I have long-held the view that having a hereditary monarchy is totally and completely out of place in a modern, democratic country. Nobody should yield power or receive status and privilege simply because they were born in a private hospital or palace – just as no-one should miss out on opportunities or be disadvantaged because they started life in a council house.
As much as I acknowledge the many years of service The Queen has given to this country – which she has done with great dignity and commitment – I am pleased to say that in my lifetime the role and relevance of the Royal Family has been in steady decline. I am a respecter of history and tradition but I believe that much of what the Royal Family and monarchy represents belongs in the past and in a museum. It is therefore perplexing to find the Royals dominating my week, including in my Birkdale butchers today.
I cannot move without seeing The Queen on my TV or Twitter feed – in fairness that probably says more about me than her. My TV viewing and surfing of news and social media has today focused around Parliament in Westminster and horses near Windsor! Whether it’s the state opening of parliament, Royal Ascot, the Duke of Edinburgh’s hospital admission, Jeremy Corbyn’s non-bowing today, or Her Majesty’s EU style hat, the royals are everywhere. By the way, it was nice to see, as others pointed out on Twitter, The Queen take one of her children to her work today!
But even closer to home the royals continue to dominate. Just a few minutes walk from the Team Jones base camp, preparations are well-advanced in time for the 146th Open Golf Championship with another royal connection; being held at the magnificent Royal Birkdale Golf Club. There is a growing buzz around Birkdale and Southport in anticipation for the world’s great golfers and the world’s media descending for eight days of exceptional sport. It is fantastic for the local economy and a brilliant boost in profile for the many wonderful golf courses in the area – mine included at Southport and Ainsdale – as we are already seeing increased numbers of visitors – many from overseas – enjoying the ‘English golf coast’.
The final local royal connection came today when shopping in the village for dinner. The brilliant ‘Brough’s’ the butchers is an institution in these parts – itself getting into the swing (pardon the pun!) of Open fever with two golf club-swinging pigs making imposing ornaments in the shop doorway. I was looking for their local pork specialities, Birkdale royals, and was disappointed to find there were none. Perhaps, given all the focus on ‘the firm’, there has been a rush on these bangers today. Either way I came home with just a basic, simple, straightforward sausage – nothing regal for me.
Perhaps that’s how it should be and what I deserve, given how sniffy I have been about the royals. In other news, I’m having better luck at Royal Ascot – although not enough luck to buy a palace or even a string of sausages.