine wants to leave and joining him on the Brexit bus, according to The Sun, is the Queen.

Following this was some sort of collective media hysteria with all the other papers reporting on what The Sun had reported.  Was it true?  Who were the sources behind the story?  Will IPSO spank the editor’s bottom for violating Clause One of the Editor’s Code of Practice after the Palace’s decision to throw their teddies out of their pram and complain to the press regulator?  My bigger question personally was: who cares what the Queen thinks about the EU?

Don’t get me wrong I am not some sort of staunch republican, I think it’s lovely that you can get a letter from Queenie when you reach one hundred, but the whole deal of the monarchy is quite explicitly that they do not get to play in the political arena.  In essence, if the Queen tried to come up to you for a chinwag about her views on communism or the tampon tax shouldn’t you stuff your fingers in your ears and go lalala until she got the message and went away.

Politicians loathe royals poking their nose out of the palace and over into Westminster, the hubbub surrounding Prince Charles and his letters to Defra showed how problematic it can make life for everyone.  Indeed those who have journeyed back through the BBC archives might remember the original (and I think better) House of Cards series in which a politically meddling monarch is firmly put in their place by the PM and forced to abdicate.  Though I can’t really see that Cameron would want to trade Liz for Charles…

god-save-the-queen

My feeling is that The Sun was not right to report this bit of tawdry regal gossip.  As it turns out, the evidence they provide for their headline is a bit dubious, despite their continued insistence otherwise.   And theoretically, even if it is true, what exactly is the bombshell here?  Old age pensioner wants to leave the EU… don’t most of them according to the demographic polls?

Even without The Sun’s keen eye for frenzy causing headlines, I would have assumed that the Queen was Eurosceptic.  In the same way I assume she is a Conservative, just because well, most posh people are.  But these tacit suppositions are neither really here nor there when it comes to a General Election and I consider it should be the same way with the #EUref.

Some have argued that we are entitled to know what the Queen thinks on this most significant of issues and I understand the impulse to look to our Head of State when ruminating about the future of the country.  However, isn’t the Queen basically a figurehead, an agreeable face to put on pennies to make us feel culturally bonded and satisfied, rather than a political genius?  I mean I know she signs off all the documents and they’re her government and all but at the end of the day isn’t she more of a mascot than an intellectual?

All I can think is that Prince Charles must be spitting feathers.  He seems to spend a lot of time trying to air his political views, which nobody wants to listen to.  So to have his mother’s splashed everywhere when she apparently doesn’t even want to share them must be especially galling.

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