Friday, March 18, 2011

The Best Of A Bad Lot: Welcome Willy, Thanks For Leaving The Royal Rellies At Home.

The Poms are past masters at coining the most damning of phrases, and The Magpie was always taken with the title of the book about British television called 'The Least Worst Television In The World'. 'The Least Worst' must win the Damning With Faint Praise Award of recent times.

It is a phrase The Magpie is happy to pinch to describe the Royal Visit with which we've been graced in these troubled times. This is because the House of Windsor is looking a bit emotionally winded yet again, with the latest parade of pompous royals  demonstrating a fine belief of entitlement and ignoring the rules - legal and social -  that govern the rest of the us, the great unwashed.

Prince William, who is gracing us with his presence to give faux succour to his southern hemisphere serfs who suffered 'a spot of the old rotten weather, eh wot?' is the 'least worst' of the royals right now, especially since he is about to hook up with that nice Kate gel.

But while we're playing with Willie down under, Randy Andy has been up to hanky-panky of the financial sort. The follically-challenged  Prince Andrew has been facing the chop as a business ambassador for Britain for 'inappropriate' social relationships, one with a son of Gaddafi-Duck, and another with a convicted American paedophile (who also happens to be a billionaire). And Andrew's suitability was also called into question when his ex-missus, the execrable dolt Fergie, got caught in a sting trying to sell a 'guaranteed' meeting with the Prince to some urger or other.

And then there is the ironical and insensitive decree from Princess Anne that her daughter's fiance, England rugby hard man Mike Tindall, get a nose job before the nuptials. The insensitivity speaks for itself - those nasal twists and turns are badges of national honour - but the irony? Well, this royal decree comes from a pompous horse-faced 'blood-sucking burden on the public purse' for whom a radio studio would have to be extended if ever she was to have a head-to-head interview with our Steve Price on 4TO. And a face-to-face with Julia `The Mother Meerkat' Gillard would also be an anatomical impossibility. (The protocol has always advised those meeting the Princess never to try to break the ice with `Why the long face, darl?') In a vote on appropriate behaviour, the nose have it.

But while the papers at the crotch-scratching, burping and windbreaking end of the news market have in recent times past had a field day with the sexual, profligate and creative business shenanigans of the younger members of the royal menagerie, no one to The Magpie's knowledge has bothered to point out that this really is nothing new. Not at all.

Nor has the modern criticism been anywhere near as strident as during some previous episodes when yet another royal thread became unraveled from the rich tapestry of grossly inbred Monarchial life down the centuries.

The current royals have always had their critics. Scottish Labor MP Willie Hamilton, who would make Paul Keating look like a quivering marshmallow when it came to laying into the House of Windsor, made a memorable speech of welcome when Princess  Anne started foaling in the '70s. After listening to all the verbal tugging of forelocks and other appendages in the House of Commons, Willie rose to tell astonished members that he too welcomed the newest member of the royal household, but he added that the child would 'no doubt turn out to be another prime example of a bloodsucking burden on the public purse'.

But this sort of thing is mere kid's stuff compared with previous centuries, when hoeing into the monarch was almost a blood sport (your blood if you got caught).

George IV (1762-1830) was undoubtedly the most unpopular king ever to command the English throne. His only too public sins of womanising, drunkardness, cheating his debtors (and there were plenty with joint claims running into the millions).
Even at his coronation, he felt so threatened by the general population that he surrounded himself with a hand-picked bodyguard of prizefighters, a human wall of cauliflower ears and bent noses which encircled him every inch of the procession and every minute of the ceremony.

But the real measure of his standing with his countrymen came upon his death, when no less than The Times newspaper, which, in the pre-Murdoch era, normally did not speak ill of the dead, laid in the slipper unmercifully. `The late King' said The Times, 'led a life that rose little higher than animal indulgence. There never was a individual whose passing was less regretted by his fellow creatures than this deceased king. What eye wept for him? What heart has heaved one sob of unmercenary sorrow? If George IV ever had a friend - a devoted friend in any rank of life - we profess that the name of that person has ever reached us.'  Whew! Bet he even honked his nose in the shower.

In fact, kings named George never had much luck at the trade. George III is credited with losing the American colonies and has been (incorrectly) vilified in some histories as a slobbering lunatic. But he at least avoided the indignities suffered by his predecessor, George II. Now here was a slobberer of the first foam, but not so much in the lunacy department as in the area of Dirty Old Man.

In 1749, he was attending a 'come-as-you-fancy' ball in London when the all round good sort, the Duchess of Kingston, arrived wearing a topless bodystocking  and just a garland of flowers to to hide her two all-round features which greatly contributed to her reputation as an all round good sort.
There's no fool like a dirty old fool, so lecherous George made a bow-legged beeline for the Duchess, and, disposing of all preamble, asked if he might fondle her breasts.
It is said that he started to dribble in unexpected delight when the Duchess gave him an intimate wink, took his hand and said she would guide it herself to a much softer place. She then put his hand on his own head.
But this indignity was nothing to George's end. He was a life-long victim of constipation and in 1760, he strained so hard to accomplish his purpose that he suffered a fatal seizure. This moved modern-day royals writer David Randall to suggest he was the only English monarch to die while seated on the throne.
Royal pomposity has known no bounds on many occasions, but it can leave one open to the lethal sucker punch.
Prince Phillip is known to run off at the gob at just about every opportunity, often causing diplomatic incidents by calling the Chinese `slitty eyed' during a visit to China, and suggesting `if it's got legs and isn't a chair, if it's got wings and isn't a plane and if it swims in the sea and isn't a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it'. When presented with an official souvenir by a traditionally-clad Muslim dignitary, The Berk told him 'You look like you're ready for bed'.

For The Magpie, the most telling idiocy's were the ones that give a big tell-tale to the mindset of this drip. During the 1981 Thatcher-inspired recession, The Berk said 'Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.' And during an offical junket, telling Paraguay's brutal dictator Alfredo Stroessner that 'it's nice to be in a country that isn't ruled by its people'.

But Prince Pip met his match when he decided to make merry of the medals dripping from the chest of a Brazilian Admiral. The Berk of Edinburgh inquired if he had won them fighting on the artificial lake in the inland capital of Brazil.

The swift reply was a match-winner. "At least I didn't get them for marrying my wife.''
One up for the boys from Brazil.


  1. I take objection to your reference to Princess Ann being 'horse-like'. I happen to like horses. Well, most of them, anyway. And many of them are quite beautiful, great care having been taken with their breeding programs, resulting in creatures with skills, manners, and genetics which frequently surpass those exhibited by the House of Windsor.

  2. What a simpering lot of kow-towing lickspittles we are. The sight of gooey-eyed citizens falling about themselves to catch a glimpse of a royal ninnyhammer is just plain nauseating. What is it with us colonials that the mere presence of a member of the Royal Inbreds is enough to send us into a frenzy of ecstactic joy, casting aside all notions of dignity? The only thing the beige prince has going for him is that he somehow managed to snag a cracker sheila - whom he sadly left at home.

    Talking of cringeworthy, Old Bird - was that an editorial on Saturday, or was it a press release from our home-grown nobility, the Prince of Home Hill? And today's little offering - from the desk of Drop-Eye Bligh no doubt. Now I really feel sick....