Saturday 31 January 2009

Remembering a murdered King

As mentioned here, French Royalists held a torch-light procession in commemoration of King Louis XVI.

The photos were taken on 25th January 2009 in Paris.

Thursday 29 January 2009

All inclusive - Part II

"An all inclusive republic", a typical weasel word.
All inclusive - Part I

A lie is a lie is a lie ...

Today's Age had more on the Australia Day celebrations and the republicans' discontent with the commemoration, thereby repeating the mantra of a so-called all inclusive republic:
"Bring on the republic and then we’ll truly have a great and unifying reason to celebrate our nation and all its people", proclaimed Trish S. from Bendigo.

Even better Jens Olaf Kleist, according to The Age a political scientist from Berlin, Germany, who is working on political memory and migration in Australia. This winter he will be a visiting scholar at the Institute of Social Research at Swinburne University: If a more just society for all Australians could be achieved, something that is possible in the framework of an inclusive republic, then this could be remembered in a truly inclusive commemoration that might also cast new light on Australia's origins."

The all inclusive republic can only work if they exclude the Monarchists. Obviously they don't count in the republicans' eyes. Only a good republican is a good citizen, so they might think.

They should be honest enough to say that they cannot include the Monarchists in their utopian republic. Also, I never heard that class struggles have come to an end in republican systems. An "all inclusive republic" does not exist and will never come into being.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Australia Day: A day we can all celebrate

People like myths. They seem to be so re-assuring. But always look who advocates myths. There’s always an aim behind a myth creating/creator.

Take Australia Day, yesterdays’ public holiday, when the country commemorated the day the first fleet arrived in Sydney Cove. I don’t mind that some indigenous Australians call it "invasion day". From their point of view, they are right, their ancestor’s country was invaded and a long suffering began. But for some 97 % of the population 26th January 1788 marked the start of the immigration of which we all took part in some form or other.

What today’s Age made of yesterday’s events was ludicrous. One letter writer demanded “A day we can all celebrate” and what kind of day was meant said another letter: “I know a date that will not bring us shame and sadness: the day we get over our obsession with Britain and become a republic.The editorial supported that rubbish: “When a republic comes into being this nation will have a date that all citizens can truly call Australia Day.”

Myth "republic day"
It is a myth to think, a “republic day” would unite all Australians. Why should it? No matter which figure you believe, either the 55 % of the 1999 referendum who opposed the politicians republic or the 28 % in the ALP commissioned biased opinion poll, fact remains: There is a substantial number of Australians who do not want a republic and will always oppose a republic as well as a “republic day”.

Do Australian republicans think that the Monarchists would disappear into thin air or agree with a form of state they consider wrong and inadequate for this country? Or will the victorious republicans outlaw all Monarchist activities? Will we face a ban freedom of speech and freedom of thinking just to uphold the chimerical picture of a uniting or united republic?

I know of no republic that is actually uniting people. A classic example could be Germany, where today the 150th birthday of Kaiser Wilhelm II is commemorated by Monarchists. The official national day in Germany is 3rd October. It should remind Germans of the unification of East and West Germany in 1990. But neither East nor West Germans are happy with that day and would like to change it to either a date in November or in May. However, there’s no agreement, if it should be changed and if so, to which date. It is only clear: Nobody likes the 3rd October.

Or take the French republic.

To this day many French royalists wear black armbands on 14th July. Not because they oppose civil liberties, but because of the republican ideology connected to this date. Royalists commemorate instead the killing of King Louis XVI on 21st January. This year all over France thousands gathered to pay homage to their (!) murdered King.

Even 138 years after a republican system was permanently installed in France (due to the division within the Royalist factions in the National Assembly, where they formed a majority until 1875), up to 20% of the French are Royalists. The opinion poll was commissioned by the party Alliance Royaliste, but is at least as credible as the ALP financed poll.

I have no figures for Portugal, but since a military coup proclaimed a republic in 1910 the country still has a considerable number of Monarchists and the Monarchist People’s Party (Partido Popular Monárquico – PPM) has deputies in the national assembly. The Portuguese Monarchists oppose the official national day and celebrate Portugal’s independence instead on 1st December. Under no circumstance would they join their republican countrymen in celebrating on 5th October, the day of shame. I could continue to give more examples.

Another myth: Party unity
The call for an all Australian embracing day comes at the same time, as reports emerged of the deep divisions within the Victorian ALP. A party should have a common aim, but this ALP state branch’s only aim is to stay in power. Very much like the NSW ALP, which is better known outside Victoria. It goes without saying that the Victorian Liberal Party is split in as many factions as the ALP.

There you have a day-to-day myth of a party united to work for ideals bursting like a bubble.

And these divisive politicians should be able to glue up all divisions on a republic day? Just to be nice to each other once a year?

I don’t give a cent for the myths The Age editorialists support every day. The Age ceased being a serious daily newspaper long time ago. The republican line the journalists have to follow has nothing to do with serious impartial reporting.

To sum it up
So the present Australia Day displeases some, because a minority feels excluded. As demonstrated, Australia Day embraces 95% and more Australians. I can not see any other day that could be equally embracive.

However, it could be asked: Why do you want a national day at all? I don’t need one to be re-assured that I am part of the Australian people. I don’t believe in the myth that we are all one and united behind a common aim.

Monday 26 January 2009

What do Australian Republicans stand for?

Barry Everingham never disappoints you. In recent weeks I missed his republican propaganda articles, but there he was again, as I expected: On Australia Day. “Barry Everingham is a Melbourne commentator and a republican” as he was introduced with the common phrase by The Age for his usual republican opinion pieces. “That a monarch still rules us is embarrassing for a modern nation. … The time has come for Australians to look seriously at our constitutional arrangements and change them to bring us into the 21st century.” Never mind that the republican system also dates back more than 2,000 years to the Roman era, a well functioning monarchical system is as adequate for the 21st century, which began eight years ago, as it has been the centuries before.

He also repeats an opinion poll that was paid for by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and had achieved the results that pleased the orderer: “Late last year a poll of 2000 people found 50 per cent supported making Australia a republic while 28 per cent were opposed. Eighty per cent of those polled were in favour of a head of state chosen by the people, the model that presents the most constitutional complications.” If this opinion poll were as decisive as Barry Everingham and the ALP make us believe, then why do they want to ask the same question in an unconstitutional plebiscite? Why waste the taxpayers' money, when everything is so clear as this opinion polls suggested? Why do they not want to go the right way and put a referendum to the people and have the people decide what they want as it is the proper way, the constitutional way?

However, Barry Everingham noticed: “The burning issue is not being helped by either ACM [Australians for Constitutional Monarchy] or the Australian Republican Movement (ARM); neither organisation seems geared to attracting publicity for their respective causes, which is confusing in the ARM's case given that our major news outlets are pro-republic.” Had Barry had a look at AR’s website recently, he could have noticed that there hasn’t been an update for the past three months. When I checked ARM’s website yesterday, the most recent update I could find was done in October 2008.

He was even less attentive to ACM’s website, which according to Barry Everingham carries daily commentary by the group's ‘convenor’, Professor David Flint, which in the main revolves around British and European royalty”. To be fair, I must admit I did not make a statistics on ACM’s topics, but in my judgement “British and European royalty” take less than a third of all topics. The Australian agenda is evident for everyone who follows David Flint’s send outs regularly.

But someone like Barry Everingham, who does not seem to miss ARM’s send outs, cannot be expected to follow the regular Monarchist opinion pieces. Nobody has been more productive in handing out information on the Constitutional Monarchy in Australia than David Flint. Everybody knows, what he stands for and form an opinion of their own.

Does the same go for any republican?

After reading Barry Everingham, I have only a vague guess that he might like some republican model leaning towards the US presidential system. But he does not say it explicitly: “America's system is not perfect, but it's theirs. It is also high time to assume the dignity of being our own people with a modern constitution and an Australian head of state.”

Does this give you a clue what he wants?

Saturday 24 January 2009

Australian Cries

You could expect another republican push for Australia Day. After all, republicans – Australian republicans in particular – are so predictable. They use our public holidays to raise their voices. 2009 is no exception.

But sometimes they overdo their propaganda. Take for example Australian Republic Movement chairman Michael Keating who claimed in The Canberra Timesthe country was ’crying out for leadership’ on the subject, and urged Mr. Rudd to commit to a process and timetable to pursue the issue.

I don’t know, where Michael Keating lives, but in my home, people cry out for a reliable train service, they want a public transport worth that name and that does not hand over the profit to private contractors and leaves the patrons stranded on platforms; they cry for a better water management and they cry out against the desalination plant and the North-South pipeline through the Victorian countryside, but that seem to be secondary topics for the Greens. They cry for action against climate change and against the ridiculously low and inadequate 5% target, Kevin Rudd wants to achieve by 2020. But what is the threat to mankind caused by the climate change to the desire to have a politicians republic?

There are many political topics in Australia that need more attention, however Green Senator Bob Brown puts his emphasis on “a” republic: "Australia Day long weekend is the perfect opportunity for the Prime Minister to commit to building cross-party support for a vote on a plebiscite," Senator Brown said yesterday according to The Canberra Times.

I cry that our politicians cannot set their priorities straight.

Monday 19 January 2009

A Royal Visitor in Melbourne

Friday, 16th January 2009
His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester arrived to stay at Government House.

Friday, 16th January 2009
The Duke of Gloucester this afternoon attended a Lecture at the Royal Society of Victoria, 9 Victoria Street, Melbourne, Australia, followed by a Reception to commemorate the Centenary of Ernest Shackleton’s Expedition’s location of the South Magnetic Pole.

The Governor, Professor David de Kretser, AC, later hosted a dinner at Government House in honour of His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester.

Saturday, 17th January 2009
The Duke of Gloucester today crossed the South Magnetic Pole, Antarctica, to commemorate the Centenary of the first location of the South Magnetic Pole by the Northern Party of Ernest Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909.

The Royal Society of Victoria had offered the flyover of the South Magnetic Pole, Antarctica, 100 years after it was first positioned by a party of Australians, Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson and Scotsman Alistair Mackay, members of Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909.

The 12 hour return flight (departing Sydney at 6.00am and Melbourne at 8.40am; returning Melbourne then Sydney), included an inflight scientific programme, with papers being presented by international polar scientists and historians. Historic memorabilia associated with the quest for the Pole since Captain James Ross first estimated its 1841 position in Victoria Land, will be on display. A special historic brochure, commemorative stamps and a specially minted commemorative coin will be available.

The Royal Society of Victoria was pleased to note the presence on the flight of His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, and many other dignitaries, prominent polar scientist (who were offer an in-flight education programme) and a large number of senior school children enthused in the pursuit of Science.

The Age reported on the events on 14th January 2009: Year 12 student Jessica will be in good company on Saturday, though she admits to being a bit nervous about the day's historic event. As the 17-year-old boards a chartered Qantas flight to Antarctica in the early hours of the morning, she will count the Duke of Gloucester and Victorian Governor David de Kretser among her fellow passengers.

Monday, 19th January 2009
The Duke of Gloucester will attend a meeting on 'Disaster Management Response and Co-ordination' at the Royal Society of Victoria, 9 Victoria Street, Melbourne.

Tuesday, 20th January 2009
The Duke of Gloucester will visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Jolimont, Melbourne.

The Duke of Gloucester Co-President, Cancer Research UK, will visit the Cancer Research Centre, Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne.

The Duke of Gloucester will attend a Dinner hosted by the Melbourne Cricket Club at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne.

Wednesday, 21st January 2009

The Duke of Gloucester will attend a Breakfast Meeting with The Royal Society of Victoria's Young Science Ambassadors at the Melbourne Aquarium, Melbourne.

All appointments in the Royal Diary

Prince Richard, the son of an Australian Governor-General
Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester (on the photo on his daughter Lady Rose Windsor's wedding) is the son of Prince Henry, the third son of King George V and Queen Mary. Prince Richard, the present Duke, was born in August 1944, his elder brother, Prince William of Gloucester, in December 1941. He died in a plane accident in 1972, and Prince Richard followed his father as Duke of Gloucester. Prince Henry survived his elder son by two years, dying after a series of strokes, and several sad years in which it was difficult to communicate with him. Prince Richard, married Birgitte van Deurs in 1972.

In 1945, Prince Henry, who had been Chief Liaison Officer to the British Field Force in France, became Australia's first royal Governor General. The family moved to Australia and Princess Alice concerned herself with the Australian women's services.

On his first visit to Australia in 1934, Prince Henry said at Bombala:”I would much rather be regarded as one of the family come to visit his cousins across the world, than merely as a visiting stranger without lot or part with the country.” In 1945, a few months over ten years since his successful Australian tour, the Duke arrived in Sydney by air to become the first royal Governor-General. Memories of his successful tour were still retained in the minds of many – so it was with genuine affection that the Duke and his family were welcomed back among us, and this time for two years.

While they were here, they worked hard at their position and demonstrated their capacity and willingness to understand the essential character, life and interests of Australians.

Their life in Australia had been full. They had learned a lot from us an we from them. The Duke’s generous nature was epitomised by one of his parting gestures, which was to present the nation with his own aeroplane, the
Endeavour. (“The Royal Presence in Australia, 1867 – 1986" by Philip W. Pike, Adelaide Royalty Publishing 1986, page 60)

The Duke and the Duchess of Gloucester at the Adelaide War Memorial

The Daily Telegraph wrote last year: [The Australian Prime Minister John] Curtin arranged for Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, to take over from Gowrie. The appointment was a surprising one for a Labor PM to make, but Curtin chose Gloucester, brother of King George VI, to try to gain some support from Britain in the Pacific in World War II. … Although Gloucester's appointment was politically motivated, it was not as controversial as that of former Labor premier of NSW William McKell in 1947.

On 10th January 1947 the Sydneysiders bid the outgoing Governor-General, The Duke of Gloucester and the Duchess of Gloucester, a colouful farewell.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Inauguration = Coronation, only more frequent

While Washington DC is buzzing with rehearsal stress, the rest of the world awaits Barack Obama’s coronation, oops, inauguration. But is there really any difference?

The pomp, with which Obama will be crowned president is nothing short of that of any 19th century Monarch. The "Potus" - President of the United States – will swear a holy oath on a 150 year old bible, watch a military parade and be honoured by a 21 gun salute. A US Marines Band will intone "Hail to the Chief". As the Queen is head of the armed forces of Australia (and Her other realms), Obama will become commander in chief of the US forces.

The Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies handed out 240,000 colour-coded tickets that give entry to areas right in front of the Capitol in Washington, where the swearing-in will take place. When the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on 2 June 1953, more than twelve months after her accession, hundred of thousands of Britons and over 200,000 tourists from other countries descended upon London for the coronation.

Has anybody criticised the cost of the four-yearly US show? The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II cost £ 3m (the equivalent of £ 60m today, based on retail price index). A government paper of that period gave an insight into the government's struggle to afford a £3 million coronation in the aftermath of the Second World War. At one point, ministers considered charging guests at Westminster Abbey 16 shillings a head for the food. Churchill later dismissed the idea as "shabby".

Records reveal Queen's 'cut-price' Coronation
The Queen’s Coronation was in danger of becoming a cut-price affair in which the government even briefly considered charging VIP guests for their coronation lunch, according to records just released.

But seats in spectator stands were put up for sale, at a cost of £4-6 each, in order to cover the costs of erecting them. The cost-cutting plans were discussed as the Conservatives, who took over austere Britain at the end of October 1951, immediately faced a financial crisis, struggling to keep even a basic programme going to pay for food imports, housing and defence, the notebooks reveal.

The crowning of the monarch on June 2nd, 1953 attracted an estimated viewing audience of 20 million and gave the new TV networks a most welcome boost, wrote the SundayHerald.

Unlike in political campaigns, there are no legal restrictions in the USA on the amount that one can contribute to an inaugural celebration. The 2005 inauguration saw numerous corporations contribute $250,000 to George W. Bush's second inauguration, which cost more than an estimated $40 million, while Obama's inauguration is expected to cost $40 million from Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee and "near $50 million" from the city. Barack Obama's inauguration committee set a $50,000 contribution limit to underscore their "commitment to change business as usual in Washington." As of January 6th, 2009, the committee had raised over $27 million and at least 378 gave the maximum $50,000. Although the committee is not accepting donations from PACs (political action committees), federally registered lobbyists, or corporations, they are accepting donations from individuals with active lobbying interest such as Google and Microsoft executives such as Eric Schmidt and Steve Ballmer.

People, who complain about the cost in a Monarchy, never take into consideration that the Monarchy of the United Kingdom had one coronation in 56 years, while the USA have their inauguration every four years. Multiply this year's cost by 14 and you see how much cheaper the Monarchy effectively is.

Thursday 1 January 2009

Freedom wears a Crown
The Australian Monarchist League has a supply of these stickers in full colour, by courtesy of Mr Neil Gilmour, the AML's Chairman in Western Australia.

They can be ordered at 50 cents each plus a stamped addressed envelope sent to: The Australian Monarchist League, P O Box 1068, Double Bay NSW 1360, E-Mail: