Monday, 7 February 2011

"Drowning in Royalism"

In August 2008 Fairfax media, owner of The Age, announced the sacking of 550 people – 390 in Australia, 160 in New Zealand, among them 90 journalists. The loss of staff has forced the editors to fill their columns with bought opinion pieces or with articles published overseas. The latest example is Ben Chu’s glossy view on “the hereditary principle”, which was first published on 19th January 2011 in The Independent, a British daily with an unashamedly pro-republican tendency. The Sunday Age’s supplement “Sunday Life” reprinted Ben Chu’s article on 6th February 2011 (nothing better to publish on Her Majesty's 59th Accession Day?) with minor alterations under the title “The born supremacy”:
We are drowning in royalism. First came the gush of national enthusiasm at the announcement of the impending nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Then we were drenched in critical acclaim and publicity for The King's Speech. By the time the royal wedding comes around in April, our heads will be well and truly under monarchist water.
On the first look, it has its charm, to write an article on royalism, but I am afraid Ben Chu’s problem was, he could not find an explanation for “royalism” in Wikipedia. Because had he found a proper explanation of royalism he would never have ended with “celebrity dynasties”. The French term “royalisme” is quite straight forward:
“Royalism” is a political idea that praises or supports the kingdom, which means a political regime in which the head of the nation bears the title of king or queen, very often hereditary. It is often mixed up with “monarchism”, because there are monarchies that are not royal (i.e. imperial, princely, grand ducal etc. See also the opposite of democracy, and there exist also constitutional monarchies, especially in Europe (UK and Spain etc.). [“Royalism”] opposes republicanism.

Le royalisme est une idée politique qui prône ou soutient la royauté, c’est-à-dire un régime politique dans lequel le chef d'une nation porte le titre de roi ou de reine, le plus souvent héréditaire. Il est souvent confondu avec le monarchisme, alors qu'il existe des monarchies non royales (impériales, princières, grand-ducales...), voire entendu comme le contraire de la démocratie, alors qu'il existe des monarchies constitutionnelles, notamment en Europe (Espagne, Royaume-Uni...). Elle s'oppose au républicanisme.

From this explanation it is quite obvious that Ben Chu could not have been drowning in royalism. He may have suffered from an overdose of royalist memorabilia, newspaper articles and TV coverage, but that is in relation to our Royal Family, which Royalists may channel into royalism.

On the other hand, why is a Fairfax publication unable to find an Australian author to contemplate royalism, hereditary rules and – above all – family dynasties? Ben Chu’s opinion piece was published three weeks ago in The Independent, which may explain, why he did not give a thought on the Murdoch dynasty, whose grip on the Australian media is tighter than ever. Australia is flooded with Murdochism or Packerism and there is no rescue in sight.

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