Sunday, 1 May 2011

Turbo Monarchy

Vive La Republique

Basically I am a republican, as I believe in meritocracy. However, I can see the benefits of having a monarchy – so long as the monarch is a good monarch – like Mrs Queen.

A presidency is sterile, grey and dull, dull, dull. Beside the presidents of the USA and Russia, I cannot name a single president who is not also a dictator. I’m sure there are some, but their names do not immediately spring to mind – they are grey and invisible and changed at the drop of a hat.

A monarchy, on the other hand, is colourful, filled with pageantry and has a sprinkle of magic. Additionally, once you know who a country’s monarch is, the principle of heredity ensures you will always know who they are - until either you or they die.

Getting down to filthy lucre, the British monarchy is the best marketing tool the UK could have. No president could possibly market UK Plc better. 2 billion people all over the world watched the royal wedding – what better advert for a holiday in the UK? And all that international advertising was free.

Head says republic, heart says monarchy. The time to fix the monarchy, and perhaps replace it with a president, is when monarchy no longer appears to be working. It has come close to it a few times, but it’s been rescued once more by this weekend.

Turbine vs Windmill

I was listening to a debate on wind power and one of the usual arguments against turbines is that they are ugly.

Wind turbines perform the same function as windmills – the generation of power from the elements. I wonder whether the populace was up in arms when windmills first started sprouting all over the country, with local do-gooders complaining about the industrialisation of the landscape.

The real reason people don’t like wind turbines, or new buildings, is that they don’t like change. The familiar breeds calm, whereas the new breeds suspicion and hostility.

No-one will deny that a windmill in a countryside setting is quintessentially rural – but at one time it obviously wasn’t.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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