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.