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Ron Bendell: Keep status quo and get on with life as we know it

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 26, 2012

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Under the headline "Kate Topless Photos: Latest" the cover of the current edition of the satirical magazine Private Eye shows a beaming Duke of Cambridge advising his lovely bride to "Get your writs out, darling!"

Yes, what with the long lenses of the paparazzi, the Las Vegas antics of Prince Harry and the continuing foot-in-mouth gaffes of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Royals are always there to provide a bit of humour, albeit of an "Oooh Matron" variety.

But if you think that enough is enough and these in-breds should be shoved off the news stands and consigned to the dustbin of history to make way for people of a more sober disposition, can I suggest you drive down to Truro Community Library this Saturday afternoon to meet those of a similar mind. However, I have a feeling there won't be many of you.

The anti-monarchy group Republic will be staging a summit ahead of a campaign to get rid of the vast Duchy of Cornwall, an important step, they say, in reforms that will leave us with an elected head of state. Good luck to them, and all that, but who will turn up? Yes, there will be a few representing the small republican minority but I doubt if there will be many converts.

Despite his tree-hugging, naïve views on organic farming and expensive biscuits, Prince Charles has always been bit of a favourite in Cornwall and the wider South West and I can't imagine many wanting to swap his benign influence for some commissariat to take over his property any time soon. As for a claim by Republic that he brings undemocratic influence to bear on political decisions, surely that is true of many, from Bob Geldof to Shami Chakrabarti. It's been some time, too, since we have seen Tony Benn's name on a ballot paper but he continues to stick his oar in.

As for the royalty business as a whole, in Jubilee year it all still seems pretty popular – even those puerile jokes can be seen as a sign of affection.

There have always been bodies such as Republic but they never seem to make much headway. Perhaps it was that chap Cromwell who, on taking office, immediately banned singing and dancing. On a more global front, we can see that our own Queen, for example, is cheaper to run that France's president and a kingdom such as Sweden offers much more liberalism than a republic such as Iran. And, in Italy, it was not an unelected sovereign who introduced bunga bunga parties?

We can only hope that the disappointment that will surely follow the event at Truro will not lead the vociferous few to adopt the more radical and potentially lethal tactics proposed by their counterparts in the more extreme reaches of the animal welfare movement.

In the same way that I am often amazed at the way "peace" campaigners are ready to resort to violence when they get bit of a strop on, it has been astonishing to see the threats made over the past week or so to South West farmers willing to take part in the badger cull.

Following official sanction to carry out the control measures in Gloucestershire and Somerset, animal rights activists have promised to conduct a war of "annoyance" at supermarkets stocking milk from the affected areas. They promise to gum up cash machines with superglue and dump trolleys of milk at checkouts.

Simple, childish stuff but others have been much more menacing and of the "we know where you live" variety.

Now I'm not suggesting for one moment that honest searchers for political reform should be linked in any way with the lunatic fringe of the "We Love Brock" community but both have one thing in common. They're banging their heads against the wall.

The great majority – very often a silent one – know that badgers must be controlled otherwise we shall say goodbye to what's left of our dwindling livestock industry. In the same way those who want to sack Prince Charles and his mother are going to have to get used to the idea that most of us want the status quo. Ironically, that's how democracy should work.

Most of us will not be waving a republican banner this weekend, nor donning a balaclava helmet ahead of burning down a cow shed, but getting on with life as we want it and hoping that no one rocks the boat. We may also spend an hour or so giggling at Private Eye.

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