It’s been a difficult week for Jeremy Corbyn. Clearly the press make up stories about him, but more than that, he seems to have been caught on the hop that perfectly reasonable views which could be held by anybody, are somehow unacceptable for the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr Corbyn is an atheist (for the moment at least – there’s always hope for every atheist) but as a Christian who is a republican, I stay silent for the Royal Anthem, just like he did. I think he was very respectful – it’s not as if he mooned or anything.
Millions of British people are republicans – we don’t know exactly how many, because we’ve never been offered a vote on it. Opinion polls may claim that a large number of Britons are monarchists, but we know how disastrously wrong the polls have been this year.
Jeremy Corbyn’s is clearly a mainstream view, and I amongst many others look forward to the return of a Republic like we used to be. After all, we had our first republic a century before the Americans and the French.
So why the fuss? Why would Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell say of Jeremy Corbyn “If he wants to be PM he must respect our traditions” and “It is his duty, and the duty of any leader of any party that seeks to be prime minister, to accept that we are the nation that we are” (Personally I would prefer a leader who wanted to change things for the better)
Gramsci’s concept of cultural hegemony asserts that dominant groups can conceal their power by projecting their particular way of perceiving and defining social reality so successfully that its view is accepted as ‘common sense’. I think this is exactly what Andrew Rosindell is attempting to force upon us here with his phraseology of “our traditions” and the “nation that we are” rather than “what I individually prefer” and the “nation I would personally like us to be”.
The whole episode at the Battle of Britain service reminds us of what we were fighting for in 1940 – partly for national survival, but also for freedom from tin-pot little Gauleiters telling us what we are allowed to say, sing or think.
Some have said that it as Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn is no longer an individual and has to represent the wider public. But I’m glad that at long last there’s somebody representing me, when previous leaders haven’t.
If you must know my reasons for wanting a more democratic state, they come from my view as a Christian that the besetting sin of the British is class. In Britain the content of your character can be less important than which class you belong to. The Queen in her very person defines the concept that who your father was remains the most significant thing in your life.
This underlying concept is revealed when people ask me, if there wasn’t a monarchy, who on earth would be suitable as President?
My reply is “How about you – you’d be great”
To which the answer is invariably “Oh no, I wouldn’t be good enough do it.”
Could that reticence possibly come from being brought up in a society where some are born to rule, and others are born to be ruled?
I’ve just given you my reasons for favouring a democratically elected head of state, but really I shouldn’t need to.
I like pies and black pudding and kippers, all of which are perfectly reasonable personal preferences and very British, as is being a republican.
I don’t have to explain why I like pies, so why should I (and Jeremy Corbyn) have to explain why we would like an elected head of state?
Of course, even after reading this, others may have a different opinion on having a hereditary ruler. Seeing as we disagree, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind having a vote on it. Unless of course they know it’s indefensible and are afraid they would lose once the arguments are aired…….
Let the last word go to The Proclaimers.