Saturday 31 July 2010

The Queen wants a copy of the Victoria Bushfires Royal Commission report

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Australia, expressed shock and sadness at the time of the Februray 7th, 2009 bushfires and had asked to receive a copy of the Victoria Bushfires Royal Commission report, reported Channel 9 in today's evening news.

The bushfires claimed 173 lives and destroyed countless homes and businesses.

The report, more than 300 pages in all (see this summary), contains over 60 recommendations to improve response to and planning for bushfire events in Victoria.

The Victorian government has not decided its response to the report which is critical of the bushfire planning, resourcing and most particularly the Police Minister and the senior management of the Country Fire Authority, Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Police, said the ABC:
"Mr Brumby says it is important for the Government to consider its response to the report carefully.

"'As Premier I feel the full weight of responsibility to make sure that we get our response to the Commission's report right to make sure we make our state as safe as possible,' he said."
It seems Victoria failed or had forgotten to learn the lessons of previous major fires in 1939 and 1983.

In February 2009 The Queen made a private donation to the fund-raising appeal for victims of the wildfires in Australia. She also requested daily updates on the bushfires and sent HRH The Princess Royal to Australia to visit areas affected by the Victorian Bushfires. On 21st January 2010 HRH Prince William visited the Whittlesea bushfire recovery centre, in Melbourne’s north, where he quizzed Premier John Brumby on the Black Saturday blazes.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Quick republican response after four years

One can’t help admiring the Australian republicans’ quick reaction force. On 28th July 2010 two of their leading men commented on a news item that was published on 14th June 2006. David Donovan, media director of the Australian Republican Movement and its Queensland branch convener and Major General Mike Keating AO retired from Her Majesty’s Australian service to commence another battle as the chair of the Australian Republican Movement (ARM), discussed on the ABC’s “The drum unleashed" the Republic Audit - Costs of Republicanism Paid or Payable by the Taxpayer by David Flint (National Convener of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy). By examining David Flint’s calculated costs of transforming Australia into “a” republic the ARM's bigwigs followed the rule: Minimise the republic’s cost and exaggerate the costs of the Monarchy.

By doing so they end up with a strange calculation. The two top republicans claimed “a five day tour by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in 2005” cost “almost $400,000“. They did not check their records because Prince Charles was in Australia in March 2005 – and got married in April 2005. He was not accompanied by Camilla Parker-Bowles as the Duchess of Cornwall was known before her marriage to the Prince of Wales.

It is equally wrong to attribute “$1.8 million for a visit by the Queen to Melbourne in 2006”. In March 2006 she opened the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne as Head of the Commonwealth. If the sum mentioned was correct, then it would had have to be paid even by a republican Australia – as long as the country stayed in the Commonwealth and wanted to host events related to this world organisation. By the way, according to Wikipedia and the ABC the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne cost “over 1 billion Australian dollars and a high likelihood the Victorian taxpayer would have to cover the expense”.

The republicans did not criticise the $1,000,000,000 cost of the Games, but a 0,18% faction for the Head of the Commonwealth, presuming the figure was correct.

Wrong is also this claim: “Not paying for royal tours in future will be an ongoing benefit for Australian taxpayers for the rest of the life of the Australian nation.” Unless an Australian republic pulls down the shutters, refuses to receive royal visitors and opens its gates only for republican heads of state, then there will always be costs which have to covered by the host. Or will republicans put up the sign ”BYO” and demand from official guests to this nation that they pay for their visit? What an extraordinary thought, which no nation has ever adopted.

When it comes to stays of members of our Royal Family, the republicans should be reminded, that unlike unwelcome relatives who turn up at the door mat and demand entrance, neither the Queen of Australia nor the heir to the throne or anyone else who belongs to the House of Windsor arrive on the Australian shores without being invited. They do not hand themselves an invitation.

However, they are welcome and we would like to see them more often down under. That would give the two republicans more material to complain about – and maybe they would even get the facts right next time.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Shahanshah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi
(6th October 1919, Tehran – 27th July 1980, Cairo)

On this day 30 years ago The Shahanshah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, died in Cairo. The RadicalRoyalist has always admired the visions of this great Monarch, see here.

In Paris Iranian and French Royalists commemorated Shah Mohammed Reza yesterday, Monday 26th July 26 en présence de Son Altesse Impériale le Prince Gholam-Reza Pahlavi, frère du Shah d'Iran.

Monday 26 July 2010

The Age reports on the Queen's Flickr account in their typical style

When it came to reporting on The Queen’s new Flickr account, The Age just could not resist publishing the news not in a fair and neutral manner, but with its usual barbs against the Royal Family:

"Queen Elizabeth II is joining other proud parents starting Monday in showing off and sharing her photo albums — and those of the House of Windsor — on the online Flickr photo site.

"But don't even think about sharing any thoughts on the site about how
Prince Charles might look in his nappies. Users won't be able to leave comments on the photos."

The Age has been very selective when it comes to leaving comments under articles published on their website. There are only a few news items, where readers are allowed to comment - and the comments are moderated. In those cases that it is possible to have your say, there is a strict time window that closes very often after less than 24 hours.

Not noticing that you sit in a glass-house, dear Age?

Sunday 25 July 2010

The Queen on Flickr

Hundreds of rarely seen pictures of our Royal Family have been posted on to the photo website Flickr after Buckingham Palace opened an account with the popular site.

More than 600 photographs have been added to the British Monarchy's Photostream account and the images will be continuously updated as new engagements and events take place.

The development is the latest move by the Monarchy to stay up to date with technological innovations and follows the launch of the updated royal website and British Monarchy Twitter account last year and the Royal Channel on YouTube in 2007.

Saturday 24 July 2010


Why is it right for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to try and flock women around the female contender to the office of prime minister (The Age: Women rally to Gillard as ALP leads poll)? And why would it be considered sexist, should Tony Abbott try to do the same with his fellow males?

Our Lady of Altona aka Saint Julia, has already been beatified by the media, she can do no wrong.

The media have already made up their mind about “The Mad Monk”, and his admiration for women (The Age: Abbott praises the women in his life) has been ridiculed.

Who is the most sexist in this country?

Friday 23 July 2010

ABC News 24

Yesterday the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) started its 24-hour television news service. ABC News 24, as this youngest branch of the non-commercial TV and radio broadcaster is called. ABC News 24 is supposed to “cover local and international news, current affairs, analysis of political, social and economic trends” as the advertising blitz knocked it into the audience in recent weeks.

Considering that the ABC missed out in the live coverage of the Fromelles ceremonies this week, its performance can only get better. The question the RadicalRoyalist puts forward is, will ABC News 24 also cover royal events? When the Queen of Australia last visited Melbourne in March 2006 ABC Victoria’s evening news covered the event in 13 seconds, of which half was dedicated to a small group of demonstrators. Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, Queen of Australia from 1936 to 1952, died in 2002, the lying in state was not broadcast live by the ABC, which prefered to show an old Cary Grant film instead.

No matter which figures you refer to, the 54.4 percent of the Australian people who said No to a republic in 1999 or the 39 percent who declare themselves as Monarchists in a more recent republican-paid opinion poll, there is a considerable section of the Australian community that is interested in royal events and which should be served by the ABC.

However, it is more likely that those who direct the ABC will not take this opportunity to satisfy the Monarchist spectators. The ABC bigwigs might be too afraid to “promote” the Monarchist cause or the sometimes nasty response by the republican minority in Australia. Since the 1999 referendum the ABC more or less gave up reporting on everything that is of any interest to Monarchists. There is, on the other hand, no shortage of negative reports. The latest was the ABC’s stunt on the costs of the British Monarchy.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Prince Charles at the Indian Memorial at Neuve-Chapelle in France

Most Australian media reported from Fromelles, where the last of the 250 British and Australian soldiers were laid to rest with full military honours on 19th July. They could not avoid noticing that HRH Prince Charles and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall attended the commemorative ceremony at the new Military Cemetery, however, nobody had found it newsworthy that the heir to the throne and his wife also attended a ceremony to honour the fallen Indian soldiers the very same day.

The French newspaper La Voix du Nord published a very fine article on this event, that is in stark contrast to the abysmal journalism practiced by The Age, and the daily's photographs give an excellent insight into the ceremonies with the Indian soldiers and their relatives.

TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall paid tribute to the contribution of Muslim and Sikh and Hindu soldiers in the First World War during a visit to the Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial.

The Battle of Neuve-Chapelle saw a huge contribution by the British Indian Army, and the memorial represents the 4,742 Indian soldiers with no known grave who died in the First World War.

Their Royal Highnesses attended a memorial service, which was attended by children from a number of schools in Britain learning about the contributions of the many different ethnic communities that fought and died in the First World War for the Allied cause.

On entering the memorial, The Duchess was presented with flowers, before The Prince was invited to lay a wreath given to him by a pupil from Allerton Grange School in Leeds.

Pupils from the school talked to The Prince and told him what they have been learning about the link between shared national values and national cohesion, in relation to Neuve-Chappelle and the sacrifices made there by the many different ethnic communities.

Poems were recited by 10-year-old Rasnam Singh, who travelled with a Sikh delegation. Their Royal Highnesses listened as he read the poem which had been written by a Sikh soldier who served at Neuve-Chapelle.

Rasnam was followed by a specially written poem by a pupil from Allerton Grange School.

The Prince and The Duchess toured the memorial grounds meeting with veterans, Gurkhas, and representatives from Britain’s Hindu, Sikh and Muslim communities who had made the journey to Neuve-Chapelle especially for the service.

Prince Charles asks: Why are all our war heroes white?

In its edition of 21st July 2010 The Daily Express quoted “a senior royal aid” having said “the Prince was so concerned about the way that black and Asian troops had been marginalised from our history he had decided to try to highlight the issue”.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall paid tribute to 4,742 Indians whose deaths in two battles in October 1914 and March 1915 are commemorated at the First World War memorial at Neuve Chapelle. They were among 140,000 Indians who saw active service on the Western Front in the First World War.

The Daily Express continues:

"At the memorial Charles and Camilla learned about the exploits of Rifleman Gobar Singh Negi, who won a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery fighting in the trenches with the 2nd Battalion, 39th Garhwal Rifles at Neuve Chapelle on March 10, 1915.

Charles and Camilla also met Jaimal Singh Johal, 74, a retired sub-postmaster from Maidenhead, Berkshire, whose grandfather Manta Singh, a junior officer in the 2nd Sikh Royal Infantry, was fatally wounded at Neuve Chapelle, dying in hospital in Brighton aged only 27.

"It means a lot that they have come to see this memorial and that my grandfather is being recognised in a foreign country," said Mr Johal.

Sir Christopher Bayly, professor of imperial and naval history at Cambridge University, agreed that many people knew little about the role of non-whites who had fought for Britain, apart from the Gurkhas."

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Australia's future King paid tribute to 250 British and Australian WWI soldiers

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall today paid tribute to the last of the 250 British and Australian soldiers who were laid to rest with full military honours in Fromelles, France, after their bodies were found in mass graves in 2008.

The Prince of Wales walked behind the coffin of an unidentified soldier which was carried through the village on a First World War military wagon pulled by horses from the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

The unnamed soldier was just one out of more than 1,500 Britons and 5,000 Australians whose bodies were dumped in one of four mass graves by German soldiers.

His Royal Highness was joined by the Governor-General of Australia, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, in the walking procession to the Commonwealth cemetery specially created to give the 250 men their last resting place.

The Duchess of Cornwall was also present in the audience, while The Prince made a speech to honour the fallen soldiers.

The speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the Dedication of the Fromelles cemetery, France
19th July 2010:
Governor General, Monsieur le ministre, Families of those killed in action here in Fromelles, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a great privilege for my wife and myself to be here today to bear witness to this important and moving ceremony, as we lay to rest the last of the "Unnamed Warriors" whose remains were so recently discovered only metres away. In laying this last hero to rest, we honour them all.

Standing here, I cannot help but be taken back to that terrible day in July 1916; to a world made familiar and accessible to us and our children by the truly outstanding work of organizations like the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and Imperial War Museum in London. Ninety-four years ago in Fromelles there were no buildings, or even trees or hedges, to define and punctuate the landscape we see today – such was the intensity and ferocity of the conflict. There were not even any local people - they had all been displaced. The vast and heavily defended German position stretched out two kilometres to our North West.

In the trenches beyond the German front line and No-Mans Land, the man we have reinterred today was billeted with his brothers-in-arms – his “cobbers” - from the 5th Australian Division and the British soldiers of the 61st (South Midland) Division. I can only begin to imagine his emotions as he made the journey to the Western Front: perhaps the initial excitement of waiting for orders, the sickening anxiety preparing for battle and, as the attack began in earnest, a mix of sheer adrenaline and heart-stopping apprehension. But, somehow, he and his friends mustered the incredible courage to climb over the parapet into a hail of machinegun fire and into a field strewn with mud, barbed wire and the dead. We will never know what impact that apocalyptic scene had on them. Leon Gellert captures all this with such poignancy in his poem “Before Action,” when he says “I wondered if my packing-straps were tight, And wondered why I wondered… Sound went wild… and order came… I ran into the night, wondering why I smiled.”

The next day the full horror of what had taken place was revealed. More than 5,500 Australian soldiers and 1,500 British soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. Under orders, German soldiers moved the body of this man and his cobbers to Pheasant Wood where they were buried.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am profoundly humbled by the outstanding bravery of these men who fought so valiantly in the indescribable mud and carnage, many thousands of miles from their families and from their homes. Today we honour and commemorate these young soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might live in peace and so that our children and grandchildren might learn the lessons from both devastating world conflicts.

We dedicate this cemetery in grateful memory of all those in the Land Forces of the Commonwealth who died in the cause of freedom, particularly those who fought and died during the Battle of Fromelles and the 250 soldiers whom we remember especially today.

May we ever be mindful of them and their comrades in arms of all Services and be guided by their example of loyalty, service and selflessness.

Emotion et recueillement à Fromelles
La foule était silencieuse, encore sous l'émotion de ces lettres de soldats qui venaient d'être lues, quand le prince Charles a pénétré, hier à 12 h 40, dans le nouveau cimetière de Fromelles, au son des tambours et des fifres.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Commemorations on 14th July

This 14th July marks France's national day, which seems appropriate to remind of the massacres the French republic committed among the French who opposed the republic.

Galliawatch, a US-based blog, has translated an article of the French daily newspaper Le Figaro that described the work of the archeologists and historians of INRAP (National Institute of Preventive Archeological Research) as they unearth the graves of the victims of the 1793 battle of Le Mans, in the department of Vendée:
(...) It is the first time that excavations have been done of the mass graves of the Vendée War, as if there was a fear of arousing the ghosts of the past. There has always been a lot of reticence in our country regarding this episode in which the soldiers of the Republic confronted the insurgents of Western France, better known as the "Vendéens" (Vendeans or people of Vendée). For a longtime, history text books and the "national story" have erased or disguised this civil war that was every bit as ferocious as those that are tearing apart some countries even today.

On December 12 and 13, 1793, the battle of Le Mans was a veritable massacre. The republican army, having made a surprise appearance in order to finish once and for all with the insurrection, took no prisoners. Starving and sick, the bulk of the Vendean population, half of which consisted of women, old people and children, had taken refuge in Le Mans in the hope of finding food and medical supplies. According to estimates between 2000 and 5000 persons were killed.

And Galliawatch also quotes Catholic writer Bernard Antony
So 217 years had to pass before the first excavations at Le Mans of the mass graves from the Vendean War were undertaken.

This, it seems, will allow us to see lifted, oh so timidly, a small corner of the immense and heavy veil of amnesia that, for over two centuries, has been covering and hiding the truth about what the French Revolution was. But this veil must not be lowered again. It must be lifted entirely for the honor of France, her memory, her continuity and for civil peace among Frenchmen.

For it is the congenital flaw of our republican system to have been founded on the assassination of the King of France and his family and on an exterminating civil war. In addition, the French Revolution, by organizing the all-powerful State around a dialectic between the State and the individual, thus dissolving away all other social bonds, served as the ideological model of the two totalitarian monsters of the 20th century - Communism and Nazism.

Both Lenin and Hitler praised their Jacobin filiation. From the Jacobin sans-culottes came the Red Guard and the SS. The red and black ideologies of extermination justified their genocides with arguments similar to those used by the Convention to justify the genocide in Vendée. And the Jacobin ideology continues to inspire the subversion of the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity into a totalitarian individualism that destroys the natural communities, beginning with the family, and that confiscates the fundamental freedom of education of children by their parents.

Less than twenty years after the end of the USSR, the Russian State, even though in some ways a continuation of the Soviet system, honored itself by repenting for the assassination of the Tsar and his family, and by replacing Russia in its historical and religious continuity.

France is in need of a similar symbolic gesture. The State, by repenting for the original crimes of our republic would liberate our national memory, and accomplish a far-reaching act of French Friendship.

One of the organisers of the Royalist resistance against the republican tyranny ("la terreur" was the official government policy against the royalists) was the great French royalist, Henri du Vergier Comte de la Rochejaquelein, who received a fine commemoration by The Mad Monarchist.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Royal embrace

Spain is celebrating its first-ever football World Cup victory.
The match in Johannesburg between the Spanish and the Dutch teams was watched by H.M. Queen Sofía of Spain, H.R.H. Don Felipe, the Prince of Asturias, and H.R.H Doña Letizia, Princess of Asturias, and H.R.H Crown Prince Willem Alexander, Prince of Orange, H.R.H. Princess Maxima of the Netherlands.
After Spain's victorious World Cup squad had returned to Madrid the players went to meet Spain's Royal Family.

H.M. King Juan Carlos was accompanied by his wife, H.M. Queen Sofía, his eldest daughter, H.R.R. Infanta Elena, and his son, H.R.H. Crown Prince Felipe and his wife, H.H.R. Crown Princess Letizia as well as their children, H.R.R. Infanta Leonor and H.R.H. Infanta Sofía.

"Thank you champions, in the name of all of Spain and all Spaniards," the King said after personally greeting each of the players.

"This is a well deserved victory for an exceptional team which thrilled the hearts of all Spaniards. You brought together all Spaniards, made our dreams a reality and projected the name of Spain around the world."

Palabras de Su Majestad el Rey a la Selección Española de Fútbol, Campeona de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA "Sudáfrica 2010"

Palacio Real de Madrid, 12 de julio de 2010

Este no es un día de discursos. Es un día de enorme emoción e inmenso orgullo.

Emoción por un triunfo bien merecido y por una selección excepcional que ha hecho vibrar el corazón de todos los españoles.

Mi orgullo por ver a España campeón, por aglutinar a todos los españoles, por hacer realidad nuestros mejores sueños, y por proyectar, sobre todo, el nombre de España en todo el mundo.

Estos son los sentimientos que como Rey quiero trasladaros con el mayor de los abrazos, con toda mi gratitud y con toda mi más afectuosa enhorabuena.

Sois un ejemplo de deportividad, de nobleza, de buen juego, de trabajo en equipo. Y ahí tengo que dar la enhorabuena a Vicente del Bosque, aunque sé que no le gusta aparecer por ahí, pero siempre tendrá mi reconocimiento. Un ejemplo de esfuerzo y espíritu de superación para las nuevas generaciones. Y una capacidad, sobre todo, de demostrar la capacidad que tiene España para lograr juntos los éxitos que nos propongamos.

¡Gracias Campeones en nombre de toda España y de todos los españoles!

¡Gracias por vuestro ejemplo y por vuestro espíritu!

¡Viva nuestra selección y viva España!

Sunday 11 July 2010

The Age's latest scoop: Insulting the Spanish Queen

Journalists know: “Dog bites man” is no news, “Man bites dog” makes it into a paper. When it concerns The Age this axiom reads: It’s not newsworthy that “more than 100,000 people greeted the Queen in Ottawa in burning heat on Canada Day 2010” (as a Quebec daily reported). Not one word about Her Majesty's overwhelming success in Canada in The Age. It was of much greater interest to The Age, when 150 slogan-chanting Quebec nationalists showed their posters against Prince Charles’s visit to Canada in November 2009.

The Age followed this principle once more in the article Spanish rivalries on hold for Cup (10th July 2010) by repeating its anti-Monarchist reflex by blowing up a minor incident:

“The Queen of Spain is on television and the sweaty bodies, their owners endlessly smoking in the bar, jeer and catcall and sneer before yelling, 'Es una garrapata! puta!' It's a football crowd, a few moments before the kickoff against Germany, and a cheer goes around. To hell with her. Viva España! Here in Valladolid, a former capital of the country, a centre of Spanish nationalism since Ferdinand and Isabella began the unification of the separate Iberian kingdoms to form modern Spain. 'Puta!' they call again. Imagine - although you may not care to - a Yorkshireman calling Queen Elizabeth a slut.

"Sometimes it seems that the only thing propping up public support for the royal family of Spain is the ageing but grand figure of King Juan Carlos himself. After his death, could the republic lost in 1936 to the fascists be born again?"

The author did not shamefully hide his name, but The Age told the audience that it was Callum Newman, a Melbourne writer who was giving this statement. A Melbourne writer? What is he then doing in Valladolid? Is he based in Spain? As a Melbourne writer, he is not known. Only one other article written by him can be found on the net: A student’s item published in 2003 in The Age, of course. Hardly enough to make a living as a writer.

Let’s see, how the facts match with what the Melbourne writer, who so nostalgically wants “the republic lost in 1936 ... to be born again”, had to say about Spain’s Monarchy.

"The Spanish Constitution, which was unanimously approved by Parliament and voted by 87.8% of the citizens in a referendum held on 6 December 1978, provides in his article 1 for a Parliamentary Monarchy of the classical liberal European style, with certain peculiarities to take into account the Spanish situation."

In two recent opinion polls the Monarchy received an overwhelming support from the Spanish people: 20 minutos in 2007: "69% of the Spaniards say the Parliamentary Monarchy is the ideal form of state. 22% would prefer a republic.”

In May 2009 57.4% of the Spaniards said they wanted King Juan Carlos serving the country as King until his death. Only a fifth wanted him abdicate soon in favour of Crown Prince Felipe. Eleven percent favoured an abdication within eight to ten years. At the same time 81% said, Don Felipe was well prepared for his duties a Spanish King.

And when it comes to the popularity of the Spanish Royal Family, then Callum Newman should note this result of an opinion poll published by Typically Spanish:
"King Don Juan Carlos has been chosen as the most important Spaniard in History.

"His name came top from 100 personalities in a poll of 3,000 citizens as part of a television programme format which has already been broadcast in other countries.

"The King was joined in the top ten by his queen, Doña Sofia and also by Prince Felipe.

"Other royalty made their presence in the list – Queen Isabel, La Católica was at number 11, Doña Letizia at 15 and Alfonso X, the Wise, at number 18.

"Ex Prime Ministers Adolfo Suárez and Felipe González came in at 5 and 10.

"Miguel de Cervantes took the arts into second place and Pablo Picasso was at number 8.

"Completing the top ten, Nobel Prize winner Ramón y Cajal was at number 6, the writer Santa Teresa de Jesús was number 9 and Cristopher Colon was at number 3."
If the incident in the Spanish bar took place as The Age printed it, is only to the author to know. He must be fairly good in Spanish to be able to understand swear words, because you don’t learn them at school. What definitively is not correct is him generalizing an alcohol-impregnated incident and claiming the Spanish Monarchy would face any immediate danger.

As a good republican Callum Newman should be much more worried about French president Nicolas Sarkozy whose approval rate fell to an all time low of 26%. There is not living Monarch whose approval rate is below 50% - even if “sweaty bodies, their owners endlessly smoking in the bar” may not like Su Majestad el Reina Doña Sofia as much as the Spanish team that was visited by their Queen (and what could be watched in Australia on SBS. For once they did not censor a royal event.)

Saturday 10 July 2010

A lone British republican gets a little help from his Aussie TV friends

This week we were able to watch an extraordinary news item on the ABC’s “7.30 Report”. While this programme usually deals with Australian topics, ignores the Australian Constitutional Monarchy and more often than not features self-loving TV presenters, last Wednesday, 7th July, it reported on the cost of maintaining a crowned head of state. Mind you, the “7.30 Report” did not deal with the Australian Monarchy, but with the British. The Australians for Constitutional Monarchy criticised quite rightly: ABC gives platform to UK republicans.

Philip Benwell of The Australian Monarchist League wrote in a statement:
“They told us about a crowd of protesters gathered outside Buckingham Palace, but one could see only a handful of people, as opposed to the massive crowds thronging to see the 'Changing of the Guard'.

They spoke to a lone British republican who protested that the Queen cost the British people 62p a year.”

That lone British republican was the well-known Graham Smith, whose analytic skills let him predict in 2007 :

Australia's new republic

Whatever the result of the Australian election, there is bound to be one big loser: the British monarchy. ... It is all but certain that Australia will be a republic within the next five to 10 years.”

With the same analytic skills he claimed about the British Monarchy, that “the true bill to the taxpayer would be nearer £150m a year if the costs of police and army security were included”.

But his contention that the UK Monarchy is the most expensive head of state in Europe is just plain false either Mr. Smith got his figures wrong or just chose to ignore the reality of the cost of the German or the Italian Presidency both of wich are way above the cost of maintaining the monarchy.

Mr. Smith's figures contradict the Royal Public Finances Annual Report that states that Head of State support for 2009-10 was £38.2 million (including VAT of £1.9 million), compared with £41.5 last year.

Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said in a press release:
"The Treasury contributed the equivalent of just 62 pence per person in the country to enable The Queen to carry out her duties as Head of State.

"The Royal Household is acutely aware of the difficult economic climate and took early action to reduce its Civil List expenditure by 2.5 per cent in real terms in 2009. We are implementing a headcount freeze and reviewing every vacancy to see if we can avoid replacement."

The ABC's Europe correspondent did not do her homework and seemed to have met opponents and suporters of the British Monarchy will little preparatory work. For example, what the “7.30 Report” failed to do, was to ask Mr. Smith which republican model he had in mind to replace the Monarchy. Or they could have put it simpler: Name any republic with the size and population of the UK that is cheaper.

Sometimes republicans say, they’d favour the German model. To which The Daily Telegraph remarked: “The Queen is a lot cheaper than tedious republics like Germany.” Not to mention the rather odd way of selecting the German president.

To continue with the real figures The Daily Telegraph had this to say: ”Head of State expenditure covers the Queen’s duties as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth. It is met from public funds – principally the Civil List and Grants-in-aid (see right) – in exchange for surrender by The Queen of the revenue from the Crown Estate (in 2008-09, the revenue surplus from the Crown Estate paid to the Treasury was £230 million).

Blogger Malden Capell says:
"The most important question however is this: if Britain were to abolish the monarchy, would these costs go away? Answer: no.

The security bill (even if it were £100 million!) would remain pretty much the same. Equally, the cost of maintaining the palaces would remain the same – the German Bundespräsident has a number of official residences too, after all. The staffing costs, the pensions, the full range of duties a Head of State carries out will still have to be carried out by whatever replaces the monarchy. State Visits would continue. Garden parties would continue. Visits to local councils, receptions and the granting of honours would continue. The Head of State’s functions as constitutional umpire would continue. And of course, the new Head of State would require a salary
It cannot be pointed out stringly enough: The Queen does not receive a salary - neither from the British nor from the Australian taxpayers. The civil list is for the running of "the machinery".

Why don’t British republicans look across the channel to France? As Senator Cory Bernardi recently remarked in Melbourne: “France offers you five republics to choose from.” In the 1958 model Nicolas Sarkozy came to power in 2007. One of his first actions was to grant himself a pay rise, it was actually a staggering 206% salary increase. This week a BBC reporter in Paris pointed to the Elysée Palace and said: “Since Nicolas Sarkozy’s arrival here the expenditures have tripled.” He did not go into details, but the RadicalRoyalist revealed that extravagance is a republican characteristic.

On the Elysée Palace’s website, the official budget for president Sarkozy is given at 112,533,700 € for 2010 (= AUS $ 161,912,088), which is substantially higher than the Queen’s civil list (which is, just to remind you, AUS $65,495,300. Opposition parties in France claim that these figures don’t comprise all expenditures – not unlike the lone British republican.

Everybody knows, that Sarkozy aims higher. His latest project is an aero plane of his own, nicknamed Air Sarko One. Estimated costs: 180 million € (= AUS $259 million). And this is the president's palace in the air:
It goes without saying that not a single cent for this plane will come from the presidential budget.

However, I am sure a British republican head of state would give Graham Smith a ride in his then to be bought presidential plane, just to thank him for his efforts of getting rid of an economical Monarch.

Friday 9 July 2010

The Queen speaks out for the "smaller, more vulnerable nations, many of them from the Commonwealth"

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York for the first time since 1957 on Tuesday, 6th July 2010, paying homage to the organization’s accomplishments.

One interesting aspect of this visit to the UN was the fact that she addressed the General Assembly's 105th plenary meeting as - in her own words - "Queen of sixteen United Nations Member States and as Head of the Commonwealth of 54 countries".

As Queen of some smaller Commonwealth nations, she acted as advocate in their interest, reminding that a great "challenge is climate change, where careful account must be taken of the risks facing smaller, more vulnerable nations, many of them from the Commonwealth".

The Queen's speech can be read here.

Or you can watch this video.

Thursday 1 July 2010

A president nobody knows - and no one wants

It was hard labour, but in the end the Germans got a new president. It took three rounds of voting until the Federal Convention (Bundesversammlung consisting of all members of the Bundestag, and a corresponding number of representatives from the federal states), fulfilled Chancellor Angela Merkel’s wish and agreed on Christian Wulff as the republic’s new president.

Though Christian Democrats and Liberals, who have been in a coalition government since October 2009, had a solid 21-majority in the Federal Convention, in the first round only 600 of the government’s 644 electors chose to cast a vote in favour of Christian Wulff, when an overall majority of 623 was required. In the second round his share improved slightly to 615.

In the third round, when the absolute majority was no longer required, Wulff got his ticket to the Bellevue Palace by managing 625 votes.

A disaster for the republican system corrupted by Angela Merkel, whose previous candidate Horst Köhler had just run out of office.

The new president has been so unknown to foreign correspondents, that the Spanish RTVE evening news reported on the selection’s result showing not the victorious Christian Wulff, but the oppositions candidate Joachim Gauck, obviously in the belief that he was the one who won the ballot. Such an embarrassing glitch could never happen with a new Monarch. The heir(s) to the throne are well known.