Since this is the first foray into what might become a new mini-series of articles, allow me to establish a few guidelines as to what exactly I am going to be talking about. In short, this article (or “these articles” depending on how things go) will be on realistic policy proposals that I would like to see for the current monarchy in question (in this case Great Britain) for the not-to-distant future. By “realistic” I do not mean things that are likely to happen; that would be too great a leap for someone like me. My opinions are certainly not currently popular or anywhere close to being mainstream to suppose that. What I mean by “realistic” is that these are things which will be at least within the realm of possibility; things which are not so far-fetched as to be all but impossible. Were that not the case I would simply be relating a vision of my ideal future which would be extremely, gloriously reactionary but which is not grounded in reality and, while it might be fun, would be hard to argue as being in any way helpful. As I have said before, I am both a “theoretic monarchist” and an “active monarchist” in that, while interested in theory and ideals I am also about defending the monarchies that still exist in the world and restoring those that have fallen. That means that you have to work with the tools you have available to you, you have to match your tactics to the situation and recognize that, as Bismarck said, politics is the art of the possible.
So, I will be trying to temper my desires, at least as much as I can, by practical reality even though there will doubtlessly be those who will ignore everything I’ve just said and react as though everything I write here is my ideal. It is not, nor is most of it going to be all that likely but I am trying to at least meet the modern world I generally despise half way. These are things which probably will not happen but which could happen that I would like to see, perhaps unlikely but not totally impossible. And, as usual when it comes to policy matters, these opinions could change, depending on the circumstances or some new understanding on my part. Having gotten all of that out of the way, let us proceed with a proposed vision for the future of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
When it comes to internal politics, there seems to be no chance of really significant changes in policy when even UKIP is promising to maintain the NHS. When it comes to Parliament, similarly, while my greatest wish would be to see the restoration of the hereditary house of lords (with some reforms to make it more size-appropriate) that also seems to be beyond the pale given the current values of the public. Talk of lords reform, therefore, moves me very little because what exists today is no House of Lords at all and I cannot be very moved about changes to it or replacing it. The real thing (or what was left of it) was destroyed by Tony Blair, what exists now is a mockery and I have no time for it. What does seem increasingly likely though is the continuing trend of devolution and it seems, like it or not, probably that the future United Kingdom will consist of essentially autonomous “states” of Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and perhaps England. My best hope for this would be that such an autonomy would prove to the peoples of Britain which policies work and which do not as they would be forced to accept the consequences of their own decisions and, again being optimistic, this would ultimately cause the country as a whole to adopt wiser policies and be the better off for that. Aside from that, internally, much of the problems in Britain come down to matters of culture and much of that concerns the population and demographic changes. For the most part, those cannot be undone. Laws and policies can be changed but when a population is changed it is changed forever. Efforts can be made to minimize the impact but to a large extent there is simply no way to reverse things at this point for a moral people. It was possible in the days of Enoch Powell (whose statistical predictions have been proven to have been far too conservative even though he was accused in his day of being an alarmist), it is not possible anymore. My primary focus here though is to be on foreign policy.
In 2012 British Tory MEP Daniel Hannan spoke at the Manning Conference in Canada and in the Q&A period following his remarks was asked about an exchange of letters in the National Post concerning the Anglosphere. Mr. Hannan, in his remarks, had spoken a great deal about the Anglosphere and how much the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand had in common, at least in the conservative principles all have traditionally held and which are defended by the political right in these countries. A questioner, referencing the exchange in the National Post, asked Hannan’s opinion on the idea of the Anglosphere countries (presumably those named above) dropping out of the EU (for Britain), NATO and even the UN to form their own political, economic and military alliance. Hannan’s response was short and simple, “I’m in favor”. It is pleasing enough to me that his answer was so brief because, inevitably, when Hannan goes on at length he ends up saying things that offend my monarchist sensibilities so we will leave it at that as well.
I would be most ardently in favor of Britain getting out of the EU in particular and joining in a closer alliance with the Commonwealth Realms and, perhaps, in so doing become such an economic and trading powerhouse as to put the EU to shame. It is unfortunate that the current leadership of the Tory party does not share Hannan’s firm opposition to EU membership. However, another party that certainly does is the UK Independence Party and its leader, Nigel Farage, has spoken frequently of his vision for a United Kingdom that, once free of the constraints of the EU, renews closer ties with the countries of the Commonwealth, particularly those parts of the former British Empire which remain the most similar in their values, economies, language and principles. Indeed, Farage has spoken of Britain joining the EU almost as a betrayal, of turning their backs on the Commonwealth Realms with whom Britain has traditionally been most attached. The case for a new sort of Commonwealth alliance seems to be an increasingly easy one to make with support for the EU at record low levels in Britain and with the UN being seen increasingly as either a useless nuisance or an outright farce.
Since NATO has been mentioned and since the country has already been mentioned once, some comment should probably be made about the United States. Should this renegade republic be allowed into such a club? In economic terms it certainly has a market larger than any other potential member but I think a revived, new form of the Commonwealth would be a good idea with or without the United States involved. In matters of security, however, having America would be all but a necessity. Britain gave up an empire in order to fund a socialist welfare state and it has increasingly had to give up having a military in order to continue feeding this high tax - high benefits regime. As the commentator Douglas Murray recently said, whether one is pro-American or anti-American, the fact is that whenever people in Britain (or elsewhere) say that ‘something should be done’ what they really mean is that America should do something because only America has the military muscle to do almost anything these days. I would hope that, with or without America being included in the club, friendly relations would still be maintained. It is better to have the most militarily powerful country in the world as a friend rather than an enemy but the fact is that for the rest of the English-speaking world to say, “we don’t need American protection” they would have to start spending money on their militaries rather than on paying people not to work and paying for everyone’s old age pension and healthcare. That is a simple choice and as much as Kipling’s decedents have become fond of ‘hating those who guard’ them, I cannot in the foreseeable future see the other Anglosphere countries reverting back to individuals being responsible for their own retirement savings, rainy day funds and medical bills so as to restore their militaries to the point where they are at least capable of independent action.
That decision would have to be made but apart from that, whether America is in or out, this would still be a policy worth pursuing. Certainly for monarchists it would be extremely helpful for the Commonwealth Realms to work as closely together as possible, especially since so many republicans in the Commonwealth enjoy using anti-British bigotry to promote their cause. Finally, I would also say that it would be extremely helpful, and I know of no reason why it absolutely cannot happen, to have members of the Royal Family serve as Governors-General in the Commonwealth Realms. It would be an ideal way of educating the public about what the vice-regal office is really all about, it would further cement the idea of the Royal Family as being not just exclusively British while at the same time drawing the realms closer to Britain. I would also go further, though it is largely too late at this point, and say that if members of the Royal Family were to marry individuals from the Commonwealth Realms (if they are not going to marry other royals anyway) that would almost certainly, I think, spell the death of republicanism in the Commonwealth Realm in question.
In short, I would love to see the United Kingdom leave the European Union, shaking the dust from its boots as it goes, forming a new economic and political alliance, a revived sort of Commonwealth, with the rest of the English-speaking world. If it did so, I am confident it would be a great success and would form an extremely powerful bloc in the world that could do very well without the EU, NATO or the UN. They all have much more in common than with any other country or group of countries in the world. It would heighten the significance of the monarchy and if the members of the Royal Family were dispatched to serve as Governors-General it would make valuable use of the monarchy as a source of strength and unity for the English-speaking peoples around the world. However, for this to happen, there will have to be some big decisions made at home, perhaps the most fundamental being whether the British believe in themselves and have enough pride in themselves to reunite with their offspring, be more assertive and say, “We are not going it alone, we are family and families stick together”.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
America would have then expanded just as it did, with Anglo-American forces seizing the Louisiana Territory during the war with France. During the time when Spain and France were allied it is also likely that Anglo-American forces would have seized Florida and possibly even more but that becomes increasingly less likely. With North America supporting the British war effort rather than hindering it, the allied victory over France might have been easier or come a bit sooner and the British Empire might have expanded even more but perhaps in different areas. Would India have been such a priority for Britain, for example, if all of North America was part of the empire, including the cotton states of the deep south, the coal fields of Pennsylvania and West Virginia? Suppose that British North America expanded southward in a way similar to the United States and, just like the United States, was drawn into a war with Mexico over border disputes. In actual history, Britain tried to prevent the war because it would disrupt their lucrative trade with Mexico, however, events on the ground could have provoked such a conflict in any event and there probably would have been less trade with Mexico if what became the United States had remained in the British Empire with the increased inter-imperial commerce that would provide.
In Africa, for example, the foothold in South Africa would have happened in any event as it was a result of the Napoleonic Wars. However, it might have stopped there with Britain content to let the Boers move into Botswana and perhaps the Portuguese might have been able to realize their dream of linking their east and west coast possessions, an aspiration thwarted by Britain in actual history which put some strain on the oldest alliance in Europe. The American Civil War would, of course, have been averted both because energy would be expended toward grander schemes and because the slave areas would have had much more opposition as well as a government that was not averse to giving compensation for slave owners. The war with Spain would likely have been avoided. A young Winston Churchill observed the rebellion in Cuba and came away convinced that the island would be much the worse off under their rule than that of Spain and hoped that the United States would not compel Spain to give up the “Pearl of the Antilles”. Many did not share his view and he later approved of the U.S. conquest of the island (being a lifelong admirer of America) but in the event, it is possible Britain would have stayed out of the conflict so long as Germany or some other colonial rival did not intervene.
Had such a thing occurred, the Russian Empire might not have collapsed, if the war had ended before the situation in Russia became too severe and thus the subsequent Cold War and all the proxy conflicts that entailed would never have happened. Similarly, a swift end to the war might have meant that the German and Austrian empires would have come to terms before being overthrown and so there might have been no World War II at all and we would all be living in a world with a balance of powers rather than one or two superpowers in constant standoff. And yet, if the Social Democrats in Germany managed to use the defeat to their advantage and bring down the monarchy, giving room for the rise to power of Hitler and so on, World War II might have happened anyway. In that event, it would have certainly been a much shorter and more localized war. American strength would have been present at the outset rather than only from 1942 onwards and it would have been focused on Europe alone. This would mean that the war might have ended in a German defeat even before the invasion of the Soviet Union and thus there would have been no Eastern Bloc and Soviet domination of half of Europe. It would also mean a completely different picture of Asia.
Similarly, without the influence of the American Freemasons, Mexico might have remained a monarchy under the Iturbide family though the rest of Latin America (outside Brazil) is more doubtful given that Spain was reluctant to recognize the independence of rebel colonies whereas Britain supported this. Much of Africa would also be a very different picture. Without the United States and Soviet Union competing during the race for de-colonization, the African colonies might have gained independence at a more moderate pace and in cooperation with native elites as Britain tended to favor doing or more newly independent countries might have chosen to maintain ties with the Crown as Commonwealth Realms. And, even in the event that this did not happen, the British Empire such as it was would have remained a dominant force considering that the primary source of strength would be North America and Australia where the people had greater bonds of history, culture and nationality with Britain as opposed to India which did not. In actual history, the loss of India was a blow from which the British Empire never recovered as India was, as one German observer put it, “the strength and greatness of England”. If, however, North America had remained and grown up united with the British Crown, the strength and greatness of the empire would have been in a land more loyal and less likely to cut ties but remain in union with the Crown as Canada, Australia and New Zealand have done.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
|The Battle of Ridgeway|
Monday, May 12, 2014
From around 1800 the British began to take an interest in the region, particularly after the abolition of the slave trade and the stationing of a Royal Navy squadron in the area to interdict slave trafficking. In 1886 the Royal Niger Company was established, spreading its influence in the region and when the local kingdoms fought back there were a number of small colonial wars in which British troops were successful in suppressing opposition and establishing a northern and southern pair of protectorates over the region. With the establishment of a German colony in Cameroon there were increased concerns about security and the two halves were united in 1914 as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. The coastal areas of the south, where the British presence was most concentrated, progressed rapidly, spreading education and higher standards of living while the more isolated north lagged behind. In fact, slavery was not wiped out in the north until 1936 but as the British presence expanded it was wiped out as it was something that would not be tolerated. Especially around the time of World War II, Nigeria grew increasingly prosperous and was considered one of the best success stories for the British Empire. Soon, Nigeria was on the fast-track to independence and in 1954 the Federation of Nigeria gained total autonomy as a Commonwealth Realm and adopted its current flag.
It might have been better if things had stopped right there but, in the wake of World War II, nationalist and anti-colonial sentiment was on the rise all across Africa and soon the demands for total independence and a complete break with Britain were growing. After a change in government, Britain also gave up on any idea of trying to retain colonies or former colonies to create the “Third British Empire” in Africa that Anthony Eden had envisioned. In 1960 Nigeria declared complete independence and became a republic. Unfortunately, things went ‘downhill’ from there. Election results were never widely accepted, accusations of corruption became commonplace and soon the standard method of changing the government was by one coup after another, starting with an attempt by radical leftists to seize power (the usual suspects). Left fought right, north fought south and from 1967 to 1970 civil war raged across Nigeria. The infrastructure built up in the colonial era was all but wiped out, disease returned, starvation set in and these, combined with the fighting and occasional atrocities resulted in millions of Nigerians being killed.
During all this time, and still today, the royals of the old native kingdoms carried on, as best they could, throughout the changing conditions. Some, like Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, who was Chief Justice of the Nigerian Supreme Court and son of King Ladapo Ademola II of the Alake and Egba clans, worked for the government. Some were themselves a focus for violence like Sir Olateru Olagbegi II, King of Owo, who was deposed and when the civil war broke out, his supporters took the opportunity to strike back at his enemies. King Akenzua II of Benin tried to promote peace and reconciliation but most traditional monarchs were pushed aside. Their status has only ever been recognized in an honorary sort of way and they have been forced to either take part in the political struggle or remove themselves completely and focus on religious and cultural affairs for their particular people. For Nigeria as a whole, even when the civil war ended, conditions did not drastically improve as the country came under the rule of a succession of military dictators. This situation persisted until 1999 when democracy was restored along with the previous complaints of fraud and corruption with every election.
It is true that Nigeria has seen immense wealth burst up from the country, not only because of the large market of the country but also with the discovery and exploitation of oil on the Nigerian coast and other valuable resources. However, rather than an orderly marketplace and increased prosperity for the country, this had led to a wealthier government but poorer people and increased violence as factions fight over the profits from oil revenues. Elections continue to be condemned, not only by the losing parties but by international observers as well as being corrupt and unfair. In short, as is seen in so many failed states around the world, Nigeria has all the ingredients to make for a very successful country but is squandering those resources thanks to corrupt and dishonest politicians who care more about themselves than the national wellbeing. Now we have reached the point where 300 young girls can be snatched from their schools, sold into what amounts to sexual slavery and the government is impotent to do anything about it. Moreover, the fact that political leaders put their own pride and public image before the general welfare is proven by the fact that immediately after this happened the United Kingdom offered help to the Nigerian government but was refused.
Why would British assistance be refused when only a short time later the President was practically begging for any help from a number of foreign countries? Who can say what is going on his mind, but I would assume it would involve the appearance of having to accept help from the first country of the former British Empire. However, the fact remains that if one is obliged to call in foreign countries to assist in what amounts to maintaining law and order in your own country, then no matter what the law or international community says, you are not really independent at all. Why keep up the pretense? Naturally, I think restoring Nigeria as a monarchy would be of help but, as I have said before, monarchy is not a cure-all and it would all depend on how it was done. As far as placing a native monarch on the Nigerian throne, that would be a difficult proposition. No one monarch represents the whole of the people and it could lead to more civil strife rather than less. That being said, I will not hear any complaints about the map of Africa being drawn arbitrarily by European colonizers. The independent African countries of today could redraw the map if they wish but I don’t think anyone wants to see the break-up of their country, so that is simply a distraction. So, what about restoring the Queen to the throne as in becoming a Commonwealth Realm again?
Nigeria becoming a Commonwealth Realm with Queen Elizabeth II as sovereign would, of course, be controversial. It could be done but even I don’t think it would necessarily make things better. It certainly could but only if it was done in a much more ‘old fashioned’ way than most would find palatable. First of all, no country likes even the idea or image of being ruled by someone else, that is natural and understandable. My ideal for colonial empires is helping along less developed countries to fully developed status to become self-governing members of a wider family of nations with things in common. By going back to an older style of government, I do not mean that Britain should be put in charge of governing Nigeria. That would never be tolerated and it would not even be good for Nigeria. Things might be run better and it might stop hundreds of girls being kidnapped but it would not improve the quality of the Nigerian ruling class and, frankly, I have not been impressed lately by the ability of the British to govern themselves much less others. However, how I think a Commonwealth Realm for Nigeria could be beneficial is to have some viceroyal oversight for the country. That means a Governor-General who is not just appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, that would be useless. It means having a Governor-General, possibly a royal (British or perhaps even Nigerian) who is impartial and can ensure that things are being run correctly. It does not mean a royal-appointee having power over everyone, but simply have someone there who is not elected, cannot be influenced, who can keep an eye on things to make sure that those who do hold power are following the rules and raise the alarm when they do not.
That, I think, would be the best solution possible that could happen, though of course the odds of such an idea gaining sufficient support would be infinitesimally small. Pride and past grudges should be set aside though. Things have obviously not worked out well for the government of Nigeria or things like these massive kidnappings would not be going on. With a large market, a willing population and natural resources there is no reason for Nigeria to still contain so much poverty or to be incapable of maintaining law and order and keeping its people safe. Something needs to change. Foreign assistance may enable these poor girls to be rescued, but the American Secret Service cannot be the answer to every problem and they cannot solve the fundamental problems that afflict Nigeria. It is time to learn from the past, be frank about past mistakes that have been made, set aside the personal pride of politicians and do what is in the best interests of the country.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
This entitled him to a seat in the House of Lords and, like his brothers, tended to associate himself with the Whigs in opposition to his father the King. This ended up costing him more than he would have ever expected. Having resigned from active duty in the Royal Navy upon entering the political fray, he found it difficult to return to the service he loved. Probably just as a thoughtless show of rebellion, he opposed the British declaration of war on France. It was a stupid thing to do and when he was applied to return to the navy, eager to take part in the war at sea, he was denied. Even after publicly changing his position and speaking out in support of the war, the conflict with France would pass without the Prince being given any significant command or seeing any front-line service. This left him with nothing to do but argue politics in the House of Lords and he would have been much better suited to a career at sea as his political views tended to be scattered and inconsistent. He thought the laws related to marriage and family were too harsh and that the penalties against dissenting Christians were oppressive but saw nothing wrong with the continued legality of slavery in the British colonies. It might have caused some to remember the nickname Prince William was given by his family as a youth; “Silly Billy”.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
In 2003 a proposal to make this agreement law was made public and was to be tied to the disarmament of the IRA. British loyalists were outraged and Sinn Fein rejected the proposal as well (and why accept a deal when the other side seems always prepared to give more) but the traitor Tony Blair was determined to press on. He wanted all loose ends tied up so he could be hailed as the man who brought “peace” to Northern Ireland after all. So, in 2007 a secret operation was put into effect to find and evaluate the “on the runs” by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. None of the public knew anything about this until recently when the deal was brought before a judge at the Old Bailey. It was then that we learned from Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein that some 187 of these republican terrorists had received letters from the British government assuring them that they were in no danger of arrest or prosecution for the crimes they committed as part of the IRA. One of the particular cases to emerge was that of John Downey who was suspected of murdering four soldiers in the 1982 Hyde Park bombing by the IRA. The judge ruled that he could not be prosecuted because of the letter he produced, from the proud traitors in Her Majesty’s government, promising him immunity.
Perhaps it should not be that surprising, given how, aside from these “on the runs” the British government seemed positively giddy to let all republican terrorists go free anyway. Nonetheless, it is positively outrageous that any of Her Majesty’s officials should have endorsed such a plan when dealing with people who were the open and avowed enemies of the Crown and who wished to do any and all harm possible to Her Majesty’s government and any and all of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects. Yet, starting with the actions of Tony Blair (he must have been doing this in his free time when he was not undermining the monarchy and destroying the House of Lords) this represents just one more step in the slow surrender of the United Kingdom to the republican terrorists in Ulster. It would be nice and easy if the Republic of Ireland could somehow be blamed in all this but, shamefully, this is an entirely British affair. It is not as though they are bowing to pressure from the Irish Republic, it is not as though this is a struggle between two powers for a disputed territory. No, this is a surrender to one faction of treasonous republicans who lost their war against the Crown and yet who continue, even to this day it seems, to reap the spoils of victory.
This is positively outrageous and I think it is no exaggeration to say that those responsible are guilty not only of a “dreadful mistake” as “Call Me Dave” Cameron said but of nothing less than treason to their Queen and country because like it or not (and many certainly do not) the six counties are part of the United Kingdom and Her Majesty the Queen is the lawful sovereign over them and any who undertake the death or overthrow of the Queen or the Queen’s legitimate governments are by definition traitors. Given what these people were involved in and given the behavior of the government in endeavoring to set them free, I fail to see how it can be considered as anything else.