Skip to main content

Storm in a tea cup?

Regular readers will know that I did not support Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership elections. I said he appealed to my heart but not my head. Since then he has won a handsome victory.  The media say his start has been chaotic.  It is difficult to see how it could have been different.

Of course he could have sung the national anthem and not given ammunition to the right wing press.  My advice would have been to have sung it, but it raises an important issue. Do we really judge that those who would wish not to sing the anthem are being unpatriotic? I cannot see the logic of that.

I am not strongly republican, but nor am I a monarchist. I live with the constitutional monarchy but with little enthusiasm for it.  Of course it works - or at least it seems to work.  It works so long as we don't question it too much.  When we do that we open a can of worms. So best keep a lid on it. The truth is that it is part of a system that maintains the privilege of a few. Now I don't expect you all to agree with that even though I said it was the truth.  Some don't mind that it maintains such privilege.

It works so long as we have leading politicians whose opinions cannot contradict it. Jeremy Corbyn is a republican - or at least that is what we are told.  He like me probably doesn't regard it as the most burning issue at this time.  Nevertheless it is an issue.  It is an issue most leading politicians don't like to address.  It isn't just a question of whether we have the monarchy.  It is a question of how we reconcile that with our democracy.

A democracy cannot be founded on the idea that we must all behave as monarchists.  It cannot be founded on the idea that all leading politicians should sing an anthem the words of which pledge allegiance to the monarch.  This would rule out any republican being a leader of a main political party. That would not be democratic.

But it gets worse.  The media have questioned whether Jeremy Corbyn will kneel to the Queen when he is made a member of the Privy Council.  It is widely accepted that the leader of the opposition should be a member of the Privy Council, although it is possible for Jeremy Corbyn to turn down an invitation to join.

It is said that the benefit of being a member of the Privy Council is that it enables the leader of the opposition to be consulted on matters of security.  It is a compelling reason.  But even more compelling would be the argument that the leader of the opposition should be so consulted regardless of whether  he or she is a Privy Councillor.  He should be so consulted because he IS leader of the opposition.

Jeremy Corbyn has now indicated that he will be singing the national anthem in future. That at least should put the matter to bed.  It is all a bit of a storm in a tea cup. But we should not ignore the fundamental questions it raises about our democracy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Palm Oil production killing the planet

Bad trade and bad products are killing our planet. We have said this before on The Thin End. There is no better example than that of palm oil. It is used ubiquitously in so many products, and its production is a major factor destroying rainforests and threatening precious species.

Demand for palm oil is 'skyrocketing worldwide'. It is used in packaging and in so much of our snack foods, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, instant noodles, cereals, and doughnuts, and the list goes on.
Bad for the planet So, why is this so bad for the planet?

The oil is extracted from the fruit of the oil palms native to Africa. It is now grown primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia, but is also expanding across Central and West Africa and Latin America.

Palm oil production is now one of the world's leading causes of rainforest destruction, and this is impacting adversely some of the world's most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems. Irreplaceable wildlife species like t…

Time to ban organophosphate pesticides?

How would you react if your neighbour told you he was going to spray his garden with a neurotoxin used in WW2? "Oh don't worry!" he assures you, "it's only a low dose!"
"A neurotoxin?" you ask incredulously "Are you crazy?"
"It's very effective!" he asserts.
"How does it work?" you ask.
"It stops the pests' brains working" he asserts with a smile.  "Everyone uses it."
"But..."

Campaigners in the USA hope that with Scott Pruitt’s resignation, and with a new administrator Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this presents another chance to apply pressure and achieve a national ban in the United States on the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos once and for all.



Organophosphate insecticides, such as diazinon, chlorpyrifos, disulfoton, azinphos-methyl, and fonofos, have been used widely in agriculture and in household applications as pesticides si…

Dame Emma Thompson leads charge against rainforest destruction

Dame Emma Thompson, backed by a host of other famous names, has taken aim at big brands including Unilever, Nestle and Mondelez today, as Greenpeace releases a powerful new 90-second animation that highlights how orangutans are being pushed to the brink of extinction because of deforestation for palm oil.



Launched globally today, just ahead of International Orangutan Day (on August 19), the film, voiced by Emma Thompson, will also be shown across UK cinemas with thousands of screenings throughout August and September. It has been made by creative agency Mother (directed by award-winning Salon Alpin) and produced by Oscar-winning Passion Animation Studios.

Celebrities taking to social media to share it include Stephen Fry, Bryan Adams, Jodie Kidd, Alesha Dixon, Andy Serkis, Geri Horner (née Halliwell), Gregg Wallace and Sharon Osbourne.

The film tells the story of baby Rang-tan as she causes mischief in a little girl’s bedroom. Just as the girl is about to banish her, she asks Rang-tan…