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Monday, May 29, 2023

‘No to Charles’ Chorus Grows as British Monarchy Pushes for His Succession as Commonwealth Head

Opposition is growing to the British monarchy’s attempt to anoint Prince Charles as the next Head of the Commonwealth group of nations, as a successor to his mother Queen Elizabeth (91).

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent sovereign states, that are mostly former constituents of the British colonial empire, and covers a population of 2.4 billion people. The Queen was proclaimed Head of the Commonwealth at her coronation, and has been lobbying hard to get all nations to back her son as her successor. But succession to lead the organisation is not hereditary, and its a decision that member states need to take.

There are reports in UK newspapers like Guardian that the succession question could be discussed at a “high-level group” of Commonwealth leaders meeting in London, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting to be hosted by the UK in April.

Britain’s dark colonial legacy

But voices like Nalini Mohabir, assistant professor of postcolonial geographies at Concordia University, Montreal, are saying that the next head of the Commonwealth must not be a royal from Britain. They are questioning whether the United Kingdom – and by extension, the British crown – are capable of the moral leadership required to fulfil this role, given that UK is yet to face up to its past and current exploitation of its former colonies?

British leaders have arrogantly dismissed growing calls for Britain to apologise and pay reparations to its former colonies whose economies it ravaged and looted. This postcolonial melancholia, the yearning for a time when Britain was great and a leader in the world off the back of the ’empire’, is widespread – a 2014 YouGov poll conducted in Britain showed that 59% of respondents thought the British empire was “something to be proud of”. Many British elite, who continue to dominate their political class, see Britain’s role during the colonial era as shouldering the “white man’s burden” to spread civilization to the ‘dark and savage’ parts of the world.

This shows the British school system has failed to provide even a cursory history of the empire, and continues to glorify white supremacists like Cecil Rhodes and Winston Churchill, while glossing over colonial atrocities like transatlantic slavery, famines in Bharat, and brutal settler colonial regimes in Zimbabwe and Kenya. Institutions like Oxford continue to breed British colonial arrogance.

A Guardian columnist rightly says – “The devastation of nations by European colonialism goes a long way to explaining extreme poverty and conflict in many parts of the world, and is continued in manifestly unjust trade relations.”

With regards to Bharat, Britain continues to stoke divisive forces within our nation and British Government’s DFID (Department for International Aid) funds dubious NGOs which demonize the majority Hindu population of Bharat and deepen social fault-lines – it is ‘Divide & Rule’ 2.0 all over again.

Pampered, Petulant Prince Charles

A devastating new biography of Prince Charles portrays him as “pampered and petulant”, surrounded by chaos and seething with malice. In ‘Rebel Prince’, investigative author Tom Bower reveals that Charles is a extravagant spender – he and his wife Camilla carry their own bedroom furniture on trips, he gets his own food delivered when invited for meals, and his personal staff has revealed that he throws tantrums at the flimsiest of excuses. Despite a personal income of millions of pound each year from his royal property, Charles is self-indulgent and constantly whines about his ‘bad fortune’, the book reveals.

Buckingham Palace’s autumn 2017 accounts alone showed that the plane used by Charles for a tour around Europe had cost taxpayers a whopping £154,000. And his summer break with Camilla, sailing around the Greek islands on a yacht as guests of shipping magnate Theodore Angelopoulos, confirmed that he was unlikely to yield to any critic. Even Queen Elizabeth fears that Charles’ eccentricities and petulance could threaten the monarchy’s focus on continuity and stability, once he ascends to the throne.

One hopes that at least countries like Bharat and other African nations come together to ensure that a a member of the British monarchy is no longer head of the ‘Commonwealth’, so that this post-colonial club of nations can finally move beyond the terrible colonial legacy it has yet to shake off.

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