Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Thursday 18 November 2010

Royal apprentice - you're fired!

Speaking as someone who has spent a fair proportion of his working life writing leaders about the royal family, I suppose I should welcome the upcoming nuptials of William and Kate.
There is something missing, though, isn't there? It's not Charles and Diana - not even Andrew and Fergie, amazingly enough. I can't detect a frisson of excitement, though the media has done its best.
What I enjoyed about my royal leaders was that they weren't just "Isn't she lovely" or "How terribly she is being treated" as I tried to put all that silly stuff into some sort of political/constitutional context.
The monarch is our head of state, a ridiculous concept, I know, though anything that replaced it could well be even more absurd. But in an age when deference is diminished, if not dead, and there is an ever greater demand for our leaders to be barely out of short trousers, it is folly not to recognise that the head that wears the crown may become even uneasier in the years to come.
After Diana died - and with her passing the greatest opportunity to derail the monarchy was lost - and Charles openly came out with his long-time mistress, there was a lot of discussion about whether the British people would ever accept Queen Camilla.
That was never going to be the question that would be asked in the distant future when the Queen finally vacates the throne.
If she lives as long as her mother - and she is looking pretty fit at the moment - Charles will be almost 80, having completed the longest apprenticeship in history. The question then will be: Are the British people prepared to accept someone of that age ascending the throne?
William would be getting on for 50, which is a better age, though still old by the standards of today's political leaders.
Perhaps the ending of the compulsory retirement age for the rest of us should have an exception for the monarchy. They could be forced to retire at 70 or 75 in special circumstances, like judges.
The monarchy's critics complain that it is an outmoded institution but it has its advantages. It is the rules that govern it which are really from a long-gone age and which should be changed.
How great it would be if Kate and William's first-born was a girl and she could take precedence over her younger brother when their father passes on sometime near the beginning of the 22nd century.

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