Sunday 14 December 2008

Everyone who writes, wants to be read. This blogger follows that rule. It is a pleasure to see who takes note of this Radical Royalist.

The first example is the Portuguese Royal Family on whose website there is a link to my blog. I am honoured by His Royal Highness, Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Bragança’s kindness. It was by chance that I discovered that among the links to European Royal Families and Monarchist organisations, one leads to the Radical Royalist. Thank you very much, Your Royal Highness.

On the other hand I also welcome the republicans who pass by. And even if they think what I write is stupid , I do appreciate that they comment on my thoughts. Thank you very much, mates.

Saturday 13 December 2008

A distinguished Monarchist leaves the Australian High Court
In the daily newspaper The Australian, which is of course part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, Michael Pelly has called it “the most incongruous thing about [Australian High Court Judge Michael] Kirby […] that he is a monarchist. Yet it fits neatly with his respect for pillars of society such as family, church and parliament. He has also emphasised the importance of obligations in his judgments, especially in contract cases.”

Why should it be incongruous that a highly respected lawyer is loyal to the Oath of Allegiance he has sworn to The Queen of Australia?

Michael Kirby was lucky he was appointed at all to the highest court in Australia. Again Michael Pelly: “The attorney-general at the time of Kirby's appointment to the High Court in 1996, Michael Lavarch, says there was no mention of Kirby's sexuality in government circles. ‘I did, however, have a problem with his support for the monarchy.’"

On 10th December, Justice Michael Kirby announced that he will quit the High Court on 2nd February 2009, a month before he was due to retire at 70. Michael Kirby was appointed to the High Court by the Keating Government and was known for his dissenting decisions, especially on human rights cases, making him the highest dissenting judge in the court's history.

As recently as in April 2008 Justice Michael Kirby referred to the proven advantages of constitutional monarchy as the Sydney Morning Herald reported: ”But to Kirby the monarchy is a radical institution. ‘The freest countries are constitutional monarchies’.

Michael Pelly said: “If [Justice] Ian Callinan could be described as a radical conservative, then Kirby is the conservative radical.

That sounds familiar to the Radical Royalist. Is there a Royaist Radical somewhere?

Thursday 11 December 2008

The sister of the Chogyal of Sikkim has died
In an obituary published by The Daily Telegraph on 11th December 2008, I learned of the death of Her Highness, Princess Pema Tsedeun Yapshi Pheunkhang Lacham Kusho of Sikkim. The sister of Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, Twelfth Consecrated Ruler of Sikkim, has died on 2nd December 2008. Her brother has predeceased her in 1982:

Princess Coocoola of Sikkim, who has died aged 84, was the beautiful widow of a Tibetan governor and a champion of the distinct culture of the northern Indian state of Sikkim.

Embodying a combination of oriental charm and western sophistication, she relayed messages to the outside world as the Chinese invasion of Tibet began in 1950, then devoted ten years to running a rehabilitation centre for Tibetan refugees in Sikkim. Twenty-five years later, when Sikkim was annexed by India, she played an active role in trying to retain its separate political status and unique character, giving a press conference in Hong Kong to protest at its loss of independence.

Acting as the hostess for her brother, the Chogyal (King) of Sikkim, at State functions until he married his American wife, she travelled widely to lobby politicians in New Delhi. She mixed with John Kenneth Galbraith, Senator Edward Kennedy and presidential aides in Washington and presented an 18-in high Buddha to a Tibetan children's village at Sedlescome, Sussex.

When the Indian prime minister Pandit Nehru offered her a pension, the Princess turned it down, and asked instead for trading rights. Working from a single room in Calcutta, she and her younger sister Princess Kula started a business importing turquoise from Iran. Later she joined the boards of a company which produced jewels for watches and of the State Bank of Sikkim.

Princess Pema Tsedeun Yapshi Pheunkhang Lacham Kusho (known as Coocoola) was the daughter of Sir Tashi Namgyal, KCSI, KCIE, the 11th Chogyal, and the granddaughter of a Tibetan general. She was born at Darjeeling on September 6 1924, when the Himalayan kingdom, which had been established in the 1640s, was a protectorate of the British Empire.

Young Coocoola was educated by the nuns of St Joseph's convent at Kalimpong, a hill station near Darjeeling. The Tibetan Pheunkhang family then wrote to the palace, saying that they wanted a Sikkimese Princess to marry their 23-year-old eldest son. Her father did not force her to accept, and she asked a secretary to reply that she wanted to go to university first. On being pressed, she accepted Sey Kusho Gompo Tsering Yapshi Pheunkhang, the governor of the Tibetan city of Gyantse and a son of one of the four ministers of Tibet. But she broke precedent by declining to marry both the bridegroom and his brother, as was the custom. "I replied that I would only marry the eldest," she recalled in later life.

In 1941 the Princess duly set off on the three-week journey to Lhasa with two maids, one bearer and two horses. She rode while going through the countryside, but retreated to her palanquin when passing through towns. When she arrived she found the two sons sitting next to her at the wedding ceremony, but repeated to her intended that she would marry only him. She and her husband settled down to enjoy the leisured life of the Tibetan gentry, with parties, picnics and festivals. The few visitors who arrived in Tibet – known as "the roof of the world" – were mesmerised by her.

In his book Seven Years in Tibet Heinrich Harrer hailed her as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and more interesting than her husband: "She possessed the indescribable charm of Asian women and the stamp of age-old oriental culture. At the same time she was clever, well-educated, and thoroughly modern. In conversation she was the equal of the most intelligent woman you would be likely to meet in a European salon. She was interested in politics, culture and all that was happening in the world. She often talked about equal rights for women… but Tibet has a long way to go before reaching that point."

Another visitor compared her to an exotic butterfly, saying her qualities showed in the quizzical way she looked up through her long lashes, and in the slow manner in which she exhaled her cigarette smoke or murmured a few words in her low, clear, musical voice. She entertained far more regally than her homely brother, the Chogyal, offering sparkling conversation as the best French wines were poured from heavy decanters. Her place at table was set with golden coasters and cutlery to remind even the most honoured guests of their inferior rank.

When travelling the dangerous trade route between Tibet and Gangtok, the largest town in Sikkim, with her small children bundled up in windowed boxes on horses or mules, she insisted on riding a horse with a rifle slung across her shoulder and a revolver in her pocket to repel bandits.

Princess Coocoola and her husband were founding members of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, to which they donated manuscripts and a large silver-plated stupa to hold the relics of two Ashokan monks, which were a gift from the Indian government. She allowed the institute to scan her photographic collection.

In her last years she lived in a modest cottage on the outskirts of Gangtok, keeping up with events in Sikkim and world politics and continuing to enjoy discussions with scholars who came knocking at her door. When one completed a book on Sikkimese village religion she insisted they celebrate with a bottle of champagne.

Princess Coocoola was widowed in 1973, and is survived by three of her children. When she died on December 2 four tremors were felt in Sikkim, which, according to local belief, signals the passing of a great soul.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

It's time to go, Mr. Turnbull!
Brendan Nelson is a Monarchist. That was one of the reasons, why he as Leader of the federal opposition was hunted by the media. The republican commentators wanted him replaced by the former Australian republican Movement’s leader Malcolm Turnbull, just for the future of the Liberal Party, for which they were so much concerned, of course. Last September, Malcolm Turnbull won the Liberal Party’s leadership contest with 45 to 41 votes. When Brendan Nelson was elected in November 2007 he beat Turnbull by 45 to 42 votes.

After Turnbull’s election the media were overjoyed and franticly welcoming the fellow republican at the liberal helm. Once again The Age on 17th September 2008 set the tone: "Unlike his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull has a real prospect of leading the party back into office. … The new Opposition Leader is also, of course, strongly associated in the public mind with the cause of an Australian republic, which, it is to be hoped, can now be retrieved from the low-priority status that, until yesterday, it had held for the avowedly republican Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. Mr Rudd has now abandoned that stance, challenging Mr Turnbull to join him in a bipartisan campaign for a republic.”

However, the same issue of The Age demonstrated, that “a” republic still has no majority among the Australians: “In May this year, a Roy Morgan poll found support for a republic under a directly-elected head of state was at 45% — its lowest level since 1993 — when the then prime minister, Paul Keating, first floated the idea. That figure was down 6% on 2005.” Just to remind you: The poll was taken in May, weeks after the now half forgotten "2020 Summit" endorsed "a" republic with an unanimous vote.

Considering the noise they create, you would have thought republicans make up 90 per cent of the population and not just half of that number. Their 99 per cent majority on the April summit was achieved, because the so-called delegates were not delegated by anyone, but handpicked by the organisers. However picky they may be, republicans have to face the fact that they don’t possess a majority among the Australian people.

Following the republican logic, Malcolm Turnbull now should be replaced as the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Australia’s federal parliament. His approval rate fell to 19 per cent, the same figure that lead to Nelson's defeat in the party room. The Age on 10th December: In yesterday's Newspoll, Labor's two-party preferred lead rose from 55-45 per cent to 59-41 per cent. Mr Turnbull's rating as better PM fell two points, to trail Kevin Rudd 19-66 per cent. Mr Turnbull's approval dropped 5 points to 47 per cent."

Turnbull’s low stand in the public opinion is only indicating that he will go down in history as the man who lost two major battles: The one for “a” republic and the other for the premiership.

Can’t wait to see the former investment banker go, the way his colleague quit office: Leaving the house with his belongings in a cardboard box.

Sunday 7 December 2008

Would Canada be safer in republican hands?
You know, sometimes, the republicans' logic is beyond me. In Canada, people are upset by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s refusal to face a vote of no confidence. A fellow blogger wrote: "We have a non-elected official protecting a Prime Minister from facing a confidence motion. It amounts to the Queen interfering with the legislative process in this country.
"Unelected officials should have no say in how parliament does its job."

Would it be better had an elected official barred the Canadian parliament from sitting and voting out the present prime minister?

The Queen of Canada - and so Her representative in Canada, the Governor General - acts on the advice of the prime minister. That's how it works in a Constitutional Monarchy. And usually that is working quite well. The present situation in Canada is different. When the Governor General decided on 4th December to suspend parliamentary sessions, she acted on the advice of the prime minister, however, it is doubtful that he still has a majority in the parliament. The Governor General could have asked him to show that he still has the support of the elected members of parliament before she acted on the advice he gave.

That would have been the proper way. But Mr. Harper knew that he does no longer enjoy the support of the majority and therefore he avoided the vote of confidence. Instead he clings to power by all means, even by not very proper ones. Just imagine for a moment, the Governor General had refused the prime minister's advice. The concerned half of the country would cried foul: "An unelected Governor General interfered with the legislative process in this country!" The Governor General could have sacked the prime minister and asked the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition to form a new government. That's what happened in Australia in November 1975. May be Ms. Jean did not want to become Canada's Sir John Kerr and she left the sitting government in charge.

In the photo on the right hand side the Governor General is sitting in the Canadian Parliament. Mr. Harper can be seen on the left.

The Governor General did nothing wrong, it was Mr. Harper who asked for the wrong action.

What happens, when a Monarch (or the Governor General) acts against the wish of a prime minister can been seen in Luxembourg, where Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker announced five days ago, that the Grand Duke of Luxembourg should be stripped of his right to sign and en-act laws. Luxembourg has a conservative prime minister just like the Dominion of Canada. What's wrong with today's conservatives that they want to get rid of good old practices that keep the balance of power? How power hungry must they all be?

The question is: Would they be less power hungry, would they have to deal with a president? And why should a democracy where politicians grabbed 100 percent of the official posts be safer than a Monarchy, where the Queen, King or Grand Duke remind them that there is more than their own little or great self that rules in the country?

Nobody has ever accused the Queen of obstructing democracy. Replacing Her with someone, who would certainly not have the same dedication as she has can make things only worse.

Friday 5 December 2008

The passionate Prince
A friend in the UK was kind enough to record the documentary the BBC had broadcast on the occasion of Prince Charles’ 60th birthday on 14th November 2008: “A passionate Prince” and send me a DVD. After watching it, I can understand why no Australian TV station has broadcast it: It would demonstrate the lack of a personality like Prince Charles here in Australia. The BBC film crew could accompany The Prince of Wales for 12 months and they caught a deep insight not only into the Prince’s 25 charity organisations and how they work, but also into his thinking, his ideas, his compassionate way of seeing the world.

My only hope is that Australia will use the power that this Prince has at the age of 60 and give him the chance to set up examples of environmental friendly farming, housing and living. He should be granted a piece of land in Victoria to demonstrate his ideas down under. His concept of the restoration of natural grassland is directly relevant to Australia. Given the recently announced extensions to Melbourne that will impact massively on important native grasslands surrounding Victoria's capital.

I wonder what people like Frank Devine who accused him of having “a lot of kinky green convictions” would think had they ventured to watch the documentary. But they prefer to ignore and ridicule him. That’s easier than to start having it out with the issues Prince Charles is so engaged with.

I am glad I am one of the few in Australia who could actually watch the documentary so many commented and published their ideas about it. I had the opportunity to listen to the passions that set the Prince in course.

Monday 1 December 2008

Miscellany found on one day

French Vodoo
A French appeals court says Voodoo dolls of president Nicolas Sarkozy may remain on sale, but must carry a notice saying that pricking them harms the president’s dignity.
The appeals court backed an earlier ruling allowing the dolls to stay on the market in the name of freedom of expression.

But it ordered the doll’s marketer, publishing house K&B Editions, to add a warning that using the needles which come with the kits ‘constitutes an attack on the personal dignity of Mr. Sarkozy.’

‘Nicolas Sarkozy: The Voodoo Manual’ costs € 12.95 ($23.35) and includes a handbook and 12 pins.

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Irresponsible republicans
We all believe that it will be totally irresponsible for the Government to raise the issue of a republic, particularly in the midst of economic woes, but when have republicans ever proven themselves to be rational both in their arguments and in their strategy?

Philip Benwell, National Chairman of The Australian Monarchist League

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Rupert Murdoch: Homophobic jokes and anti-Monarchy strategy
Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corporation and one of the globe's most powerful media moguls, enjoys homophobic jokes and for years resisted allowing women to become board members because they "talk too much".

Michael Wolff writes that Murdoch was devoutly anti-monarchy but that "the internal cash flow of News Corporation became highly dependent on The Sun's obsession with Diana".

The day Princess Diana died, in 1997, Mr Murdoch met a News Corp executive at a bar and got blind drunk. He was "mourning" the passing of a woman whose life had been a circulation bonanza.

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No further comments from my side.

Sunday 30 November 2008

V. P. Singh passes away
Vishwanath Pratap Singh (Hindi: विश्वनाथ प्रताप सिंह), India’s tenth prime minister, had been fighting against leukemia since 1991. On 27th November 2008 he lost the fight and passed away at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi, India. His close associate Wasim Ahmad said: "The end came at 2.45 PM.” Singh leaves behind his wife Sita Kumari and two sons Ajeya Singh and Abhay Singh. Though his term in office was short (5th Dec. 1989 to 10th Nov. 1990) he was regarded as one of the most honest and socially oriented politicians the Indian union ever has had as leader.

You may ask, why does this blog, which is dedicated to Monarchy and royal families, commemorate an Indian politician? Answer: Because he was an Indian Royal!

Born on June 25th, 1931 at Allahabad, Shri V. P. Singh was the son of Raja Bahadur Ram Gopal Singh. In 1936 he was adopted by the then Raja of Manda, Bhagwati Prasad Singh of Daiya, a Gaharwar Rajput and head of a princely estate near Allahabad.
He ascended to the throne as 40th Raja of Manda in 1941 on the death of his adoptive father and according to Indian Royalists, he remained Raja of Manda until his death in November (see scan):

He was educated at Allahabad and Poona Universities. He was married to Smt. Sita Kumari on June 25, 1955 and they had two sons. A scholarly man, he was the proud founder of Gopal Vidyalaya, Intermediate College, Koraon, Allahabad. He was the President of the Students Union at Udai Pratap College, Varanasi in 1947-48 and was the Vice-President, Allahabad University Students Union. He actively participated in Bhoodan movement in 1957 and donated a well-established farm in village Pasna, District Allahabad.

A politician with a mission to help the Indian poor
In an obituary published in The Age on 29th November 2008, there was no mention of his royal descend, that would not have fitted into the republican policy of The Age. What value does an obituary have that suppresses important parts of the deceased's life? However Melbourne’s daily newspaper gave praise to the former Indian prime minister's policy: “… He won kudos for championing the rights of the caste-conscious country’s poor, as well as the minority Muslim population.” Popularly known as the 'Mandal messiah', he pulled out the long forgotton B.P. Mandal Commission's report from a dusty government almirah and went on to implement its recommendations, giving 27 percent job reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The middle class, whose support first catapulted V. P. Singh to power as he campaigned against corruption in the Bofors gun deal, loved to hate him, and did not forgive him till the end. The Raja of Manda’s coalition government came to an end, when the support of the BJP-Hindu nationalists was withdrawn in 1990 and he no longer had a majority in the Lok Sabha (Indian House of Commons).

After his downfall he turned towards painting and writing poetry. On his own website he explained his turn towards the arts:

“The visual always fascinated me. As I grew up, I slowly realized that we not only see through our eyes, but also from the heart. Feeling is living. Beauty is Understanding. I was overwhelmed by the harmony of creation. My youth was one rapturous communion with nature. The ecstasy is gone but fragments of its memory, still, at times, shimmer, to give a sudden insight. My paintings are such fragments. Yes, they are fragments because my life is so.”

Indian Royalty play an important part in the country's politics

V. P. Singh was only one of many members of Indian Royal Families who entered politics. In 2004, my favourite Indian newspaper, The Hindu, published an article by Vinay Kumar on this phenomenon.

"More than three decades after [Indian Royalty] were stripped of their royal privileges by Indira Gandhi, they still continue to dominate public life, in some way or the other.

"With elections round the corner, former Rajas, Mahants and Nawabs are all set to enliven the poll arena in the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh. They are jumping into the electoral fray for various reasons: some of them see this as a way of protecting whatever remains of their royal legacies; others see it as a way to further their political careers. But the fact is that they are here to stay.

"It was from this belt that V.P. Singh, the Raja of Manda, emerged to occupy the office of the Prime Minister. He is not the only one to have made it big in politics — there have been others such as the former Raja of Kalakanker, the late Dinesh Singh, elected from the adjoining Pratapgarh parliamentary constituency, who served as a Union Minister during the Congress regime. His daughter, Rajkumari Ratna Singh, represented the same constituency in the Lok Sabha in 1996 and in 1999. In 1991, Abhai Pratap Singh, better known as Bade Raja of Pratapgarh, won the seat on a Janata Dal ticket. His father, Ajit Pratap Singh, won from here in 1962 and 1980. Truth to tell, royals have always dominated the electoral scene in Pratapgarh. Yet another scion of Pratapgarh's ruling family, Vijay Bhushan Singh alias Babbu Raja, has also unsuccessfully contested the Assembly polls.

"'There was a time when royals built schools and shelters for the people and opened their granaries to them in times of crisis. In due course, several of them entered politics and won elections purely because they were so respected. But that is no longer the case; politics is no longer a noble profession. It is only a means to advance one's own interests,' says Raja Bhaiyya, who hails from the royal family of Bhadri and became an MLA from Kunda in 1993."

Friday 28 November 2008

The Prince and his critic - who is the real kink?
Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Australian rides in with a new attack on Prince Charles. This time it is Frank Devine who decrees Kinky King Charlie to get our republic across the line. “When Prince Charles turned 60 on November 14 he expressed a wish to speak out on public issues when he becomes king. Since Charles has a lot of kinky green convictions and almost Keatingesque views on architecture and urban planning, this gives one pause. … Whose public issues does he plan to speak out on? I suppose English issues will be OK within reason, and maybe Welsh ones, since he has put in a long stint as prince of this fading rugby power. But no English king in his right mind would speak out on Scottish issues, such as devolution or Sean Connery …

What did The Prince of Wales actually say? Devine leaves us in the dark and doesn’t go into details. In a BBC documentary broadcast on the occasion of his 60th birthday the following sentences, which could have led Frank Devine to his conclusions, were said according to British media: “He conceded that many people thought that he 'meddled' in issues but he preferred to call it "convening power" by bringing together people who could change things.

Asked whether he would continue to be outspoken on big issues such as the environment when he succeeded to the throne, he said: "I don't know, I don't know - probably not the same way. But I like to think perhaps that after all this, eventually people might realise that some of the things I've been trying to do aren't all that mad and that I might still have some 'convening power' that could be put to use.

How could Frank Devine interpret these statements as a will for political interferece he seems to fear so much?

Or was it Mr. Busybody aka Jonathan Dimbleby who claimed in The Daily Telegraph: “The Prince will break with the tradition which has seen monarchs, including the Queen, remain publicly silent on matters of national and international importance.” There is nothing that would justify Frank Devine’s assumption, that as King of Australia Prince Charles would be a partisan Monarch. Jonathan Dimbleby is a book author who uses every microphone, every TV camera to put himself in the limelight. Since when is he a senior political analyst or advisor to The Prince of Wales? For Frank Devine he must be his master’s voice.

However, the first lines of Devine’s opinion piece show the direction of his attack and give us a clue to what the real worry of Frank Devine and his media moghul were. Devine accuses Prince Charles of “kinky green convictions and almost Keatingesque views on architecture and urban planning

Prince Charles is passionate about fighting climate change. To describe his worries as kinky can only come from someone who believes, Kevin Rudd could be successful in reducing Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions. Prince Charles is strongly against genetically manipulated (GM) crops – as far as I can see, this subject is heavily discussed in Australia as well. The Murdoch paper’s are not in the forefront to stop GM crops. Why not listen to what the Prince has to say, before you ridicule him as kinky? This goes hand in hand with Prince Charles’ organic farming and his new agricultural methods, which could only help Australian farmers to tackle climate change and preserve export markets. True, Prince Charles has not love lost for modern architecture, but who really has besides the professionals?

Devine therefore hopes: “So tenuous is monarchism's grip on Australians that the personal popularity of the throne's incumbent will probably have a major influence on our deciding whether we want any more of the kings and queens stuff.” Fortunately it will not be the editorialists of this country who decide about the Monarchy and King Charles, but the Australian people. However, the millionaires are eager to put one of their mates on a presidential chair.

After all, who is Frank Devine?
According to his own website he has been employed by a variety of Murdoch media for a long time. Green Left is not very happy about their republican, heavily pro-nuclear power comrade in arms: “Frank Devine, the right-wing journalist from the Australian newspaper, gave a rant about press reporting of nuclear issues and the Luddite zombies, frauds and zealots in the anti-nuclear movement. Undoubtedly the highlight of the conference was seeing Devine fall off the stage after giving his talk.”

On the other hand, ultra pro-big business republicans like Gerald Henderson of The Sydney Institute praised a fellow conservative: “Once upon a time there were few, if any, conservative voices in the Australian media. Not any more. Now there is a plethora of political conservatives. To name names – Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, Frank Devine, Miranda Devine, P.P. McGuinness, Christopher Pearson, Paul Sheehan, Imre Salusinsky."

The Prince of Wales is ahead of his time, but people realize that his ideas are a welcome contribution to the pressing problems of our time. Conservatives hate him for that and progressive people shy away from accepting him as a useful ally. This will not stop him to speak out. And we need his voice loud and clear.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Australian plants for The Prince of Wales
With a very successful and well attended luncheon the Australian Monarchist League (AML) celebrated the 60th birthday of The Prince of Wales in Sydney. The AML presented the future King of Australia Wollemi Pines as their birthday gift. The Prince of Wales will plant them at Highgrove.

The Wollemi Pine was discovered in 1994 and there are only about 40 of them in the wild (some accounts say 80 adult pine). Up to its discovery it was known only from fossils records and it was thought to have become extinct 65 million years ago. It only occurs in one deep sandstone gorge in the Wollemi National Park.

Since The Prince of Wales was so pleased with the Australian gift, the AML decided to include a number of Australian Dicksonia Antarctica ferns as well. Philip Benwell: “A decision was therefore made to gift to Prince Charles sixty ferns.” These will be delivered to Highgrove in March 2009 for planting. The Dicksonia Antarctica, known as the Soft Tree Fern, Man Fern or Tasmanian Tree Fern is an evergreen tree fern native to parts of Australia, namely Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria.

The fern can grow to 15 m in height, but more typically grow about 4.5 to 5 m. The large, dark green, roughly-textured fronds spread in a canopy of two to six m in diameter. The shapes of the stems vary as some grow curved and there are multi-headed ones. The fonds are borne in flushes, with fertile and sterile fronds often in alternating layers.

To raise money for the purchase of the gift, the AML started a special ‘Prince of Wales’ raffle, which will include a print of one of Prince Charles’ paintings. Raffles tickets are sold at $ 5.00. Should you be interested in buying raffle tickets, please contact the League’s National Chairman

Saturday 15 November 2008

A popular King
An opinion poll shows The Prince of Wales would now make a more popular King than Prince William.

Prince Charles's 60th birthday presents
Choosing a 60th birthday present for a man who has everything is always difficult but in the case of the Prince of Wales the answer is simple: buy him a shrub. Read more here.

Plants, shrubs, and trees for his garden at Highgrove will be the most gratefully received gift for the Prince who yesterday received a cake in the shape of a bus pass. After his 60th birthday yesterday the Prince is entitled to travel free on off-peak local bus services anywhere in England. His face was embossed on the pass.

The Prince and Duchess of Cornwall spent most of yesterday visiting projects linked to his charity the Prince's Trust which has helped hundreds of thousands of young people into work over the last 30 years.

He attended the launch of the trust's first Youth Week to highlight the good that young people can do in society. He smiled when Naiyer Qureshi, a life coach, broke protocol, stepped forward and planted a kiss on his right cheek during his tour of two trust projects in Beckton, east London.

As part of his campaign, 50 MPs across the UK will be shadowed during their constituency visits by young volunteers whose life has been turned around by the Trust. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, is supporting the project. The Trust has forged an alliance with 14 other national youth organisations, including the NSPCC and Barnardo's, to counter negative stereotypes of young people. Premiership football stars, including Rio Ferdinand, will visit Trust projects.

The Prince posed for pictures in front of dozens of photographers who called out to him. The Prince barely raised a smile and then made a barbed joke at the press, saying: "Sixty years of trying my patience," which made them laugh.
The French view

Clip de présentation de l'Alliance Royale


, French Royalists of the Alliance Royale present an alternative view for France.

Friday 14 November 2008

Happy Birthday, Your Royal Highness!
So, nobody is interested? Another claim made by Australian republicans falls into pieces. Articles published on Prince Charles’ 60th birthday are among the most demanded. This afternoon, when I checked The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age websites for articles on the heir to the Australian throne I discovered they rated second in both lists of Readers' most viewed news items. It seems, people are interested in His Royal Highness’ life and birthday celebrations.

News agencies reported on a documentary that was produced for his birthday:

But he sounded philosophical about his position as he reflected on his landmark birthday.

"It is all in the hands of the good Lord as to whether I survive or am vaguely compos mentis," he told a BBC documentary to mark his birthday.

"Our life is so short and insignificant in the great scheme of things."

Asked if he enjoyed his role, he replied: "I don't know."

"Well, there's bits of it," he added.

"It is something that I feel I must do to help as many other people as I possibly can and this country."

Commentators dismiss suggestions he is frustrated, noting that he has found personal happiness after marrying long-time companion Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 and focusing on his extensive charity work.

"Commentators dismiss suggestions he is frustrated."
Well, not all. Rupert Murdoch's newspaper The Australian loved to interpret the heir’s philosophic thoughts in a different way. On the eve of his 60th birthday, Prince Charles has revealed that he enjoys only "bits" of his job, but does it because he feels that he must.

The Prince of Wales has initiated 20 charitable organisations “from Glasgow to Kabul”. Isn’t he allowed to ask what will happen to these organisations that have helped hundreds of thousands of people since they were founded? It would be irrisponsible not to worry about their future. As King he will no longer be allowed to run the charities. His constitutional position as Monarch forbids any kind of fundraising for his own projects.

Once again it was his honesty that was used against Prince Charles. Asked if enjoyed his role he replied: “I don’t know. Well, there’s bits of it.” A politician would have said in a loud voice: “Yes, of course, I do love my job and I am happy to do it”, even if in his/her mind s/he thinks differently. Politicians must give the impression to enjoy what they are doing. Spin doctors would never advise a philosophical attitude as Prince Charles is used to show. I leave it to you to decide which attitude is more honest.

I am glad The Prince of Wales speaks out for his charitable causes and the environmental topics that are dear to him (and to me). Happy birthday, Your Royal Highness!!!

Thursday 13 November 2008

Prince Charles' 60th Birthday and the Australian media - Part II
Do you expect the Australian television networks to broadcast a programme to honour the 60th birthay of The Prince of Wales?

I haven't found anything that could indicate that the next King of Australia's charity work or his dedication for the environment would get a mention on 14th November.

What about asking the ABC about Prince Charles' birthday programme? Write to the ABC

Again the German broadcasting system ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) has a documentary that is not only broadcast today, but it is also available on the internet.

Just click here and enjoy the 30 minutes on The Prince of Wales' life. Of course it is free of charge.

By the way, ZDF offers a video on Her Majesty the Queen as well. The 43-minutes documentary can be watched by clicking here.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Brown, Republican
As a republican Senator Bob Brown knows how to use symbols. He launched his latest initiative to enforce a vote on whether Australia should be a Constitutional Monarchy or “a” republic on 11th November, hence on the 33rd anniversary of Governor-General Sir John Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam government. Republicans love to see the 11th November 1975 as their starting point. But their marathon run is far from close to the finish.

Greens Senator Bob Brown will today introduce legislation to enable a vote at the next federal election on whether Australia should become a republic", reported the ABC from the nation’s second chamber. "’This is a bill to have a plebiscite with the next election in 2010 to ask people whether they want a republic - yes or no,’ he said” according to the ABC. Neither Senator Brown nor the ABC said that the so-called plebiscite has no meaning at all. The only way to change the Australian Constitution is a referendum with a majority of the popular vote as well as the majority of the states approving the change.

Bob Brown certainly has merits and on other topics I agree with him, but I would appreciate if he and the Greens would concentrate on more important issues, like the climate change, a better use of water, a functioning public transport system worth this name, the avoidance and re-use of waste etc. Aren’t these fields not wide and challenging enough? If these issues are dear to you, wouldn't you look for like-minded allies?

"This is a thing about values and how we value our nation,” Brown said. Has he spared a moment about the values of the Constitutional Monarchy? Has he thought about the good examples members of the Australian Royal Family set? I am sure, he and Prince Charles have many things in common and they could enjoy long discussions on all subjects that are dear to the green soul. The whole nature of Monarchy is about endurance and sustainability. The Monarchy leads back many generations and encourages to think in generations to come, and not only to the next election day.

I am not afraid of the peope’s vote, I am angry that once again money should be spent on “a” republic, while the money could be spent for far better projects, especially in environmental hot spots. The republic discussion diverts the attention from these important issues.

I would very much like to know, what the Aussie republicans will do, when the Australian people will once again say NO! to their plans. Will they give in or will they push for more votes until their aim is achieved?

It is a pity the republicans force the tax payer to finance their ambitions, but after all, that’s exactly, what politicians always do: Spend our money. The Queen of Australia doesn’t cost the Australian taxpayer a cent. The next NO! to the politicians republic should settle the matter.

Let’s come back to the symbol of 11th November. It was also Armistice Day in 1918 and marked the defeat of Germany and her allies. Could be a symbol you aren’t after, Bob.

Friday 7 November 2008

Affirmation Day 6 November
David Flint had the idea to name the 6th November 1999, the day the Australian people were asked if they wanted a politicians’ republic Affirmation Day. “On 6 November 2008, constitutional monarchists celebrated Affirmation Day, when nine years ago, the people of Australia in all states affirmed their wish to remain united in an indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown.

Republicans claim the question was "too difficult". Today it may be appropriate to come back to the question and the referendum results:

6 November 1999
Establishment of Republic
Question 1

A Proposed Law: To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?

Constitution Alteration (Establishment of Republic) 1999 sought to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Rupert Murdoch lectures
Rupert Murdoch lectured the Australians about “a” republic – again. In the Boyer Lecture he gave on 2nd November 2008 he made a confession that surprised nobody: “… if I were in a position to vote, it would be for a republic”. Well, Rupert, you are not in such a position! Go and vote for a US president. Or better: Go and sort out a proper electoral system in the country you call home! Or are you proud of the acknowledged "voting technology failures (that) are so widespread in the US" as reported here?

He is silly enough to advocate “a” republic, because “we should be independent”. We? Why we? Has he become an Australian citizen again? In the same breath he advocates Australia becoming a member of NATO. Murdoch: “Though NATO was designed to prevent a land war in Europe, it is now fighting well beyond its borders.” And he wants Australia being dragged into this mess? Is he not aware what NATO stands for? North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Has he looked at the globe recently? Australia does not lie in the Atlantic, and particularly not in the Northern hemisphere. Who are the head guys in NATO?

It is hardly the Queen as the Australian sovereign who leads our soldiers into war.

The question is not if Australia should become a republic. The question is if Australia should have a Monarch or a Murdoch sponsored head of state.

Sunday 2 November 2008

70th Birthday of Queen Sofía of Spain

On 2nd November Queen Sofía of Spain celebrates her 70th birthday. She was born Princess Margarita Victoria Friederika of Greece and Denmark almost exactly three years to the day after Greece had voted in a referendum to restore the Monarchy (3rd November 1935).
King George II of the Hellenes had returned after 12 years in exile, but he and his Romanian born wife Queen Elisabeth had no children, therefore Princess Sophia’s father was Crown Prince of Greece. In 1947 he ascended to the Greek throne as King Pavlos I. When she was born in 1938 Princess Sophia was second in line to the Greek throne until the birth of her brother Konstantinos on 2nd June 1940. He succeeded his father in March 1964 as King Constantine II of the Hellenes.

Drawing of the young Princess Sophia for Admiral Stavridis

The Greek Royal Family was again forced into exile in 1941, when German and Italian troops invaded the Kingdom. The Royal Greek Army fought bravely against the powerful enemies, but they could not prevent the occupation. In an adventurous escape Crown Princess Frederika and her two children fled first to the island of Crete, then to Egypt and finally to South Africa, where the family stayed until in 1946 another referendum affirmed the Monarchy in Greece.

Princess Sophia with Greek peasants

During the Greek civil war and the years of reconstruction in the 1950s Princess Sophia fulfilled her duties as a member of the Greek Royal Family.

King Pavlos and his son, Crown Prince Konstantinos, held the crowns above the heads of the royal couple during the wedding ceremony in Athens.

On 14th May 1962 she married Prince Juan Carlos of Borbón y Borbón in a colourful ceremony in Athens. Between 1963 and 1968 the couple had three children: Infanta Elena (* 20th December 1963), Infanta Cristina (* 13th June 1965) and the heir to the Spanish throne, Infant Felipe (* 30th January 1968).

After General Franco’s death Prince Juan Carlos was proclaimed King of Spain and the return of the Monarchy, which had been approved in a referendum in 1947, was completed in November 1975. A new democratic constitution was drawn up and accepted by the Spanish people in a referendum. In the difficult years of the renewed Monarchy as well as democracy and with various attempted coups by adherents of the old regime Queen Sofía was at her husband’s side to encourage and inspire him.

When celebrating his 30th anniversary on the Spanish throne, King Juan Carlos thanked Queen Sofía "for her constant support, sensitivity and commitment”.

On her 70th Birthday, the huge majority of the Spanish people [plus myself] will cherish their Queen and wish her a long life at the side of her husband, King Juan Carlos I.
Prince Charles visits Indonesia at a time Australian media await the death of the Bali bombers
While the Australian media eagerly wait for the execution of the Bali bombers, Prince Charles has arrived in Indonesia. The heir to the Australian throne will visit rainforest conservation work on Sumatra island before travelling to Jakarta to meet Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Prince Charles will also travel to Yogyakarta on Java island to meet the city's hereditary Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. Recently Indonesian Monarchists defended his institution against republican attacks.

Local media reported heightened security around Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma airbase in the lead-up to his visit, which comes as Indonesia prepares to execute three Islamist militants behind 2002 bombings on Bali island that killed more than 200 people, 88 of them Australian. Authorities in Indonesia are guarding against a possible violent backlash by supporters of the bombers.

Australia’s next King took up the initiative and set up the Prince’s Rainforest Project. You can sign up here and receive his newsletter. Prince Charles has a special interest in the SE Asian/Oceanean region. His visit to Indonesia is an example how he gets first hand information and promote his ideas.

A pity, he is so close to Australia, but our politicians did not invite him to come downunder and explain his Rainforest Project. But I am sure to find nasty comments in this country's media. For instance “Melbourne-based republican and a commentator on royalty” Barry Everingham will find it appalling that the heir to the throne missed Australia. He will of course not write immediately, but will wait until a British tabloid had reported on Prince Charles' visit to Indonesia, then and only then will “Melbourne personality and columnist Barry Everingham” publish his nasty remarks in the HeraldSun or may be in The Age, which is always open to republican prejudice.

I am sure the Australian republicans will blame the Prince for not touching Australian soil, as if Prince Charles would have refused an Australian invitation. In a Constitutional Monarchy like Australia, the Prince of Wales acts on the advice of His mother's Australian government's advice.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Prince Charles' 60th Birthday and the Australian media

Prince Charles, Australia’s future King, will turn 60 on 14th November. The Australian media get ready for the birthday celebrations in a way they deem appropriate. And as always, “Melbourne personality and columnist Barry Everingham” acts as leader of the pack in hunting down the heir to the throne. Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday HeraldSun of 26th October 2008 contained the article Royal affair killed Kanga that was originally published on 11th October by Christopher Wilson in Britain’s The Daily Mail The lonely death of Charles’s other mistress. Strangely enough, the Sunday HeraldSun gives credit to a “Charles Wilson”. Obviously the Australian journalists were so obsessed with the name Charles, that they accidentally replaced Christopher with the Prince of Wales’ first name.

Except some minor editing the original article was copied, however the new headline had a malicious accusation. And there was another major change: The opinion of Barry Everingham … a Melbourne-based republican and a commentator on royalty, as he was previously introduced by the HeraldSun, was fiddled into what was a personal testimony of Christopher/Charles Wilson on the life of Lady Dale Tryon. She was born in 1947 to a wealthy Melburnian family and died aged only 50 in 1997. The article infers that Lady Tryon’s “beauty and Australian informality” won the Prince’s heart. “Did we know that her nickname Kanga came from HRH’s very own lips?”, Wilson asks. And the speculation goes on: “She had given herself to the Prince of Wales and he had loved her, for however brief a time.” All this is far from hard evidence for anything else, but that Dale and Prince Charles were good friends.

Refering to her tragic death, Wilson recalls all her illnesses: “There was a recurrence of her childhood spina bifida and, as she fought this off, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer.” In 1996 she checked herself into Farm Place, a fashionable rehab clinic to rid herself of her dependence on painkillers. "While undergoing treatment there, Kanga fell from a window, shattering her spine." She started fantasising that someone was trying to kill her. She and her husband divorced the same year. She travelled to India, contracted an illness, returned to the UK, went to hospital and developed septicaemia and died in November 1997.

A tragic life, certainly, and a sad end to former fashion icon, but what does Melbourne-based republican and a commentator on royalty Barry Everingham make of this story? The Sunday HeraldSun: “Everingham is certain Lady Tryon was very much in love with Prince Charles and believes their relationship had an effect on her declining health. ‘Her break-up with Prince Charles may not have been the cause for her demise, but it didn't help. She had a broken heart.’''

This is just short of accusing the Prince of Wales of being responsible for Lady Tryon’s premature death. A ridiculous assumption considering her long list of illnesses that go even back to her childhood.

At least republican Barry Everingham’s efforts to manipulate an English article and use it for his own purposes are easy to unveil. Is that all Australian republicans can raise to fight the Australian Crown? Who is more dependent of "mother England"? Australian republicans can't even write their own articles. They can only add nastiness to British tabloid news items.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

“Politicians should leave history to the teachers”
It is a popular and frequent demand, what The Age writer Tony Taylor asked for: “Politicians should leave history to the teachers”: Yes, right, but who should give the teachers the guidelines? Journalists? Committees? Boards? Expert panels? Tony Taylor is involved in the National Curriculum Board's school history deliberations. Sounds like a very respectable enterprise, but who appoints the board members? Politicians!

It seems, you cannot escape politicians when school curriculums are drawn up.

In his article Tony Taylor lead an attack against Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott who regretted “that there were not enough facts about English history in the current National Curriculum Board framing paper on school history”. Instead of a serious debate about history lessons – and Australian history lessons in particular – Taylor writes “the colonial cringe aspect of Abbott's remark was soon wittily countered by John Hirst's remark that Abbott remembered he was a (British) monarchist but forgot he was a (Roman) Catholic.”

I never considered Tony Abbott to be a British Monarchist. As a former Australian cabinet minister he is undoubtedly Australian and therefore he should be called an Australian Monarchist. And to be honest, I did not understand, why the description of him as a (Roman) Catholic was put in brackets. No one ever assumed Tony Abbott being a Maronite or a Chaldean Catholic, not even a Greek Catholic. Should this be a hint to the Act of Settlement? And should this be a particular problem for Tony Abbott?

Tony Taylor states: “It is generally the neoconservative side of partisan politics that, in a projectionist way, still sees history as a battleground for the hearts and minds of school students but which itself is keen to smear, interfere and impose.

My guess is that every politician sees history as a battleground. And everyone at the helm in the education departments wants to impose his or her points of view on the poor school pupils. But from my own experience I can appease both sides. Pupils tend to adopt the opposite points of view of their teachers and their curriculum providers. The political backlash comes with every new generation of school leavers. The once universally praised values of 1968 and the years following are today held responsible for all what is considered wrong in Western societies. Australia might not have the ideological fight over what 1968 student revolts brought, but take a short look at Europe, where this year a kind of war of words broke out on the 40th anniversary of the student riots and the rise of terrorist groups in France, Germany, Italy and other countries.

Taylor denounces “the belief that there is an immutable, factually objective historical truth out there that needs to be captured, brought into the classroom and drummed into student heads. This naive and simplistic analysis is totally evidence-free.” I can only agree with him. There is no “objective historical truth”, never has been, never will be. The way we see history changes constantly.

That should be taught to school children.

A good example how history is a constantly floating meandering river is the famous question that was put forward to the Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, what he thought about the French Revolution.

Here are a few answers I found on the internet. You will notice that not only does the question vary, but also the time of the answer changes. And in the course of time other people were supposed to have given the answer.

This is Wikipedia's quote: Zhou Enlai is supposed to have said, when asked about the impact of the French Revolution: "It's too early to tell".

New World Encyclopedia: When China's Premier, Chou En Lai was asked in 1972 whether he thought the French Revolution had been a good or a bad thing. He mused for a few moments and then replied "It's too early to tell."

A Turkish website: Chou En-Lai, the late prime minister of communist China, was once asked what he thought about the French Revolution. He declined to comment, and explained, “It's too early to tell.”
That was in the early 1960s.

Good is this one from the Australian Government's Austrade site: As Chairman Mao said when asked what is the impact of the French revolution, he famously replied: “It is too early too tell.”

Dalton State College, USA: In 1989, at its 200th anniversary, a Chinese philosopher [Mao and Zhou were already dead by then, an anonymous author had to be found] was asked the importance of the French Revolution. He responded, "Too early to tell."

And here a website that gives the history teachers in general the credit:
how much does anyone know about the french revolution? i remember having an english professor who used to tell us that it’s too early to tell the effect of the french revolution.

What answer would politicians prefer? And what answer would history teachers give?

Thursday 16 October 2008

Crisis? What Crisis? French president inflates his annual budget by 11.4%
The world may face a recession and money might be short in all government budgets – except one: The Elysee Palace can swim in money. The French evening news France 2 revealed that Nicolas Sarkozy’s budget will grow by 11.4% next year.

Gallia Watch writes: "After giving himself a 206% salary increase in October 2007, and at the same time, tripling the budget of Elysée, the Sarkozy inflation continues. The news goes back to October 3, but hardly made waves. Les Echos revealed a new increase in the budget of the "hyper-presidency". When the budget had gone from 32.3 million euros to 100.8 million, the Palace, to justify itself, pointed to the "ensemble of operating costs and of personnel that was formerly covered by a dozen ministries, not directly by Elysée." For our part, we preferred the explanation that His Smug Highness required no fewer than 800 functionaries in his exclusive service! The indecency of this budget is blatantly evident when you realize that Sarkozy's predecessor, Bon-Appétit-Chirac, had already increased it by... 463% over that of Mitterand!

"Well, next year, the budget of Elysée Palace will reach 112.3 million euros, or a new increase of 11.4%."

Queen Elizabeth II should ask Nicolas Sarkozy how he could increase his budget without causing a public outcry. After all, Buckingham Palace needs to be repaired, but the British government rejects the Queen’s plea to provide £3m for the most urgent repair works. While presidents can just grab whatever they want, Monarchs look like beggars when it comes to the necessary funds to run the state affairs.

Who said, a republic would come cheap?

Monday 13 October 2008

This Icelandic Royal Standard was established by Royal Resolution No. 23 of 5 July 1921, after Iceland became a separate kingdom in 1918.

Failed republic of Iceland
Iceland is bankrupt. Time to reconsider the hasty step to proclaim a republic. Iceland became independent from the Kingdom of Denmark in 1918, but remained a Monarchy and shared the same Monarch with Denmark: King Christian X, just as The United Kingdom and Australia share a Monarch – Queen Elizabeth II – or as Austria and Hungary has shared a Monarch since 1867. The Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph was also King Franz Joseph of Hungary.

During the US occupation Iceland was declared a republic on 17th June 1944. Today the Icelandic Krona's free fall on the international currency markets is surpassed only by the catastrophic failure of Zimbabwean currency. One of the country's three banks, Glitnir, has been nationalised; another wants money from its customers. Foreign currency is running out as international banks refuse pleas to lend money.

The Icelandic people will see a drop in their standard of living and the country will return to fishing rather than financial services. Iceland's near financial meltdown has been seen as the biggest yet faced by any country over its financial sovereignty in the 14-month-old credit crisis.

On 5th October the prime minister Geir Haarde made an emotional address to the nation. “There is a very real danger, fellow citizens, that the Icelandic economy, in the worst case, could be sucked with the banks into the whirlpool and the result could be national bankruptcy. No responsible government takes risks with the future of its people, even when the banking system itself is at stake. The Icelandic nation and its future takes precedence over all other interests.

"If there was ever a time when the Icelandic nation needed to stand together and show fortitude in the face of adversity, then this is the moment. I urge you all to guard that which is most important in the life of everyone of us, protect those values which will survive the storm now beginning. I urge families to discuss together and not to allow anxiety to get the upper hand even tough the outlook is grim for many. We need to explain to our children that the world is not on the edge of a precipice and we all need to find an inner courage to look to the future."

He should have revoked the 1944 proclamation of the republic and asked Queen Margrethe II of Denmark to become Queen of Iceland. British actor John Cleese had formulated a similar Notice of Revocation of Independence in his famous Letter to America (“To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. …")

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Ndebeles want to restore Monarchy in Zimbabwe

There is hope for Zimbabwe: A Monarchy. "Amid widespread economic vandalism and open regional marginalisation, the ostracized Ndebele minority are making fresh calls to restore the Ndebele monarchy in Zimbabwe.

"The renewed calls for the restoration of the monarch, overthrown by British colonialists more than 135 years ago, comes amid grinding poverty in the region and a lackadaisical official response to the humanitarian crisis gripping the two Matabeleland provinces – bastion of support for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

"Frustrated by what they see as their marginalisation by Robert Mugabe’s predominantly Shona government, Ndebele chiefs and political activists have started mobilising to revive their kingdom."
The whole article

Friday 5 September 2008

Bear or Moose? - The Age is unbearable

The republican arguments against the Monarchy are getting thinner day by day.

Instead of giving us a clue how the life of the average citizen would improve, should the Monarchy be replaced with a republic of some sort, Graham Reilly likes to pose as animal rescuer. Using the latest attack of Peta activists against the bear skin wearing guards outside Buckingham Palace, The Age’s “senior writer” concluded: “If there were no royals, there would be no need for such regal helmetry.

But why stop there? Go one step further, Graham: Abolish the vice-presidential position in the USA to rescue the Alaskan moose from being killed! Or do you make the now famous Alaskan moose hunter vice president to save the specie?

Tom Parker Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall's son, told The Daily Telegraph (23rd July 2008) about Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals): "They are absolutely mad, these people. Once, I was writing an article about a snail farm and the farmer pleaded with me not to publish its name, or he said the farm would be picketed by protesters." Peta's terror methods would let the intruders on the Brumby family's farm look like friendly guests. However, it seems when it serves the republican purposes, they are welcome bedfellows.

Monday 1 September 2008

The Joys and Scares of Republicanism

Contrary to the bright future in flourishing democracy and in prosperity that republicans claim "an" Australian republic would be, this is what a direct elected presidential system could hold in store. In a letter to The Age of 1st September 2008 a reader expressed these fears:

I am perturbed, no, I am absolutely terrified when I think of the ramifications of McCain’s selection of a running mate. If anything should happen to John McCain, and let’s face it, he is 72, we would then have an untravelled, inexperienced, pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-death-penalty (these on their own seem to be a contradiction) pro-creationist, pro-drilling in the Alaskan Wilderness, woman with an accent that could cut glass as president of the most powerful country in the world. Does the world really want or need this? I certainly hope not!
R. H., Beaumaris, Victoria

A rather scary portrait of a possible US vice president or even US president. An elected monarch for four years with men and women nobody knows waiting in the shadow to take over the administration not only of the 300 million US cititens, but to a large extent, of us all. Instead of a cabinet or a party leadership with lots of names the US voters vest all their hopes – or fears – on four people. Who will form the next US administration? Nobody knows. That’s an even scarier thought than the potential vice president Sarah Palin becoming president.

Although our Monarch exercises very little power at her own discretion, the Queen is the central cog in the machinery of state, the common link between executive, legislature, judiciary, civil service, military, and other institutions. The Crown embodies the central authority under which these other bodies operate; it gives the final stamp of approval, the Royal Assent, to legislation. The Crown is the source of all state authority (although it is still subject to the law of the land - its authority is not absolute).

The existence of a hereditary monarch keeps the politicians in their place. However eminent a Prime Minister may become, (s)he is always subject to a higher personal authority. Ambition, politicking and intrigue can never take someone to the highest office in the land, and he can never aggrandise himself by claiming to be the head and ultimate representative of the nation. A Prime Minister can be verbally mauled in the legislature, and summarily dismissed by it, with a level of disrespect which few nations would be happy to show to their Head of State, but might like to inflict on their lesser politicians. Although, in practice, it is always the politicians who give the orders and run the country, if they go far beyond their authority, others can, in theory, defy them by claiming allegiance to the higher authority of the Crown, which is duty-bound to uphold the democratic order without personal interest or favour.

Saturday 30 August 2008

Solidarity with the striking journalists

If you had thought the strike of The Age’s journalists would attract some sympathy from the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) you are wrong. On the ALP’s website you find an article concerning “Protecting rights of workers & promoting balance between work and family”, however, it has nothing to do with striking workers in Victoria. When you click, you discover that’s very old hat. The article "Fresh Ideas For Work And Family" dates of 17 October 2007.

Under the date of 28th August 2008 the ALP pats the Brumby government on the shoulder by reproducing a government press release: “Highest ever Victorian business investment - New ABS figures released today show Victoria outperformed the Australian average by attracting the highest ever level of private new capital investment in the past quarter.” The loss of 550 jobs at Fairfax media is not worth being mentioned. Obviously the ALP doesn’t want to upset the owners of The Age.

Monarchists have nothing to lose and nothing to gain from The Age, therefore I can easily declare my full solidarity with the striking journalists of The Age. I wish them luck in their fight against the further decline of what was once a quality newspaper for Victoria.

Friday 29 August 2008

Freedom of the press

When Paul Sethe (12. 12. 1901 - 21. 6. 1967) was publisher of the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung he pointed out: “The freedom of the press is the freedom of 200 rich people to express their opinion.”

These days we in Australia see this grim remark come true. After The Age’s editor-in-chief was sacked on Wednesday, this Friday the Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton had to go. According to the ABC Carlton refused to write his regular column for the paper's Saturday edition because of the current strike by journalists and editorial staff. “He was told that he would no longer be writing for the newspaper as a result.”

The Australian media who so freely criticise everything and everyone – especially our Royal Family and the institution of the Australian Monarchy – cannot stand being criticised themselves.

Paul Sethe was wrong only in one aspect: In Australia it is not 200 people who can express freely what they want. The number is closer to 20.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

The Age kicks out staff

Fairfax media, owner of The Age, announced the sacking of 550 people – 390 in Australia, 160 in New Zealand. About 90 journalists will have to clear their desks.

The announcement came just eleven days after The Age proudly printed: “Today we are able to report on our quarterly circulation and readership figures, which are among the best The Age has ever recorded.” On the Monday to Friday level, The Age announced an increase of 3,000 or 0.4% compared with the June 2007 figures, The Saturday Age was up 0.5%, only The Sunday Age registered a drop of 3,000 readers.

In terms of money, The Age of 22nd August announced a net profit of $386,900,000 (+ 47%), revenue $2,900,000,000 (+34%).

These figures are just rubbish when it comes to real profit: “Fairfax Media’s pledge to scrap 5% of its staff within three months was rewarded with a 5% jump in the publisher’s battered share price.” (The article was published on 27th August only in the printed version of The Age, I did not find it online.) Good for the author who confessed he owns Fairfax Media shares. The sacking of 550 staff will bring Fairfax media an extra revenue of $50,000,000 and the shareholders a higher value in shares.

Today’s Age had problems explaining the jubilant figures the paper published last week: “What has happened in the intervening five days?”, asks Mathew Ricketson. He has difficulties finding an answer: “It is not at all clear. Fairfax media, as I wrote last week after the results announcement, has been trying for years to navigate its way through the gradual dismantling of the business model that has sustained newspapers for well over 100 years.” And then he continues a swan song on the printed media, that totally contradicts the bright outlook The Age itself distributed on 15th August 2008.

The self-praise was then written by Andrew Jaspan, The Age’s editor-in chief.

It seems, he became the first redundancy: The Age sacked its editor-in chief on Wednesday morning.

“In a note to staff, Mr Churchill said the company had ‘decided that for this next critical stage of The Age we would have fresh editorial and executive leadership’.

"’The editorial leadership team have my highest confidence. I know they will excel in leading the editorial staff of The Age to ensure The Age's continuing success,’ the note to staff said.”

The Murdoch paper MX commented: "Age sacks editor - one down, just 389 to go".

I have often had reason to complain about the lack of quality journalism in The Age. The new development does not instil confidence that there is a chance for an improvement. With less editorial staff it must be feared that journalists will have less time to do a proper research and in-depth reporting.

We can only be sure that the fierce republican attitude of The Age will remain. And the paper's outlook into a bright republican future has as much credibility as the stories on The Age's success.