Our poor old Queen

Keith Hudson

Is our 83 year-old Queen to be given no rest?  Within the past week she’s been shuffled off to Germany to help Prime Minister Cameron deal with the far stronger (and brighter) Angela Merkel who threatens (and will . . . undoubtedly succeed) to prevent any change to the European Union Treaty.  And then, yesterday, the Queen was flown up to Edinburgh to help Cameron deal with the far stronger (and brighter) Nicola Sturgeon who threatens (and will undoubtedly succeed) in breaking away from England (more accurately, from London) in order to become an independent Scotland again.

It is, of course, not Cameron who is bossing the Queen about.  It is her royal courtiers — more precisely, a very important sub-section of the civil service that is subservient to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, the chief of the civil service and by far the most powerful man in the United Kingdom — only tenuously united these days.  Sir Jeremy hasn’t got total power, of course.  He has to bear in mind past historical developments such as the power of the mob (and the consequent fear of revolutions) during the 19th century and the necessity of carrying out General Elections every few years and dealing with notional political  governments of either the left or the right from time to time.

Political governments are not always easy to manipulate and control, and sometimes the civil srvice has to give way for a while if there appears to be strong popular demand in the country for this policy or that.  Also, senior civil servants, being human, are themselves subject to passing political fashions on the left or the right as they sweep through the culture of these islands.  So the control of Sir Jeremy Heywood is not as total as perhaps he would like, but as we never see him or hear him on television the electorate have no way of judging what sort of person he is.  In fact, if you were to ask the general public who the chief of the civil service is, not one person in a thousand would be able to name him.

Because the dissolution of the United Kingdom is not far off — according to a recent forecast by Nicola Sturgeon — we can readily understand why the Queen should have been flown up to Scotland, but why should she have been sent to Germany and to carry out a tiring series of engagements there?  Another fact of the civil service, which also not one person in a thousand in this country is aware of, is that the European Union is much more a product of various European civil services since the Second World War than of the politicians themselves.  The EU — and thus the Brussels bureaucracy — is far more important to all the civil services of the main European members than to the politicians of whom the public are duped into thinking are the main policy-makers and decision-takers.

David Cameron has proved to be very wishy-washy over the matter of the EU in the past few years.  This is why our Queen, who ought to have been allowed to retire a long time ago, is still hard at work in the service of Sir Jeremy Heywood and his clique.

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