Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Royal Snub to the Labour Party

The huge, and I mean HUGE news is that while William and Kate have invited all the dictators of the world to their wedding (the Crown Prince of Bahrain, King Mswati III of Swaziland, Saudi tyrants and Robert Mugabe's personal ambassador to London), they have deliberately excluded two Labour former PMs (whilst inviting former Tory PMs).

We've had a ton of excuses come out from the palace - that this isn't a state wedding (ah, so the ambassador from Mugabe is William's personal friend, is he? Shades of Edward VIII). And the whole business of "knights of the garter" (how does that apply to Guy Ritchie)?

What is clear is that the Royal Family is breaking with over a century of tradition where the head of state stays neutral, and is deliberately picking a fight with a major political party.

It changes the constitution more than any referendum to change the voting system.

Blair's exclusion is particularly interesting as the only reason we have a monarchy at the moment is because Blair used his political capital to rescue them in 1997. At the time, many of us Labourites shook our heads and wondered at him. Republicanism was riding high, the Labour party was riding high, and Blair was at his zenith. If he'd have withdrawn his support from the House of Windsor, they'd have collapsed.

Looking back, he is probably wondering why he bothered to help them.

One thing is clear - a future Labour PM will view the monarchy as a biased institution that is opposed to our party and our Labour voters i.e. our enemy. When the next royal crisis comes - and it will come - it is unlikely that the next Labour PM will do a Blair. We're more likely to do a Baldwin.