I read a tweet this morning that made me blink - no, not the one I already posted about. This one was a bit more serious, and I made a fairly cool reply. I expected to forget about it, but twelve hours later it's still annoying me.
The author of said tweet was someone called Lisa Bloom, who I'm not really familiar with. I followed her because she wrote an excellent article on raising little girls with the focus on their intelligence, rather than their looks. Most of her tweets are intelligent and positive, and I've no problem with her.
Then this morning, this:
"Hard to get excited about new gender equality for UK royal succession
since they'll still all be white, rich and NOT ELECTED by anyone."
OK. Well. As I replied to her; the royal family - recent revelations about Charles notwithstanding - do not, or are not supposed to, shape government policy. So how is their 'unelected' status relevant to anything? They're figureheads. Sure, the Queen gives permission for a government to be formed, and dissolved, and technically has the power to stop any bill becoming law. But it's all done by convention. The Queen would no more veto a bill than she'd grow another head. She would never stop an elected Prime Minister forming a government, because that's not how things are done.
A lot of our 'constitution' is made up of conventions, rules that we treat as laws, even though they're officially not. That's what comes of having a Parliament that's around eight hundred years old, though admittedly the monarch was more involved for the first four hundred years or so. Yes, we have an unelected Head of State. Does that Head of State do anything that directly controls the lives of her citizens? No. More people complain about the unelected nature of the House of Lords, than the Queen. That's understandable, as the Lords are involved with shaping our laws (should also point out, that while they have to pass our laws, they can also be bypassed. So it's not like these unelected people have the very final word, if the government wants to get something through badly enough).
I would also point out that in the UK, after any given general election, we generally end up with a government that more than fifty per cent of the people in the country did not vote for. Tony Blair ruled with, I believe, 39% of the vote. Gordon Brown, 36% (stats from memory, so not 100% accurate). I have never voted Labour in my life. They still got to run the country. And some American is mouthing off about the Queen being unelected? Please.
As for rich, and white - last I heard, that wasn't a crime, dude. Again, look to government. The majority of politicians in power - rich and white. And yes, that's sad, and wrong. But they have influence. Government should definitely be more diverse. But the royals = not Government. They're a family. There are many, many families in Britain - mine included - that are entirely white. We're not rich, but we're not poor either. Should we be getting slagged off on Twitter, because none of us have, yet, married a person of colour?
I like to think that if Prince Harry wanted to marry a black woman, or an Asian woman, or anyone non-white, that it'd be fine. There would undoubtedly be comment on it, and we'd never know what conversations went on behind closed doors. But in this day and age, guess what? The royals are not the archaic, blind institution they once were. No matter what private thoughts on the matter were, they would never be able to stop Harry marrying someone of colour, because of the PR angle. It's bound to happen eventually, and when it does, I hope that no one gets on Twitter and starts sighing with relief about how the royals have finally stopped being a racist, outmoded organisation, with some kind of agenda. They're people. OK, there are expectations of them, but that's as much the media as actual knowledge about them themselves. If Harry married a black girl, you can bet your bottom dollar it'd be all the talking heads, and satire merchants, and spin doctors that would get all up in arms about it.
I don't know. Stuff like this bugs the hell out of me. And much as I don't like what it says about me, I have to admit - the majority of my ire, I think, comes from this comment coming from an American. Given Lisa Bloom's background as a Yale-educated lawyer, and an author, I would have expected better. You know what, Lisa Bloom? Your country elected its first black President three years ago. Three. Not three hundred. Three. Every single other President before that? Rich and white. We've had monarchs in this country for thousands of years, and the current lady that sits on the throne can trace her line back to William the Conqueror, in 1066. This lady was not brought up to sit on the throne, but had it forced upon her. And she didn't bitch and moan, or run away because it didn't suit, like her uncle did. She took responsibility, and has given her life to what she sees as her duty. As of next February, she'll have been doing the job for sixty years. And you know what? Any Prime Minister, any President in the world, would give their right arm for the kind of approval ratings she's had during that time. Including yours. So bag on your own Head of State, and STFU about ours.
...right. OK. I feel better now. /royalist rant