Tuesday 26 April 2016

Yehudi Menuhin believed in constitutional Monarchy

The Right Honourable The Lord Menuhin OM KBE
Yehudi Menuhin, one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, was an American-born violinist and conductor, who spent most of his performing career in Britain, where he became a monarchist. He received a knighthood in 1985 and in 1993  Sir Yehudi was bestowed a life peerage by the Queen as The Right Honourable The Lord Menuhin OM KBE. He was born 100 years ago on 22nd April 1916 and died on 12th March 1999.

In its 1975 summer edition The Monarchist - Journal of the Monarchist League published the following letter to the editor by Yehudi Menuhin:
Thank you for sending me a copy of The Monarchist. Having read it, though, I would like to take this opportunity to point out a fundamental weakness in your proposition.
Constitutional monarchy is the genius of the British nation whose people understand what your philosophy has failed to realise, viz., that the very heart of the system is ineluctably welded to democracy. It is palpably obvious that the highest position in the land is utterly without power, and by this very token our responsibility for the weaker, courtesy for principle, and pride in the sharing of power between all citizens, from Palace to Pub, upheld.
I believe that constitutional monarchy is the best defence of democracy.
Yours sincerely,
Yehudi Menuhin,
London N6

Thursday 21 April 2016

90th Birthday of the Queen of Australia

Anyone who would have thought that Queen Elizabeth II's birthday would be used to push the dwindling circulation figures of the Fairfax media were wrong. In today's print edition of The Age there was not a single line on the significance of this 21st April that marks the 90th birthday of Australia's longest serving Monarch.

This was today's front page:

The front page of The Age, 21st April 2016

On page 2 a report of drugs in Melbourne, a crumbling wall (very common in Melbourne), page 3 a case of child snatching of an Australian woman in Lebanon and on page 4 and 5 a "special report" on Muslims in Australia, followed by petty articles on domestic items. Nothing of great interest to anyone outside the suburbs. World news on page 14 had the inevitable report on the US primaries in New York and the retired Cuban dictator "Ailing Castro" who is quoted with saying: "I'll be 90 years old soon." He is not the only one, one is tempted to tell The Age.

However, in the Comment section this time no nasty editorial, no vicious letters to the editor, no guest writer telling the unwilling audience, that in his or her opinion Australia should become a republic.

The total ignorance is a replica. On 2nd August 2000, when the Queen Mother celebrated her 100th birthday, every single newspaper in the UK had front coverage on her life. Not so The Independent, which ignored the Monarch's anniversary. That was certainly not the only reason for dropping sales figures, but an indicator how out of touch The Independent was. In March 2016 it was not longer printed. The Independent can be read only online these days.

The Age's development from a broadsheet to a tabloid newspaper to an internet news point may go faster. It will take not 16 years for The Age to stop the printing machines forever.
To be fair to Fairfax, it has to be mentioned that Mark McGuinness wrote Queen; Happy birthday to our time-share monarch, which lacks to usual attacks on the Australian Royal Family and admits:  
Her family, in particular her heirs, have visited regularly and kept the flame alive. The Prince of Wales' affection for the country that (it has been said) made a man of him, is genuine and undimmed and he will make a good king.

Oh yes, and  o n e  photo in the editor's choice photo section, however,it is the same is in Mark McGuinness' article.

An extraordinary poor coverage on Her Majesty's milestone birthday, but typical for avowed republicans.

Queen's Birthday stamps 2016
It is in stark contrast to Australia's Queen.

In 2011, when she returned to Australia, a Palace spokesman said the tour did not have the atmosphere of a final farewell.
It's almost a coming home for the Queen she has a huge fondness for Australia, a lot of Australians have worked in her household
And during her visit David Marr wrote in The Age: "She hasn't been around for years, but we don't feel neglected. If anything, absence has made us a little fonder of this bent figure in a big blue hat."

Former soldier Arthur Pembroke first met the Queen in 1953 when he was decorated for heroism during the Korean War. The former officer, who received the Military Cross from the Queen during a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony, said: "She impressed me a great deal and has right from the time I [first] met her. Her dedication and loyalty and determination to carry out her duty as she sees it, I think it is the sort of thing we have always admire."

The Queen made her first visit to Australia in 1954, when she became the first reigning monarch to set foot in the country and covered so much ground that an estimated 75 per cent of the entire population saw her at least once.

When she finally arrived, stepping ashore at Farm Cove on February 3, 1954, a crowd of one and a half million people had gathered to watch. Waiting media described it as Sydney's biggest party since Victory over Japan day with female editorialists gushing over the young monarch's youth, beauty, poise

The 1954 Royal Visit, particularly given the communications and transport facilities of the day, set a high water mark that has never been matched. It lasted two months from 3rd February to 1st April and, for the duration, dominated the front pages of the nation's newspapers. The Queen's travel schedule involved 33 flights taking 57 hours and covering 16,000km. This paled into insignificance when compared to the airlift required to keep the show on the road. Described as the largest individual civil air operation in history, this involved 257 flights covering more than two million kilometres and carrying over a million pieces of freight. Then there were a further 363 flights by the RAAF.

During her stay in 2006 she met Her Australian Prime Ministers who were still alavive then, even the promoters of republicans did not decline the invitation.
When she last came to Melbourne in 2011 crowds flocked to Federation Square to get a glimps of their Monarch and her husband. Flinder Street Station was blocked.

Monday 18 April 2016

Time to get rid of Malcolm Turnbull

When 54 Liberal MPs and senators abandoned Prime Minister Tony Abbott on 14th September 2015 (44 remained loyal to the elected PM) the winning Malcolm Turnbull had claimed that "the [Abbott] government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need. ... We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott's leadership."

Today he faced the same situation: The polls as published in The Age are against him. "Labor and the Coalition are fifty-fifty in the latest Fairfax-Ipsos poll, as Malcolm Turnbull's once-soaring approval rating continues to decline. Voters have reacted savagely to the reality of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister when measured against their own expectations, sending a clear warning to the Coalition that the election will be close and victory cannot be assumed. A massive 25 per cent drop in his ability to make things happen headlines the decline. This seems to sum up the sense of disappointment in voterland at the slow pace and performance of the Turnbull government and a disturbing tendency to set out ambitious policy goals and then retreat from them.

"The Prime Minister's net approval rating has dropped by 10 points since March and his preferred prime minister rating has also fallen by seven points over that time.

"Mr Turnbull's disapproval rating has jumped up six points as voters marked him down severely on a range of 11 leadership characteristics including a staggering 25 per cent drop in his ability to make things happen, a 20 per cent drop in his perceived strength as a leader, a 17 per cent drop on his authority over his party, and a 13 per cent drop in his perceived competence."

The wake-up of the voters as well as of Malcolm Turnbull should not come as a surprise. It is a déjà-vu of his tenure as Leader of Her Majesty's [Loyal?] Opposition, which was ended by Tony Abbott and it deserved this comment, written on 2nd December 2009:
The past fifteen months have shown, how a darling of the media, a republican messiah even, fell from grace and is now seen - even by his republican mates - as a disaster!
Nothing has changed. Turnbull started as the darling of the media and the public, but everybody soon realised what a dud he really is. Time for the Coalition to dump him and send him to the Cayman Islands, where his money is parked.

Sunday 17 April 2016

A glitzy republican can't handle Queen's Birthday

Ask your local MP a simple question and be surprised about a complicated answer.

The Radical Royalist happens to be a resident of the Melbourne constituency of "Higgins". For many years former federal treasurer Peter Costello was the member of Parliament for "Higgins" and he received a couple of letters and blog entries from the Radical Royalist since the wannabee successor of former PM John Howard was an avowed republican. But Peter Costello is long gone and his seat was inherited by Kelly O'Dwyer.

With the approaching birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, the Radical Royalist asked Ms O'Dwyer, what kind of celebrations for the Australian monarch will take place in the constituency of "Higgins".

The MP Ms Kelly O'Dwyer sent this reply:

"I am a great admirer of Her Majesty, despite being a Republican, and I gave a speech in her Honour which you can read here.

"As you might be aware, the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove have accepted an invitation from Her Majesty to be present in London for official commemorations on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June and, again as you might be aware, Australia Post will mark this significant occasion by releasing commemorative stamps".

It is rather odd to refer to a speech held on 9th February 2012, when being asked about events in 2016. And although it is a great honour that the Australian Governor-General and his wife have been invited to London, that does not solve the problem that obviously Ms O'Dwyer does not intend to do anything in the constituency of "Higgins".

May be she is too busy to prepare a celebration for herself. Today The Sunday Age published a report on the Fundraiser for Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer to be sponsored by NAB amid banking firestorm. 

The authors James Massola and Heath Aston gave a revealing insight into the real interests of the local MP for "Higgins":
"A major bank will help foot the bill for a glitzy pre-election political fundraiser to be fronted by Treasurer Scott Morrison and his deputy Kelly O'Dwyer at the same time as they are resisting calls for a royal commission into the scandal-plagued banking sector.

"The $1200 to $2500-a-table breakfast, scheduled for 10 days after Mr Morrison delivers his first budget, will be held under the banner of co-sponsor National Australia Bank.

"NAB is one of two corporate sponsors for the May 13 event organised by the Higgins 200 Club, a fundraising body that supports Ms O'Dwyer, the federal member for Higgins.

"Tickets for the fundraiser start at $150 per head and a table of 10 at the event starts at $1200 for Higgins 200 Club members and $1350 for non-members, while "premium corporate tables" at the event cost $2500.

"Based on the capacity of the Palladium Room, which has hosted the Logie Awards, the event could raise $100,000 to $150,0000 before venue hire and catering is subtracted."
In her newsletter for the local residents Kelly O'Dwyer MP has no space left for the Queen of Australia.

The Age reported on 14th June 2016 that Kelly O'Dwyer might lose her seat to the Greens: Mirabella-style loss looms in Higgins. Without a seat she would be free to pursue her republicanism.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Anzac Day 2016 London

Ticket applications for the Cenotaph wreath laying ceremony, and the Westminster Abbey service will close at 5:00pm on Tuesday, 12th April (UK time).

Applications for tickets opened on 25th February. You will need to provide details of ID (passport or driver’s license) for all applicants, so please ensure you have this information handy when you apply. To apply for tickets, please click on this link.
Monday, 25th April 2016

5.00am: Dawn Service, Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner

The main service will take place in front of the Royal Artillery Memorial on Hyde Park Corner. The service lasts approximately 45 minutes and is a non-ticketed event open to the public.

In 2016, the only entry point for the public will be at the Green Park/south-east corner. Access to the site will be from 3.30am onwards. There will be a search regime in place, so please do not bring large bags with you. We recommend you arrive early in order to secure the best viewpoint.

9.30am: Gallipoli Association Service, St Paul's Cathedral

A short service and wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Gallipoli Memorial in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral at 9.15 am for 9.30am on Monday 25 April. Wreaths will be laid by a representative of Her Britannic Majesty's Government, by senior representatives of the Royal Navy and the Army, and of the High Commissions of Australia and New Zealand, and other high-ranking officials from France and Turkey. Tickets are not required for this event.

Please note this service is not organised by the High Commission, but by the Gallipoli Association – enquires can be made to: events@gallipoli-association.org

11.00am: Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade, The Cenotaph, Whitehall

Following a march onto Whitehall, a requiem is read, and at 11.00am the High Commissioners for New Zealand and Australia lay the first wreaths. They are followed by representatives of other countries, as well as representatives from various service and ex-service organisations. Arrival by 10.30am is recommended. This service will conclude at approx 11.20am, allowing time for the short walk to Westminster Abbey for the Commemorative Service.

If you are Service, ex-Service Personnel, or a relative interested in marching in the Parade, please click on this link (external link) to apply for tickets.

If you wish to observe the service, you will be able to watch from the east (Richmond House) side of Whitehall without a ticket.

12.00 noon: Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving, Westminster Abbey

On completion of the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Cenotaph, there is a Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark Anzac Day at Westminster Abbey at 12.00 noon. Guests need to be seated at the Abbey by 11.45 am. The service is approximately one hour.

Complimentary tickets are required to attend this service. They may be requested from the High Commissions of New Zealand or Australia and are allocated on a ‘first in, first served basis’.

ANZAC100 Commemorative Coin.

Last year Her Majesty's representative in New Zealand, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, presented the Commemorative Coin at an official launch at Government House in Wellington.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Australia's Queen's Birthday stamps 2016

The Queen’s Birthday 2016 stamp issue were released today, 5th April 2016. They stamps celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 21st April.

The Queen’s public 90th birthday celebrations will take place during May and June 2016. In Australia (except Western Australia) this year Queen's Birthday public holiday will be celebrated on 13th June. The festivities will reflect Her Majesty’s interests, which include a great love of horses and a significant involvement with the armed forces. Events include four evenings of music, song and dance, coinciding with the annual Windsor Horse show, and many of the performers will represent Commonwealth countries.

Both the stamps and the postmark for the The Queen’s Birthday 2016 stamp issue have been designed with birthday celebrations in mind. The postmark alludes to the birthday festivities, through the inclusion of horses as well as graphic elements that symbolise to the pomp and ceremony of the impending birthday celebrations.

In the domestic base rate stamp ($1), Her Majesty is pictured attending a garden party for the Not Forgotten Association (NFA), which is held annually to honour the contribution of the armed forces. 2016 marks 95 years since the first official NFA party was hosted by the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary. This theme ties into the Queen’s association with the armed forces. It is said that on the day of the NFA party, the Queen greeted every guest, so the stamp also symbolises the Queen’s renowned work ethic. Most importantly, the Queen is pictured looking happy and relaxed.

At the NFA garden party, Her Majesty wore the Australian Golden Wattle diamond brooch, which was presented as a gift from the people and government of Australia during the Queen’s inaugural tour of Australia in 1954 – the first ever tour by a reigning British monarch. The brooch is said to be one of the Queen’s personal favourites.

The international stamp features a close‐up photograph of the brooch, which comprises 150 white and yellow diamonds arranged to resemble a spray of Golden Wattle, Australia’s national floral emblem, together with mimosa leaves and tea‐tree blossoms. The brooch was designed by jeweller Paul Schneller and commissioned by William Drummond & Co. The brooch was on public display during 2015, as part of an exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. The photograph has been used with specific permission from both Her Majesty and the Royal Collection Trust.

Introduction of the annual Queen’s Birthday stamp
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the most featured person on Australian stamps. The Queen was depicted on lower denomination definitive stamps issued between 1953 and 1971 and on all base rate definitive stamps until 1973. This was a significant shift, as the reigning monarch had been featured on these stamps for 60 years, save for the controversial and short‐lived replacement of monarch stamps with Kangaroo and Map definitive stamps issued in 1913. However, unlike in 1913, the change had more to do with developments in printing capabilities than it did with making any kind of political statement.

That said, while commemorative stamps have long been issued to mark royal occasions, such as the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II 1953 and the Royal Visit in 1954, following the abolition of queen’s head definitive stamps, only two royal‐themed commemorative stamps were produced between 1973 and 1979.

In an attempt to satisfy those members of the public who wished to see more royalty on stamps, Australia Post became the only postal authority in the Commonwealth to release an annual Queen’s Birthday stamp. The Australia Post Queen’s Birthday stamp has been produced every year since 1980, although in 2002, 2003 and 2004, stamps were issued to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Queen’s accession, coronation and first Australian royal tour respectively, and in 2012 to commemorate the Queen’s diamond jubilee year.

Gaining royal approval
The process of gaining approval from Her Majesty is a long one, which means that this must be factored in to the production process. Once designs are approved internally, they are sent to the Palace, via the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Queen’s Birthday stamps can only go to print once official written permission has been received from the Palace, stating that Her Majesty has approved the design.

The Queen’s Birthday 2016 stamp issue is available from 5th April 2016 online, at participating Post Offices and via mail order on 1800 331 794 while stocks last.