<em>By Joe Hildebrand
The move by Australian republic campaigners to hitch their cause to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is the dumbest political decision since Malcolm Fraser took off his trousers in Memphis.
It is the equivalent of buying a secondhand Jayco caravan and hitching it to a runaway dumpster.
The republican debate is what upper middle class progressives resort to when they have run out of real problems, which obviously happens quickly and is probably what attracted them to Harry and Meghan in the first place.
Just imagine being so absurdly overprivileged and precious that you tallied up the favourable press mentions of you versus your sister-in-law, or felt that you had no choice but to move to a Malibu mansion after a relative wondered what your baby might look like.
And now just imagine being so bereft of genuine hardship that in the red raw wake of a global pandemic where almost a million of your countrymen and women are jobless and hundreds of thousands more have had their livelihoods shredded you think it’s the perfect time to start talking about replacing a titular head of state who does little more than wave at people and look vaguely displeased from time to time.
Little wonder the republican movement is so heavily populated with millionaires. The middle class are too busy shitting themselves over whether they’ll be living in their house in 12 months’ time and the working class are scratching around the back of the couch in the hope of finding some loose change or the Labor Party.
If someone put a gun to my head and said I had to choose between monarchy and republic I’d probably go with republic, but given the infinite rolodex of far more pressing problems I’d want to be sure that it was a real gun and after the stomach-churning sookfest that was vomited upon our screens this week I’d also want to check that it was loaded.
Because that is the sorry core of the whole molten shitshow we have seen over recent days: The chasmic disconnect between the new woke progressive left that views everything through the prism of grievance and identity – be it national identity, racial identity or gender identity and the invisible forces that apparently oppress them all – and the traditional idea that real progress is about helping those who are the worst off instead of those who whinge the most.
Even just a decade or two ago it would have been impossible to imagine a scenario in which two people with the title of Duke and Duchess could be flagbearers of progressive politics because their children would not be given princehoods or they had to Google the words to God Save The Queen. And yet here we are.
So much so that a tsunami of woke activist outrage led to the resignation of Piers Morgan – who made his name as editor of the UK’s left-wing Daily Mirror – for daring to suggest that he didn’t believe Meghan Markle’s innumerable dubious claims.
Now I don’t particularly like Piers Morgan nor do I particularly dislike him. But what I do dislike is the notion that he should have been forced to apologise for saying what I suspect most British – and indeed Australian – people were thinking.
And even if they weren’t thinking it, are we now at the point where people must repent or be disappeared if they hold the wrong opinions?
Clearly yes. The West, or at least the people who dominate it, has now become a culture in which what you do is less important than what you say. A gaffe is sackable while deadly incompetence is not. Anyone in any doubt of this need only check the Linked-in profiles of Eddie McGuire and Andrew Cuomo and see which one got the arse and which one got an Emmy.
I also remember the good old days when workers blamed the bosses for oppressing them. Now a pair of aristocrats blame the servants for oppressing them and get lauded by the new left for speaking their “truth”. You honestly couldn’t make this stuff up, although in fairness only the most dystopian sociopath would want to.
Fortunately there’s a pretty simple way to expose the difference between real progressivism and rudderless narcissism. Instead of talking about inequality – which millionaires use to complain about billionaires and secondary princesses use to complain about primary princesses – we could start talking about disadvantage.
In Nigeria, a nation of more than 200 million people, a 2019 report by its own bureau of statistics found 40 per cent of the population lived below the official poverty line of approximately one US dollar a day. It is one of 54 Commonwealth countries that Harry and Meghan have abandoned their duties to.
India, the most populous Commonwealth country, topped the World Hunger List in 2015, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation finding that almost 200 million people were “undernourished” – a polite word for starving. Australia’s own Walk Free foundation found in 2016 there were more than 18 million Indians living in slavery.
So tell me again, Duke and Duchess, about how much you have suffered. And tell me again, all you crusaders of outrage, about the conversations we really need to have
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