Saturday 6 November 2010


It’s not that often that you’ll find this blog to be overly sympathetic to members of the royal family. However, credit where credit is due. We may be republicans, and disapprove of position as of birthright rather than by ability and hard graft, but I hope we’ll always be fair to people who have little choice in the matter.

I would say that I respect the fact that the Queen has kept out of party politics as much as she possibly could during her reign. Par contre I have deplored the fact that Charles has poked his nose in and wasted ministers’ time by sending for them and demanding this that and the next, in line with his particular interests.

I therefore instinctively disapprove of Andrew’s excursion into political waters the other day when he was visiting Universal Engineering in Weymouth, Dorset, who make armoured vehicles.

He blasted the MoD for
not ordering the vehicles which Andrew reckons would have saved British soldiers’ lives. His exact words were: “ I would say to you that regrettably they will not get off their fat backsides. The MoD are completely hopeless at these kind (sic) of things.”

He was speaking in his capacity as Ambassador for British Trade and Industry. (The Dorset based company is presumably hoping to exprt these vehicles to other countries.) However, the MoD has been swithering (Scottish word meaning being indecisive) over whether or not to order them for our own troops in Afghanistan. Indeed, Ainsworth went to inspect them when he was Secretary of State for Defence and that’s undoubtedly well over 6 months ago. Still we have no decision.

OK. Andrew shouldn’t have said what he did, but in his defence his office says that he thought that he was talking to a private meeting of the directors. He did not know there was a journalist present. Well, of course he should have known. He should have been advised, and regardless, he shouldn’t have criticised his mother’s government.

He has embarrassed her.

But, on this occasion, even if he was wrong to do it, I’m glad he has brought the matter to the fore. This is more important that Charles and his interference in building plans. This is a matter of the lives of people we send to fight.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If we can’t afford to fight a war, which we can’t, because we can’t afford to house and feed the poor, then we should not be at war.

Vehicles that can withstand twice the blast of any Taliban bomb would have saved lives. We didn’t buy them, even from British manufacturers... It’s shameful, particularly when the MoD is top heavy, full of high rankers on extremely comfortable salaries with fabulous expense accounts and awesome pensions, and a book deal when they retire.

So Andrew was in the wrong and by now I daresay the Queen has hauled him over the royal coals for embarrassing the prime minister and the defence secretary, but if this does make them get off their fat backsides and do something well, I can forgive Andrew. Just this once.

I’m sure he’ll be extremely relieved to read that!


  1. Besides the [endless loop] debate we three can have on the issue of the natural order of things regarding monarchy etc etc ... I did agree with much of that [shock, horror].

    1. Should the Duke of York have criticised Her Majesty's government in his capacity as a royal, and member of the succession? No.

    But, surely in his role as advocate and defender of soldiers [he does command regiments does he not] - I think he has a military duty to do what he can to uphold the necessary requirements of his boys in uniform.

    Additionally he must have the ability to speak freely in his role as trade and industry ambassador...

    2. His basic point, entirely and totally correct. Any fool can see what he is saying is bloody obvious, and it is nice to have some recognition of this from up on high!

    3. His mother - bloody brilliant woman. Honestly, I'd throw myself under a bus if she asked me to. I think it is the same for Andrew regarding that she is his mother. I am positive he didn't mean to embarrass anyone; and I rather think plain speaking [backed up by reality and fact] can hardly be called an embarrasment anyway.

  2. Tris

    For an alleged Republican you seen to post a fair few pro royal stories perhaps your natural sycophancy drives yo to do it.
    One day you will make a good unionist i'm sure

    Read this and thought of you

    Swinney was said to be sympathetic to fears expressed by Scotland’s council chiefs that shielding the NHS from cuts would make life even more difficult for local government services.

    It is believed that Sturgeon, expected to be the SNP’s next leader, has spoken out against Swinney’s plans for her department in ministerial meetings

    Sturgeon, expected to be the SNP’s next leader

    The tide is against Alex Salmond all the evidence shows.


    'Honestly, I'd throw myself under a bus'

    one can only hope!


  3. OK. I need to go lie down. Dean agrees with me.

    How fortunate for you that it is very unlikely that you'll get a phone call any time soon...

    (imagine incredibly posh voice for this:

    "Hello. Is thet Dean. One is the Queen. We wont one go go ite and throw oneslef under one of those big red things that ordinary people trevel on."

    Nah Dean.... not gonna happen!

  4. OK Niko. Read very carefully, I shall type this only wance:

    Just because I think that we should be governed by people we elected adn the4refore we can ditch (as we did your beloved Gordon), not people who by accident of birth, death and sexual impropriety happen to get themselves a cushy billet... no housing benefit reductions for them in their council houses, no standing in queues for National Health Service facitilities (although I saw that the Queen took a "normal" train normal in fact that it was late!), it doesn't mean that I can't see the good side of them as individuals.

    Because someone got a job through familial connexions doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to do it badly, or all badly.

    You miss the whole point of republicanism if you think that. Only non thinkiners go for the personalities. It's the principle that counts

    The principle is wrong, not necessarily the people. Although I would have to draw a line at Charlie and Mrs P-B on that one.

    As for your second tale. Just becasue no one is allowed to express any opinion other than that of the leader in the Labour party, it does not mean that Ministerial or Cabinet meetings for other parties cannot have full and open discussions. For heaven's sake Niko, not every leader throws Nokias at people who disagree with them.... some of us are grown ups.