Ooh, this one’s a hum-dinger!
Only last week [Vera Baird, Solicitor General] was opining that “what we have to do with the Royal Family is to integrate them as far as possible into the human race”. Her intention was to achieve this by repealing the primogeniture sections of the 1701 Act of Settlement, which she called “unfair” and “a load of rubbish”.
She wanted to include the Royal Family in the provisions of her new Single Equality Bill, which would coalesce all existing legislation regarding discrimination by sex, age, race, sexual orientation, disability and religion.
While our front-page poll indicates that Daily Telegraph readers agree with Mrs Baird, Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, doesn’t and has slapped her down. She has ruled that there will be no reform to the monarchy in the equality legislation.
Quite right too. The very concept of a monarchy is so ancient, so unlike any other institution in public life, and so inherently, wonderfully illogical that as soon as one attempts to apply today’s standards to it – especially modern human-rights legislation – one undermines its strongest reason for existence.
It is precisely because it is so magnificently atavistic, archaic and irrational – so unlike anything else in society – that it exercises such power over the human imagination, connecting us directly to our Saxon past. …
One might as well try to apply heath and safety legislation to the Coronation, where a monarch has to wear the 39oz Imperial State Crown – with four rubies, 11 emeralds, 16 sapphires, 277 pearls and 2,783 diamonds – for hours on end. Or the Working Time Directive to the Queen, who is 82 and yet still carried out 440 official engagements on our behalf last year.
Will Mrs Baird be sitting in Westminster Abbey with her decibel meter in order to check that the singing of Zadok the Priest does not exceed Westminster City Council guidelines at the Coronation? And how does the assertion that the monarch – who is clearly just another public servant in her eyes – rules “by the grace of Almighty God” square with the Trade Descriptions Act?
The monarchy isn’t some local council job you can apply for through the appointments section of your newspaper; it is different and ought to be treated as such.
Of course there’s no rhyme or reason why Prince William’s younger son should succeed to the throne before his older daughter, but neither is there any rational explanation to the solemn anointment by oil, a ceremony that can be traced back to biblical times.
To attempt to apply our generational chauvinism to customs and traditions that go back centuries, on the grounds of what we consider “fair”, is a mark of our pretensions to omniscience.
Anyhow, why should the elder daughter succeed before the younger son: isn’t that age discrimination? Shouldn’t we all decide which of them will be God’s anointed by a secret ballot, preferably organised by the Electoral Reform Society? And why constrict the Crown only to the direct descendants of King George II, as at present; isn’t that discriminatory to the 99.9 per cent of us who aren’t?
I would read the whole thing. But that’s just me. If you don’t, I’ll understand. I’ll just have to come back and quote the whole thing.