Heart and head are split over the monarchy. The moral case for a Republic is unassailable, yet I was filled with delight at yesterday’s pageantry. How to rationalise this?
I think it’s a form of what we call Making The Best of a Bad Job. A useful comparison is with the Premier League, a more regular spectacle. The way that league is commercially arranged is clearly damaging to football as a whole, and ticket-buying fans do not get value for money. Yet that doesn’t stop us thrilling at another close run title race, or another brilliant goal by the most obnoxious of the overpaid stars, Wayne Rooney.
In the sphere of politics, I entirely object to the counter-productive format of Prime Minister’s Questions, a barrier if ever there was one to reasoned policy-making. Yet, while it exists, I can enjoy the event and value the fact that our leaders can be held to account in such a robust manner.
So it with the Royal Wedding. I can hold that the Hereditary principle has no place, however ceremonial, in modern politics. But while it exists I can enjoy a history lesson that incorporates Bank Holiday drinking, street parties (including one in London a quarter of a million people strong), and the the pinnacle of UK fashion design. This not principle in action, but pragmatism. Making do with what we have. A very British trait, no?