Posts Tagged ‘John Major’

Looking forward to a little "Me" time, no doubt. Queen Beatrix steps down.

Looking forward to a little “Me” time, no doubt. Queen Beatrix steps down.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands stepping down in April at age 75 so her 45-year-old son can become king is sparking some speculation in Britain about whether Elizabeth might follow suit so her eldest son, Prince Charles, can start his reign.

One European queen has announced her retirement. So any chance Europe’s most famous queen – Elizabeth II of Britain – might join her?

No, it’s not likely, experts say.

Elizabeth is 86. Charles, 64, has been heir to the throne since he was three.

The British press tweaked these concerns Tuesday, with the Daily Mirror featuring a photo of Beatrix with the headline: “Queen Gives Up Her Throne to Son.” Then, in smaller type, “Easy, Charles…It’s Queen Beatrix of Netherlands.”

Others said, “Sorry Charles…it’s in Holland, not here!”

But commentators quickly noted that Elizabeth – who seems to be in excellent health – has said in the past that she regards being queen as a “job for life.”

At her Diamond Jubilee last summer marking 60 years on the throne, former Prime Minister John Major said the idea that the queen would abdicate was “absolutely absurd.” He said she would serve her entire life unless a health crisis made it impossible.

And watching the Diamond Jubilee celebrations from over here in Australia, she certainly looked hale and hearty, not to say fearsomely determined.

Author Robert Lacey, who has written several books about the British monarchy, said Beatrix’s decision would likely firm up Elizabeth’s resolve not to abdicate.

“It would reinforce her feeling that the Dutch don’t know what monarchy is about, and that she should go on forever,” he said. “The crown is a job for life in the British system.”

He said the present queen’s mother, who of course lived to be 101, had made a “snarky” comment when Beatrix’s own mother stepped down as monarch decades ago.

Lacey said the idea of abdicating is particularly unpleasant for Elizabeth because her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 so he could marry Wallis Simpson, a divorced American woman.

The resulting scandal, remembered as a low point for the monarchy, brought her father, King George VI, to the throne, and it is widely believed that the strain of his holding that position – having to conquer a dreadful stammer, and lead his country through World War II – led to his early demise.

No one in British history has been heir apparent as long as the now greying Charles, who is set to become a grandfather when his daughter-in-law, the former Kate Middleton, gives birth this (northern) summer.

Wellthisiswhatithink considers that there is one factor in the coverage of this oft-ventilated matter that may have been ignored.

Prince Philip: could his health hold the key to the Queen's ultimate decision?

Prince Philip: could his health hold the key to the Queen’s ultimate decision?

The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, is clearly suffering from the natural ailments of being in his 90s, including being hospitalised twice in the last year. Whether the Queen would wish to continue on the throne if he died is problematical.

The relationship between the two is shrouded in royal mystery, but those who know say that she relies very much on his unstinting support for her, and his instinctive defensiveness of her position and rank.

Queen Victoria, of course, whose record on the throne the Queen is well aware of as she closes in on it, famously went on after the death of her beloved Albert.

But that was when she was still a relatively young woman.

Whether or not Elizabeth would want to continue on the throne if something happened to Philip is another matter.

Still, she is steely and has a strong sense of duty, bequeathed from her parents. Anything is possible.

At least, in the meantime, Charles appears to be shedding some of the stigma of the Diana years, and recovering some measure of the popularity of his youth.

Even Camilla seems to have become grudgingly popular. And by the way, how similar she looks to Princess Beatrix? Curious, huh?

(Yahoo, Daily Mail and others)

First ever cover of the New Yorker in 1925. Now published 47 times a year, it has a fine literary tradition.

There is a curious tradition in America where journals and newspapers of all kinds “endorse” (or support) one or other of the leading candidates for President.

For example, there was an amused titter the other day, for example, when a leading Utah newspaper (Utah being the “Mormon” state) came out against Romney calling him untrustworthy. Ooops.

This endorsing of candidates is a phenomenon seen around the world, but it is engaged in somewhat desultorily in other democracies, and rarely to any great effect.

Probably the only time of any great note recently in the non-US English-speaking world was when the Sun newspaper under Rupert Murdoch switched from the Tories under John Major and backed Labour’s Tony Blair. But in general, it rarely means anything much except in the USA.

The New Yorker is an august production, with a fine tradition of both political cartooning and political comment, as well as a diverse range of articles on other topics. It is not, however, it must be said, hugely influential any more, although it is highly respected. Although its reviews and events listings often focus on the cultural life of New York City, The New Yorker has a wide audience outside of New York. It is well known for its illustrated and often topical covers, its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric Americana, its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews, its rigorous fact checking and copy editing, its journalism, and its single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each issue.

It is a shame, really, that it is less influential than in the past, because it has just delivered one of the finest pieces of political writing I have come across in a very, very long time. It is well-researched, sparsely written, convincing and relevant. And sure, it endorses Obama, and I have made no secret of my passion for having the President re-elected.

But that is not why I suggest you read it.

In a world bedevilled by sound bites and the dumbing down of politics it stands out as principled, erudite, and yet easy to understand by all and sundry.

What an example it sets for us all. Honestly, if anyone can find a comparable piece of writing endorsing Romney I promise I will republish it. I strongly urge you to read this whatever your political persuasion.

The final paragraph gives you an insight into its quality.

The re-election of Barack Obama is a matter of great urgency. Not only are we in broad agreement with his policy directions; we also see in him what is absent in Mitt Romney—a first-rate political temperament and a deep sense of fairness and integrity. A two-term Obama Administration will leave an enduringly positive imprint on political life. It will bolster the ideal of good governance and a social vision that tempers individualism with a concern for community. Every Presidential election involves a contest over the idea of America. Obama’s America—one that progresses, however falteringly, toward social justice, tolerance, and equality—represents the future that this country deserves.

Yup. What he said.