The abdication of the king ends Spain’s imperfect transition

Handout  released by the Spanish Royal House shows Spain's King Juan Carlos posing for his new official portraitsTranslated from the original by Vicenç Navarro

The message that the Spanish establishment – the power structure for the financial, economic, political and media elite – has been promoting 24  hours a day, three hundred sixty five days a year and through thirty- six years of democracy, is that, as result of a model Transition, Spain has enjoyed a democracy homologous to any Western European democracy, that under the direction and supervision of the King of Spain the country achieved levels of welfare and quality of life similar, if not better, than the rest of the European Union. The King, whose power derives from the Dictator, was the architect of representative and democratic institutions that actually meant a break with the previous regime. This is the idealized vision of the Transition, which produced democracy, and the role of the monarch in that process that the Big Media and mass means of persuasion have constantly repeated over the years. The complete lack of ideological diversity of the media ( with a very marked discrimination against the left ) explains that this view has become conventional wisdom in the country. Continue reading

A King is born

Crown of India by Pietro & Silvia, at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ImperialCrownOfIndia2.jpgWhile I’ve been writing this, we – Her Majesty’s subjects – have been allowed to learn that a baby boy, weighing 8lbs 6oz was born to the Royal couple at 25 past four this afternoon. Whoopie-doo. Now, I can just about remember the last time the media was dominated by Royal baby hysteria. The year was 1982, and on that occasion too a nation steeped in reverence for its monarchy eagerly awaited the birth of an heir. But then there was only three channels, the radio and the press.

Now, well, thanks to social media it’s arguably much more difficult to escape from. And more fraught too – have you been appalled by someone who should know better gushing over the Royal offspring? Continue reading

Prince Charles: tax dodging, accountability and arrogance

Prince CharlesThe royal family, opinion polls told us last year, is enjoying its highest ever level of support – 80% favour the country remaining a monarchy including 74% of Labour supporters so this is not a propitious time to launch a campaign for a republic in Britain. However, Charles Windsor seems to be doing his best on behalf of socialists and republicans to bring the monarchy into disrepute by insisting, in his latest multi-million pound property deals, that he is neither accountable for his actions nor liable for taxes on his profits. His arrogance knows no bounds. Continue reading

Hilary Mantel on Kate Middleton

Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character. She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture. Diana was capable of transforming herself from galumphing schoolgirl to ice queen, from wraith to Amazon. Kate seems capable of going from perfect bride to perfect mother, with no messy deviation.

The rest of Mantel’s heresy is hereI bet the London Review of Books have never known such a page load spike. Continue reading

Two Milibands, One Nation, One Monarchy

The late Ralph Miliband made his name as a Marxist theoretician through detailed elaboration of the proposition that the Labour Party can do absolutely nothing for the working class. His two boys, or so the lefty joke has it, have very loyally done their best to prove the old man right.

Now it looks as if Ed is trying to vindicate his father’s analysis of Britain’s royal family as well. On p.189 of his 1973 book, The State in Capitalist Society, Ralph displayed a sophisticated understanding of how the bourgeoisie utilises the House of Windsor for its own ideological ends: Continue reading