Category Archives: Royal Family

Uncensored: What two Brits thought while watching the Royal Wedding…

Yesterday, Britain’s Prince Harry married US actress Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle.

This is a genuine SMS text message exchange between two Brits who were watching the BBC’s live wedding coverage. One was watching on a TV set; the other had an iPad. There was a delay of about 40 seconds between pictures appearing on the iPad.


BRIT 1: 

The mother of the bride looks sweet. Classy outfit

BRIT 2: 

I was about to text about and use exactly the same word – sweet. What on earth must be going through the woman’s head?

BRIT 1:

I am now slightly worried for her feeling like needing the loo with the stress and excitement.

BRIT 2:

Good point! And she seems to be alone. You would think they would have given her someone to sit with.

BRIT 1:

Nah that would be a drag if you didn’t know them and they wanted to talk etc. She’s into yoga so should be OK.

BRIT 2:

Let’s hope she doesn’t fart.

BRIT 1:

Grace Kelly style?

BRIT 2:

Two of Harry’s ex-girlfriends are there… gulp. A pity his dad can’t be there! The mum has a black woman sitting next to her so maybe she DOES have a chum with her…

BRIT 1:

Not on my screen yet.

BRIT 2:

There’s been a couple of side shots. There’s a gap between them as they sit. Presumably to give the cameras a clear shot of mum. 

BRIT 1:

Oh.

BRIT 2:

In the vows, neither Harry nor Meghan has agreed to ‘obey’ the other.

BRIT 1:

Harry’s ears are very different from the wotsisname army affair guy

BRIT 2:

Ooh. You’re right. He has Charlie’s ears.

BRIT 1:

What was the bit in their vows where everyone laughed?

BRIT 2:

I don’t know. I didn’t understand the laugh bit.

BRIT 1:

You said sommat about not obeying. I’m making lunch.

BRIT 2:

They said they would love and cherish but neither said they would obey.

BRIT 1:

Solomon features a lot. FGS, now Martin Luther King.

BRIT 2:

God this Black Yank preacher is a bit OTT. Meghan loves him. Harry looks rightly bored. And her mum is looking bored. I like her mum. Haha Harry’s expression…

BRIT 1:

Yup a load of daggers in everyone’s head.

BRIT 2:

Camilla is hiding a titter with her hat and Kate is slightly smirking. 

BRIT 1:

Who is responsible for booking this preacher guy?

BRIT 2:

Meghan wanted him. I think Charlie is masking a smirk. I blame George III for this.

BRIT 1:

Are you sure it’s her idea? If so, first strike.

BRIT 2:

Fuck me. He’s got onto slavery now. Yup. She wanted him and an upcoming gospel choir. Prince Philip looks like he is thinking bad thoughts.

BRIT 1: The preacher is narrow minded. Let’s sacrifice him. I’m losing the will to live.

BRIT 2:

If Martin Luther King was like this, no wonder they shot him.

BRIT 1:

Just think of the meal after.

BRIT 2:

Harry must be reconsidering the marriage now. 

BRIT 1:

Hmmm…

BRIT 2:

Ah! One of the Fergie daughters was openly smirking. This preacher must surely be over-running. Jesus! On he goes! About love.

BRIT 1:

I am feeling hate.

BRIT 2:

Ha ha.

BRIT 1:

Solomon has been mentioned again. He must be winding up.

BRIT 2:

Take me to Syria.

BRIT 1:

Er no. This is a laugh.

BRIT 2:

Meghan is lapping it up.

BRIT 1:

OK. I’ve stopped laughing. Are you sure she’s not just acting about liking the preacher?

BRIT 2:

Naw. She wanted him. He’s gone mad now.

BRIT 1:

He’s mentioned the invention of fire. Next, the wheel? This could be even longer.

BRIT 2:

Where is an assassin when you need one?

BRIT 1:

Someone has got to cart him off. Men in white coats.

BRIT 2:

He paused and waited for applause at the end!! Now it’s the Gospel choir.

BRIT 1:

This rendition is too slow

BRIT 2:

Yes. Nothing special.

BRIT 1:

Haven’t we done this bit? They are getting married again.

BRIT 2:

Yes. I thought they had already got married. What was all that “I will” bit earlier where they were not going to obey each other? Maybe they are giving Harry the chance to change his mind after that awful preacher.

BRIT 1:

That preacher stuff really fucked up. 

BRIT 2:

The Yanks will be confused she is a Duchess not a Princess. Harry is very sweet. She’s on another planet.

BRIT 1:

She’s 36. Still time to realise different opinions.

BRIT 2:

Elton John has let himself go!

BRIT 1:

Your pictures are 40 seconds ahead of mine.

BRIT 2:

They have just got divorced.

BRIT 1:

Ha ha

BRIT 2:

Harry is running away down the aisle. Prince Philip is yelling racial obscenities. 

BRIT 1:

Now it’s like a Christmas type song.

BRIT 2:

Elton is having a heart attack.

BRIT 1:

Where is something more upbeat? It’s gone funereal.

BRIT 2:

Harry’s two ex-girlfriends are beating up Meghan. Charles is doing a Goons impression.

BRIT 1:

Has the preacher been burnt in a wicker man?

BRIT 2:

I like the way you think. They are going to have to suffer that preacher at the Reception. Now there is some decent black woman chaplain to the Queen. They could have had her instead of the Yank.

BRIT 1:

They should have jumped over a broom and stamped on a glass in a handkerchief. Yes woman chaplain much better.

BRIT 2:

There’s some Jewish bloke on now! What is that on his head?

BRIT 1:

Hello? He is Greek Orthodox!

BRIT 2:

Ah!!! That’s it. Confused the hell out of me. Where is the black preacher now? On his way to the Tower?

BRIT 1:

I like Christmas carols.

BRIT 2:

Yup, Awww. Prince Charles and Meghan’s mum smiled nicely at each other. Serena Williams appears to have  a yacht on her head. Do weddings always have a musical interlude?

BRIT 1:

Somehow I missed the “I now pronounce you man and wife” bit.

BRIT 2:

That was in the bit where they got married a second time. Remember it happened twice?

BRIT 1:

I was thinking I haven’t been to enough weddings to know. That preacher really addled it.

BRIT 2:

Posh Spice’s marriage is looking grim! On your screen now?

BRIT 1:

I’m missing screen by texting.

BRIT 2:

Harry and Meghan got married. Posh and Becks were looking grim-faced.

BRIT 1:

Ah.

BRIT 2:

This poor sod is cello-playing away and everyone is chatting through it.

BRIT 1:

Give her time to recover from crying at knowing she made a mistake with the preacher.

BRIT 2:

She lurved him.

BRIT 1:

I think this is the Young Musician of the Year on the cello.

BRIT 2:

Oh dear. Mum has been having a cry. At least the 2 year old bridesmaid didn’t cause chaos. Probably sedated!

BRIT 1:

No need to. It must be exhausting. The carriage procession won’t be interesting.

BRIT 2:

The Long Walk will look good. Kiss coming up!

BRIT 1:

Nah. I can return to jealousy of wealth. Wait to see how crazy she is. I had thought she was going to be more women’s lib.

BRIT 2:

I think she will wear the trousers.

BRIT 1:

Dress was a bit dull.

BRIT 2:

He has the benefit of a peaked cap to protect his eyes from the sun. She doesn’t. I wonder if she has to do that question test to become a British citizen. The one Brits can never answer correctly. Is Windsor a real medieval castle or some fake? It always looks too neat to be real.

BRIT 1

I like Prince Philip. He said he wants to come back as a deadly virus as too many people ruining planet. Might have mentioned that before. Nice weather for procession; nice for people who were waiting there. Horses aren’t used to being so close to crowd.

BRIT 2:

Presumably they have done something to avoid mass horse shitting in the streets of Windsor. Maybe corks in the royal horses’ bottoms. I am going to wander off now.

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Top farter Mr Methane is related to the Queen of England (& possibly Scotland)

Mr Methane: his patriotic music

Mr Methane issued a ‘ring tone’ to celebrate Diamond Jubilee

My chum Mr Methane is the world’s only professionally performing flatulist.

He farts for a living.

And a very good living it is.

His sister recently decided to look into the family history.

“Yes,” Mr Methane told me, “Margaret decided to do our dad’s mum’s side of the family first, because we didn’t know a lot about them.”

“Our dad’s mum was a Hulley but, in olden times, they also spelled it Hooley. We had a great granddad in Sutton, near Macclesfield, called Jasper Hulley and he had 19 children.”

“Bloody hell,” I said.

“Yes,” said Mr Methane, “he really got going. He had two wives – I think because he wore the first one out. Going back through Jasper’s family, we ended up in among the Brindleys.

“Margaret said: Ooh! We’ve got Brindleys in the family!”

“You can,” I told Mr Methane, “get tablets for that.” He ignored me.

James Brindley with his Barton Aqueduct in the background (by Francis Parsons, 1770)

James Brindley with his Barton Aqueduct in the background (by Francis Parsons, 1770)

“She only follows the direct bloodline,” he continued. “The ones who did the deed which means we exist.

“I said to her: I wonder if we’re any relation to James BrindleyI knew he had served his apprenticeship at a place called Gurnett near Sutton. The Brindley Society say James was one of the thinkers and doers that made the Industrial Revolution kick-in.”

“Is that because of the canals?” I asked.

“Well, he was a millwright. He came from Wormhill in the Peak District. He understood water power and he also got himself abreast of steam power, so he was working on the first factories and he was big friends with Josiah Wedgwood of Stoke – the pottery man – and the Duke of Bridgewater in Manchester.”

“As in the Bridgewater Canal?” I asked.

“Exactly,” said Mr Methane. “He built the Bridgwater Canal and that changed everything, because suddenly the Duke of Bridgewater could transport lots of his coal much cheaper than he could by packhorses. It completely changed the economics of moving stuff around.

Mr Methane’s modest, mild-mannered alter ego Paul Oldfield

Mr Methane’s modest, mild-mannered alter ego Paul Oldfield

“And Josiah Wedgwood wanted his factories not just to be making pottery but also delivering it all over the country. He wanted his raw materials in and his goods out. So the new canals were a transport revolution. In the end, my sister found out that James Brindley is our great-great-great-great-great uncle.

“So we were quite happy in the knowledge that we were linked to this guy who helped launch the 18th century’s equivalent of the space age.

“But then my sister said: I’ll go into the Bowmans now. They were related to us and they were a noble family who had their own crest. They were very early in the Quaker movement and got locked up. Some of them stood up in church at Alstonefield, Derbyshire, and renounced the Church of England and they were put in prison, because Quakerism was a bit naughty.

Mr Methane prepares to fart a dart from his bottom

Mr Methane prepares to fart a dart from his bottom in the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show at Edinburgh Fringe

“Then, through the Bowmans, we ended up in the Beresfords who are a proper noble family from Fenny Bentley in Derbyshire. They’ve go a family tomb there. One of my relations is Thomas Beresford. He was called Sir Beresford of Beresford.

“He had about 16 sons and the tomb doesn’t have his effigy, because the tomb was made much later and they didn’t know what he looked like. So the sculptor made a shroud and, on the tomb, he’s in a shroud that looks not unlike a sack tied at one end. It’s a bit like a magician’s act, I suppose. It’s a shame about Keith Harris, isn’t it?”

“Eh?” I asked, startled.

“He died, you know,” said Mr Methane.

“The ventriloquist?” I asked, surprised. “I know. Is he related?”

“No, no,” said Mr Methane. “I was just thinking about magicians’ acts and Keith Harris came into me head. Apparently Orville (his ventriloquist’s doll) has taken the death terribly. He just lies there, saying nothing…

The Beresford Bear

The Beresford Bear

“Anyway… Thomas Beresford… He was a proper nobleman and it says on the Beresford family tomb that the Beresfords were from Beresford Dale. Their crest has a bear on it and there’s a Beresford Society.

“Margaret rang up the genealogist there and went through it all with him and he said: Yeah, you’re in the family.

“Sir Thomas Beresford is like my 13th granddad. As a nobleman, he had to raise an army of at least ten men and go fight with the king whenever he was asked, so he fought at Agincourt… Well, they’re not sure if it was Thomas Beresford himself or his father.

“And that was quite exciting, until we found out his mother was Lady Elizabeth Bassett and the Bassetts of Blore and the Beresfords for years just fought and nicked each other’s sheep. Blore is the next parish down from Beresford Dale and Fenny Bentley.

“Then, when you get into the Bassett (earlier called Basset) family, it just goes mad. You just end up related to every noble person around. They went all over the place from Cambridge to Wales to Cornwall. The Queen is descended from one of the Sir William Bassetts – there were loads of them.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The queen Mother

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

“There’s a family strand that goes through the Cavendishes, then the Bowes-Lyons – the Queen Mother was a Bowes-Lyon – to the present Queen. She’s probably like a 1,017th cousin of mine or something but the Queen and us are definitely in there in among the Bassetts.”

“And your sister Margaret is still researching?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” said Mr Methane, “Following what the Bassett Society and The Beresford Society have done, we’ve got back to Thurston de Basset, who was Grand Falconer to William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. That’s where we’ve ended up.

“And apparently two Bassetts were among the King’s counsellors at the signing of the Magna Carta. I see a whole American market here. I think I might just give up farting or build a theme round it that includes the family history. I think I might have found my route into after-dinner speaking.

“So I think I have to go up-market now. Not just common-or-garden farting but noble farting. I mean, Thurston de Basset, Grand Falconer to William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings – They were firing arrows at King Harold in 1066 and I’m still farting darts out of my bottom at balloons on stage all these years later. It must be in the genes.”

M Methane, distant claimant to the throne of England

Mr Methane, distant claimant to the throne of England, displays the bottomless pit of his patriotism

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Filed under Comedy, History, Humor, Humour, Royal Family, UK

Scots comic Janey Godley to present Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards in July

I tell Janey a joke last night (photograph by MEU-NF)

I tell Janey Godley a joke last night, which she finds hysterical

My chum Scots comedian Janey Godley rarely performs her one-hour shows in London. That is London’s loss.

Last night, she was at the Comedy Cafe Theatre performing a preview of her upcoming Edinburgh Fringe show Janey Godley Is Ungagged and afterwards, outside, what appeared to be a police helicopter was hovering, static, overhead.

A complete coincidence, I am sure.

Janey’s show was recorded by new audio outfit Just The Greatest (who are also sponsoring The Increasingly Prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show at the Fringe this year). So her show will soon be available as an audio download.

“Will you also be selling physical CDs after your shows at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh?” I asked. “I dunno what percentage the venue takes.”

“Nobody takes a percentage from me, John,” said Janey. “Nobody.”

I asked: “Why are you doing a show at the Fringe again, after three years away?”

“I’m just doing the first two weeks,” said Janey, “and my daughter Ashley is going to support for the first 15 minutes, then I’ll do the new material I did tonight all about Twitter and Facebook and being ungagged. People are getting death threats; people are being not allowed to speak. I do nothing but fight like fuck on Twitter with people like Donald Trump and 50 Cent and there was that Tim & Freya situation.”

A series of live Tweets which Janey made last year, recording an argument between a couple on a train, went viral and triggered articles in the press about invasion of privacy.

“Ask about something else,” said Janey.

“The Duke of Edinburgh thing surprised you, didn’t it?” I asked.

Janey Godley’s bestselling autobiography

Janey’s bestselling UK autobiography

A fortnight ago, Janey was asked if she could present the awards (with HRH Prince Edward) to the 30 gold winners of this year’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards – in the gardens of Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, on 3rd July.

She was told: “The Awards are given out to young people who have gone through a rigorous programme to achieve their award and we invite people of note from Scotland to present them with their certificates… It would make this special occasion even more memorable for the young people.”

“I did write back to them,” said Janey, “saying You do know it’s me you’re asking? You’ve not got me mixed up with someone else? They said they’d chosen me because I work for several children’s charities. I’m a bit flummoxed. Those poor kids are expecting a celebrity and they’re gonna get me.”

“But you are a celebrity to them,” I argued. “Former Scotsman columnist, best-selling author, award-winning comic…”

“My ass I am a celebrity,” said Janey.

“You’re ideal for them,” I argued. “What was that ‘scum’ thing Ned Sherrin said about you?”

“He said I was educated scum,” replied Janey.

“Didn’t he say you were Glasgow scum made good?” I asked.

“No,” said Janey, “Educated scum.”

“Well, he should have called you Glasgow scum made good,” I said. “And Ned adored you. You’re zero to hero. Inspirational. All that stuff. Ideal for presenting the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.”

At this point, the helicopter overhead came lower and drowned out our conversation.

I find paranoia can be very distracting.

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Lies, damned lies, lawyers & politicians. Vague thoughts from my buggy sickbed.

(A version of this was also published by India’s We Speak News)

Parliamentary Man speaks with forked tongue

After I wrote my blog yesterday, I turned over and went back to sleep. I woke up at lunchtime, around 12.30.

I was in bed for most of the rest of the day with what I think was a bug, so I missed most of David Cameron’s reshuffle of his Cabinet. But it made no difference.

Having a Cabinet reshuffle is like randomly offering round a collection of magnifying glasses in the Land of the Blind. If you stumble on a one-eyed man, it is a matter of pure luck.

That is not a Party political point. It is the same with all British governments of all persuasions. Here-today-gone-tomorrow politicians in governments elected every four years or less do not run the country. The on-going staff civil servants do. Which is much better.

If someone is appointed Minister of Transport then, within hours, they may be expressing ‘considered thoughts and fact-based opinions’ on motorways, airports, rural bus services and the dangerous placing of a zebra crossing by some local council in Devon. But that’s all bollocks. They are given their thoughts by the experienced, ongoing civil servants in their department.

Politicians give vague political directions but, in detail, leave it to their civil servants. Which is fine with me. I studied British Constitution at school and love the ramshackle, mostly effective system that has randomly shuffled itself into existence.

That is why I am so against an elected House of Lords.

We already have an elected House of Commons full of people who have had to bullshit their way in there, voted-for by people who have no real idea who they are voting for. We don’t need another Parliamentary chamber filled with politicians exactly the same as the ones in the Commons.

The beauty of the House of Lords is that it is a shambolic combination of the experienced, the good, the worthy and past-their-sell-by-date politicians: a chamber which should, ideally, be conservative with a small ‘c’ because it is there to consider the House of Commons’ laws and delay or dilute their excesses, worse stupidities and incompetences.

Like the monarch, it has no ultimate power. It cannot ultimately stop a law being passed, only delay it.

It is, just like the monarchy, an accidentally cobbled-together edifice which is a thing of beauty.

The Queen has all theoretical power, no actual power but is vital as a failsafe for the election of a totally barking government.

In theory, she can dismiss a government. In practice, if she did this to a government with popular support, it would be the end of the monarchy. But, if she did this to a barking government with no popular support, she could call on what are theoretically her Armed Forces to enforce her will and it would not be a military coup, it would be an entirely legal constitutional action.

It would have been interesting to see what might have happened if the rumoured military coup planned in Britain in 1975 (without the Queen’s knowledge) had gone ahead.

I have few gripes about the British Constitution, but only about politicians themselves: a necessary if even more amoral type of double glazing salesmen.

I went to a grammar school – the Ilford County High School.

It was a good school but perhaps it had ideas a little above its station. It had a cadet force. (This was a long time ago.) You got to parade around in military uniforms and fire guns, much like in the movie If… though without the same outcome.

And it had a debating society called The Acorns.

I was in neither, which may be partially explained by my dislike of regimentation and my lack of any discernible vocal fluency. I can write OK; but I can’t talk fluently.

I do not remember who was in the school’s cadet force. Very neat boys, I imagine. But I do remember that quite a few of the seemingly intelligent people in the Acorns debating society wanted to study Law at university; they wanted to become solicitors or lawyers.

I remember not being in any way impressed when they told me that the absolute zenith of being a good debater was when you were able to successfully argue on behalf of a proposition you did not believe in – or successfully oppose and get the vote to go against a proposition you actually believed in.

This was seen by them as the height of an admirable skill.

I saw it as making successful dishonesty a goal.

And I have never changed my mind.

I imagine several of my schoolmates who aspired to become lawyers did actually study at university for several years in lying techniques and went on to become lawyers.

The highest triumph of being a good lawyer is if you can get a guilty man or woman found innocent and – of course – equally, if you are a Prosecutor, that you can skilfully get an innocent man or woman found guilty of a crime they did not commit.

The object of the English adversarial legal system is not to reveal the truth but to win the argument and to hide or discredit any opposing evidence. It is a talent contest for liars. The jury decides which of the two advocates has been the better liar. English courts are not set up to provide justice; they are set up to judge the efficiency of the lawyers and to boost or diminish their career prospects.

No wonder that such a high proportion of politicians are ex-lawyers in Britain and in countries where their legal system is based on the English system – Tony Blair, Bill Clinton et al – are trained lawyers/liars.

The English legal system is based on lying and hiding the truth. Politics is the art of pragmatism at the expense of morality.

British governments have always taken the entirely reasonable stance that they recognise and negotiate with the de facto governments of other countries whether or not they approve of their policies; we have diplomatic relations with states not with regimes.

To be a politician, you have to lie efficiently and put any moral scruples you may have once had into the shredder.

Not a new viewpoint.

But a true one.

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Who do we want as Queen of the UK? Elizabeth II or President William Haig?

…or we could have Tony Blair’s head

(A version of this blog was also published by the Indian news website WeSpeakNews)

I saw some Republican demonstrators interviewed on TV during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. One of their startling opening gambits to explain their position was: “The Parliament at Westminster has too much power.”

And they were arguing in favour of more politicians!

People often mis-read my political views. One example is that I am a very strong supporter of the monarchy.

Writing this blog I am on a hiding to nothing because, as long as it is, it does not give me enough space.

But, at school, I studied British Constitution for ‘A’ Level. The result is that I am a very strong supporter of the institution of a constitutional monarchy, but I have absolutely no interest at all in the soap opera of the Royal Family. I also think Tony Blair, as Prime Minister, was a neo-Fascistic prat who seriously damaged Britain’s constitutional set-up, but that is another matter.

When people say, “Oh, we should elect the Head of State,” I think, “Jesus! Are you out of your mind? Do you realise you are arguing that what we need is more scumbag politicians?”

Britain has stumbled into a State where we have a Head of State with lots of theoretical power and no practical power.

Bloody great!

The Queen does not actually make the important appointments, does not make laws, cannot in practice prevent laws from being passed by Parliament and has no actual practical constitutional power. But she is the ultimate safeguard against dictatorship and tyranny.

If a mad Prime Minister and/or a truly extremist government got into power and started passing laws which the vast majority of people then found repulsive – the example always used at school was a law that all red-headed men should be executed – what would happen? They could not be voted out by the electorate until the next General Election: perhaps four years away.

The only certain way to actually overthrow a government effectively anywhere (beyond the uncertainties of civil war) is for the government’s Army to overthrow it and you then have a situation where the Army is the government and has to appoint one of its own as Head of State.

In Britain, the Army is not the government’s Army; it is, in theory, the monarch’s Army. As is the Air Force, the Navy, the Police and the Civil Service.

The Prime Minister is not the Head of State. He/she is not even the head of the government. In theory. the Prime Minister is just that – primus inter pares – first among equals – only one of the monarch’s many ministers.

The result of this is that, if the Army overthrew an out-of-control government, it would do so in the name of the on-going monarchy and would not have to name one of its own officers as temporary Head of State. That sounds an unimportant distinction. But it would be re-asserting the monarch’s supremacy from a Prime Minister who had temporarily taken control, not overthrowing its own head. That makes it much easier to re-establish a new civilian government.

And this is not necessarily a theoretical point.

It would be interesting to have seen what would have happened if the rumoured plan for a military coup in the UK in 1975 had actually happened. But, returning to the subject…

The myth about the monarchy is that it is somehow costly.

Compared to what?

Compared to a President?

Bollocks.

The Queen receives no actual salary; the monarch’s costs are paid. Does anyone believe the same or higher expenses would be not incurred by a President? Plus some inflated annual salary and pension. All those flash state meals, all those flash ceremonials. They would still happen. Their costs would still happen. And, if there were no Diamond Jubilee, there would (quite reasonably) be some other State mega shindigs to bolster the patriotic spirit (but with less glitz and glamour because a politician in a suit would be at the centre of it).

Then there is the extended Royal Family – for which the taxpayer does not pay salaries. In effect, we get the Queen and a collection of subsidiary clones who trundle round the country as representatives. The London TV news last night carried pictures of Princess Alexandra (currently 40th in line to the throne and she’s free) at some street party.

So what’s the alternative?

Another morally-compromised politician.

By definition, anyone running to get public votes to be a temporary President will be a politician.

Un-enthusiastic voters would shamble out to decide whether they prefer to have President Tony Blair or President William Haig or President Edwina Currie for 4 years, at the end of which time some other lacklustre or tired or up-his-own-arse former, failed or self-important politician would get to extend their money-making life for a few more years.

And then you have the continuity which you do not get from an elected Head of State. The Queen has 60 years knowledge of the innermost workings of Britain. This is not insignificant.

She knows not what people think happened but what actually happened behind-the-scenes in the UK for the whole of the last 60 years – and why. She read the same red boxes her Prime Ministers did for the last 60 years. She – and, indeed, Prince Charles – know more about the inner workings of Britain than any temporary Prime Minister does. More than members of the Cabinet, more than MPs, more than current top civil servants. The top civil servants may have been civil servants for years, but they only hold the top posts – with real knowledge of what is happening – for a few years.

What you get from a continuing monarchy above and beyond the political system is continuity.

Who wants another politician in another now political role for another four years and what is he/she going to do anyway? Fight with Parliament? Counter-balance or emasculate the Prime Minister? Or do nothing and just go to meals with people wearing a suit and with a background of political back-stabbing over several years?

What improvement on the current system would an elected Head of State make?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

When the very young 18-year-old Queen Victoria ascended the throne, she was mentored by Lord Melbourne. When the 26-year-old Queen Elizabeth II unexpectedly ascended the throne on the death of her father who had, himself, unexpectedly become King, Winston Churchill mentored her with knowledge going back beyond the First World War. But those politicians soon faded away. Their knowledge, though, continued through the monarch and continued to be built-on.

At the end of the movie Blade Runner, Rutger Hauer’s character, at the point of death, says:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe… All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

The same thing happens when politicians and civil servants leave office. They leave the papers behind. But, when another similar emergency situation suddenly arises without warning, who knows where to really find out how it was handled before?

As I said, I saw some Republican demonstrators interviewed during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. One of their startling opening gambits to explain their position was: “The Parliament at Westminster has too much power.”

I am not sure I agree with that, but it is certainly no argument for replacing the monarchy.

Do we really want ANOTHER up-his-or-her-own-arse elected politician?

Do we really want President Tony Blair or President William Haig or President Simon Cowell?

No, we want a theoretical Head of State separated from the sleaze of the Westminster sewer.

We want what we have: a Head of State with no practical powers and major theoretical powers which are a safeguard against political tyranny and a family which has (whether wanker Republicans like it or not) widespread public respect and continuity of knowledge.

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Filed under Politics, Royal Family, Royalty

Revealed – gay sex scandals of the rich and famous – and the Royal Family?

Someone invited me to have tea with him the other week because he wanted to ask my advice. Yes, I am anybody’s for a cup of tea and some beans on toast.

What he wanted to ask me was: “How do I start a rumour?”

My answer was, “Obviously via the internet, but it is more difficult than it sounds because the internet is full of rumours so it is difficult to be noticed in the tsunami of twittering. Wikipedia probably says that Guy Fawkes was an actor in the Star Wars trilogy, but no-one will necessarily believe that.”

On the other hand, large numbers of people can apparently be convinced by the conspiracy theory that the Americans never landed on the Moon…. Despite the fact that, if so, the Soviets would have immediately revealed the flight and the landing as fake.

Many people believe that, despite the fact al-Queda did admittedly have people flying planes into the Twin Towers, the World Trade Center was actually also rigged with unimaginably large numbers of explosives to blow up when the planes full of fuel flew into them so the US government could blame the Islamic terrorists who were already doing what they were going to be blamed for doing.

Which brings me to sex and Hollywood stars.

A new book Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars is about to be published in which 88-year-old former US Marine and former gas station attendant Scotty Bowers claims that Spencer Tracey and Katharine Hepburn were both gay and their famed ‘secret’ romance was just smoke and mirrors to hide their gayness.

According to Bowers, Hepburn first approached him at a Hollywood party and said:

“I know your reputation, Scotty. When you get a chance, do you think you can find a nice, young dark-haired girl for me? Someone that’s not too heavily made-up.”

Over the next 50 years, he claims he fixed her up with more than 150 women.

One day he got a phone call:

“This is Errol Flynn. That gas station of yours has gained quite a reputation.”

Flynn wanted to be fixed up with women “who both behaved and looked as if they were underage”, but Bowers claims that Flynn would get so drunk that, after saying, “I’m going to make love to you like nothing you’ve ever experienced,” he would pass out and Bowers would have to “oblige the lady myself”.

Why Bowers would have been present at the time is not clear.

I can believe he “arranged voyeurism sessions for Somerset Maugham, found a string of young men for Noel Coward and had sex with Tennessee Williams”.

But I find it very difficult to believe that both the would-be Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson were actually gay and “the whole myth of the great royal romance was a fabrication, a giant cover-up”.

If they were both gay, why would Edward have abdicated over a perceived heterosexual love? He could have publicly dumped her, stayed platonic friends and retained the throne. The reason for pretending to be in love with her might have been to hide gayness… but not at the cost of losing the throne.

Spencer Tracey as bi-sexual and Katharine Hepburn gay, yes, that I can believe.

And Cary Grant, of whom it has often been said.

According to Hollywood Babylon, Cary Grant shacked-up with Randolph Scott for a time. I found that duo a bit difficult to believe but the Hollywood Babylon author Kenneth Anger knew where the scandals were – and he was able to believably explain what the name “Rosebud” means in Citizen Kane – it was allegedly William Randolph Hearst’s pet name for his mistress Marion Davies’ clitoris, so the fact Kane dies with it on his lips has some meaning and would explain why Hearst tried to destroy director Orson Welles’ career.

But I find it difficult to believe the former Marine and gas station attendant turned sex fixer for Hollywood’s story about Edward and Mrs Simpson.

Gore Vidal says: “Scotty doesn’t lie – the stars sometimes do – and he knows everybody.”

But do I rate Gore Vidal’s opinion?

I have never really believed the story which suddenly appeared after J.Edgar Hoover’s death that he dressed up as a woman and attended gay parties. “J.Edgar Hoover in drag” sounded too much like something people who hated him thought-up to destroy his image.

It is a bit like spreading a rumour that Cilla Black is a man.

That was not just a nose job she had early in her career.

Very entertaining, but not necessarily true.

They’ll be saying Tom Cruise, George Clooney and SpongeBob SquarePants are gay next.

Unbelievable.

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Filed under Gay, Hollywood, Movies, Royal Family, Sex