By Ewen Stewart – 5 minute read
HER LATE MAJESTY the Queen, even in death, astonishes us.
While I suspect many predicted large crowds, in an age of alleged rationality, globalism and woke conformity to the ‘latest thing’ – who would have thought that literally hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, would queue for 12 hours to file past Her Majesty, lying in State, to show their support for the exact antipathies of all we are told modernity stands for?
I was in Edinburgh last week and made my way to The Royal Mile for the late Queen’s last journey from Holyrood to St Giles. The crowds were extraordinary and there were more young than old by a margin. As the cortege passed there was literally a cathedral-like hush punctuated by a barking dog and the solemn sound of the muffled cannon blasting its salute, as if from some medieval scene taking place at Edinburgh Castle. But this was no medieval scene, as I am sure Sturgeon witnessed from behind the couch. This was 21st century Britain.
The Mall may be the epicentre of Monarchy with its wide boulevard and flag poles exactly every 50 yards apart, all perfect and ironed. But surely the true tapestry, closest to what really has made Britain so unique, had to be at the Royal Mile, the higgledy, piggledy ancient heart?
Cobbled and narrow, with its castle at one end, palace at the other and punctuated by the Mercat Cross where Monarchs and War are proclaimed to a myriad of five, six, seven story tenements in various states of repair, were graced by old ladies and young babies leaning out the windows to view their Monarch.
Edinburgh’s old town is spontaneous, unplanned, hierarchical where lairds and paupers shared a common close, damp and dank but somehow majestic. No false centralised planning where the apparatchik stamps his absurd seal of approval.
It would not have been the same if the procession had taken place in the planned classical façade of pretend, posh Edinburgh’s New Town. The old town is organic, ancient and human, the New Town grand for sure, but rational and cold.
Who knows the motivations of the assembled throngs? Some were undoubtedly there in reverence and thanks while others perhaps voyeuristically, but I wager almost none were republican, woke or a follower of Sturgeon. All can only have wondered in marvel at this glimpse of an almost medieval pilgrimage reminding the assembled of the fake rationalism of our tawdry age.
The last ten days have broadly been a vision of a traditionally conservative world that the mass media, politicians and ‘rational’ bureaucracy believed they had banished. ‘Free trade,’ travel and culture wars was to have destroyed loyalty, patriotism and history but it is not quite so simple.
That said I fear this inter-regnum of pleasantries will soon descend back into the screeching culture war where the few attempt to enforce their will on the many and indifferent. Perhaps one of the reasons Britain has so mourned Elizabeth R is the subliminal understanding that the world we grew up in is vanishing, not out of some rational march of history as the liberal mind would believe, but because our politicians have deliberately chosen without any mandate so to do.
Elizabeth reminded people of a gentler age of community, faith and family and one where her Ministers did not interfere in every aspect of life, public and private – or undermine the cohesiveness and continuity of the nation. This was a cry to rediscover that lost world.
We now have not just a new Monarch but a new political beginning. Johnson’s statist world is gone. It is far too soon to judge the new Government but it would do well to learn some lessons from the last ten days extraordinary outpouring.
Despite the sneering BBC and Guardian classes there remains millions of people who believe in this country and believe it has been a force for good. They are not utopians. They understand life has challenges. The Royal Family surely has its own. Andrew and Megan are indeed testimony to that, but beliefs are deep and not blown off course by short term difficulty or expediency
Conservatives with a small c believe in family, personal responsibility and freedom. We generally believe in community and nation too. Despite the so called ‘right wing party’ winning election after election we have found our world destroyed. What is joyous however is for a brief period state hostility to our world is suspended allowing a glimpse of what could be.
This is not the place to discuss how, or why, the forces of conservatism have been almost banished from wider political life , but it has and the revolution undermining our general beliefs continues its assault from a permanent bureaucracy, let’s call it the civil service, media (BBC in particular) and academia who are intensely hostile to our beliefs. Some of this is home-grown, some is a result of international treaty, quangocracy and a deliberate attempt to destroy the meaning of the nation that we understand and cherish.
We saw vast crowds of good patriotic people paying their respects to their understanding of a loyal and great Monarch but also what it is to be British. I would guess most of those people probably share to some extent our world vision. They are not the woke, the left, or the sneering.
I would, however, also garner that many, probably most, in that crowd do not recognise the extent of the challenge our country faces, or if they do it is in ‘weak form.’ They may be reassured in the knowledge they are not alone but let’s be frank, the people turning up to pay respect to the Queen may be many but they are very far from power and influence. Most people, if there is bread on the table, are simply not that interested in politics, go back to their town, and indulge in their hobbies and family. That is a great and good thing.
Most people too, although possibly not the readership of Global Britain’s blog, are highly susceptible to accepting what they are told. They are not experts, for example if Sweden had a better lockdown than us and while they probably are aware of different approaches, their innate patriotism to do what they are told is ‘the right thing’ and a desire not to have ‘been made fools of’ tends to mean they won’t pay too much attention to the concerns I raise until it effects them.
In an age when the Conservative party has been globalist, woke and has been economically illiterate (I sincerely hope the Truss Government starts to undo the harm of previous Governments) – and the other main parties are even worse – it leaves people very few places to go. They are told in the media, at school, on TV that we must repent for our wicked ways and support ‘the next thing.’
Many may be sceptical but as they don’t think it effects them, or they don’t want to rock the boat, they just keep their head down. More so in an age where the mainstream media refuse to engage in debating alternative ideas and indeed closes debate down deliberately that creates a big problem.
Most readers of this site understand our nation is facing perhaps the greatest existential challenge it has faced outside war. In some senses the challenge is even greater given the degree of groupthink in the media and the globalist nature of the threat.
However, while our institutions are now largely Culturally Marxist, the vast majority of people don’t really buy into the revolution. They prefer to pretend it’s not happening and mow the lawn.
In the 1970’s the challenge was largely economic. Today it is existential and covers the entire gambit of what it is to belong to the West and indeed what being British is. I will remind readers however that the 1980’s response was a single minded leader, Margaret Thatcher, who didn’t have much support in her first cabinet and therefore acted timidly at first.
Let us hope that in the passing of one Monarch there is a stirring and greater understanding that we must row back against what has been lost. We perhaps have been strengthened by the vast and good crowds who still believe in this country, its quiet, strange and individual ways and perhaps it can be a route map to start to regain our ancient freedoms that secular ‘here today gone tomorrow’ politicians have taken from us.
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Ewen Stewart is a City Economist whose career has spanned over 30 years. He is Director of Global Britain and his work is widely published in economics and political journals.