Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Happy Birthday King Charles III !

I probably have always had a soft spot in my heart or head for Prince Charles who is now embarked on a what at least CBC I determined to feature as an under-whelmingly received Royal Visit to Canada. Charles and I grew up together. At least in a fashion – he was born 13 days before me in 1948. Thus as my own little life story unfolded with its statutory milestones – turning 13, 16, 21, 30, 40 etc. – I could bask parasitically in the limelight of my more famous, regal cohort-mate.

Like anyone else, I noticed the ears and – admitting hastily all that stuff about people in glass houses and stone throwing – that he was no matinee idol, his lack of beauty somewhat exaggerated by the formal demeanour and puffed-up accent of his coddled upbringing. When others rather obviously spotted the young Prince’s resemblance to the Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Newman, I confess to having chuckled agreement.

Then came Diana – a choice of wife with which I immediately disagreed, as my phony-spotting antennae were immediately aroused by this moderately pretty and much younger minor -ruling class booby. The future King and his handlers may have thought that he would benefit from Lady Dianna’s appeal and I suppose he did until his sensible but long-unrevealed lack of romantic interest in this foppish Barbie doll, combined with her inbred nuttiness and penchant for hyper-rich playboys, to place the marriage among the most infamous British disasters since Dunkirk.

Flash forward decades to a time when both Britain and her once predominant British inhabited former dominions have become multi-cultural kaleidoscopes with ever-growing numbers of new citizens who, for quite sensible reasons bear no allegiance to the monarchy, especially since a goodly proportion of them are descended from the “subjects”, i.e. subalterns of the Empire on which the sun used never to set. I can live with the outcome for our political system, the seeming inevitability that at some point not too long from now, in another of its petty demos of selfhood, Canada will devolve into a nation with not a constitutional trace of fealty to the Windsors, the pomp and circumstance they once commanded. We will show a real lack of class as a nation if we even talk about doing this before Elizabeth II joins her ancestors at Westminster.

Now – and this along with the current Royal Visit is what prompts this entry - I learn that it is not only peabrains on FaceBook who create silly polls but purportedly respectable professionals. Apparently lacking for anything else sale-able to poll us about, CP/Harris Decima asked 1000 of us if we think Charles should step aside for his son, Willy. Go look and see for yourself the results – I don’t want to add to the already overly scurrilous nature of my blog by bothering with the responses to this useless question. It is rather by way of lament that I must reveal that the majority of the 1000 poll-ees gave an opinion at all rather than telling the pollster to get a life and hanging up.

One of the many good things about our Constitutional Monarchy is that, unlike democratic elections it is not a popularity contest. For the sake of both brevity and persuasion, just turn on CPAC’s House of Commons stream and see where we get when Canadians go to the polls en masse. Watch the truly small-and-mean minded Prime Minister and his minions equivocate about H1N1 vaccination which now Minister Aglukkaq is promising us as a Christmas present; watch the amazing shrinking Leader of the Opposition as he demonstrates ever more each day with appropriate academic rigour his inability do what should be a no-brainer and send Harper packing off back to the corporate world that he has never really left, in spirit.

Then, if you can find it, try to tune in on the never-that-popular Prince of Wales and ask yourself whether our exercising our democratic mandate does any better than this gracious and thoughtful prospective king, indeed, whether our Canadian ability at making leadership choices makes it worth having some Harris Decima butt-pain disrupt the rightful enjoyment of the World Series.

So then an early Happy 61st King Charles, on the 14th of this month (which if you’ve read this carefully should enable your adroit calculation of your humble grouse’s upcoming natal day and thereby your advance planning of appropriate celebrations).