Prince William’s decision to wear the uniform of the Irish Guards when he married in Westminster Abbey today was welcomed as a tribute to soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.
The red tunic also added an elegant dash to a stunning, harmonious and happy occasion, watched by an estimated one million people in London and by many more on TV and the internet around the world.
Much has been made of the wedding costs to a cash-strapped UK. But I am sure the money will be recouped many times over in terms of tourism revenue alone.
Unpopular as the war in Afghanistan rightly is with the British, the people can distinguish between the soldiers who demonstrate bravery and discipline in a war zone and the often criminal governments which engineer those wars for the profit of corporations, and it will certainly have given a big boost to soldiers and their families to see that William has not forgotten them on his wedding day.
The Chilcot inquiry and other investigations have shown the extent to which the then Prime Minister Tony Blair deceived the public and parliament on the grounds for the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
I, for one, thought it was a good thing that this war criminal was not invited to the royal wedding. Blair was snubbed along with his partner in crime, Gordon Brown, who helped engineer the collapse of the financial system for the profit of the banks. Unfortunately, the current Prime Minister David Cameron, who is continuing with their policies, attended the royal wedding but his exclusion would have been unrealistic by any measure.
William’s decision to wear the uniform of the Irish Guards may “also reflect the Royal family’s wish to demonstrate the strengthening of ties between London and Dublin ahead of the Queen’s historic state visit to Ireland next month;” according to The Telegraph.
Certainly, the visit by the Queen is taking place at a very difficult time in Ireland’s history when it has just lost its sovereignty yet again – and this time to the EU, IMF and a banking cartel imposing a crushing and penal forced loan.
However, it is very clear to the people of Ireland that the culprits who must bear the ultimate responsibility for this disaster are Irish as anyone can see who reads the Irish media. It is the outrageous personal corruption and cynicism of 100 or so leading figures in Irish banks, government, media and regulators which have played the biggest role in the impoverishment and subjugation of Ireland.
The Irish must surely press for a proper inquiry into the bank scandal as Joan Burton proposes.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and his crony in the Irish Times Dan O’Brien have recently tried to pin the sole blame on the ECB for forcing the penal loan on Ireland.
But as Fionnan Sheahan points out in the Irish Independent, Lenihan was responsible for many of the decisions that led to the disastrous EU and IMF intervention, and he has also consistently misled the public. Cowan, Lenihan, Noonan, Kenny – these are the names that are already written down the book of history for their incredible act of treachery, and it is high time for a proper investigation.
The current banking crisis in Ireland underlines the fact that just because someone is Irish does not make them automatically a saint or even a patriot. Likewise, just become someone is a member of the British royal family, it does not make them automatically a villain.
The Queen’s father George VI did not have to go to war against Nazi Germany, for example. His older brother would have been quite happy to have made a pact with Adolf Hitler, it appears. It was George VI’s character that determined his decision to fight for the cause of freedom, and it would be unfair to refuse someone the respect that they deserve because of their own actions just because of their ancestors or their relatives.
Anyone, surely, with any sense of fair play must also recognise that William is a man of great strength of character with a good heart and good mind. In this day and age, when the world is suffering from such a dearth of leaders of integrity and intelligence, William stands out. He may not have political power but as a future king he does have great symbolic power. The proper function of a leader is to inspire people. This is what William does.
Prince Philip made a cynical remark that it was naive of Plato not to realise that the “elite”, the philosopher kings, the “processed paragons” as he called them, would not take advantage of their power, thereby showing the world that he has never read The Republic or understood a word of it.
If he had really read The Republic, he would know the entire book is, in fact, about this very problem. Half the book is about how to produce and create incorruptible characters and the other half about the devastation that leaders with corrupted characters wreck on their states.
Philip has failed to grasp the distinction between a character that has not been corrupted simply because it has not had any opportunities to indulge itself and an incorruptible character that is so strong and so unwavering in its commitment to a higher purpose that it will never succumb to corruption under any circumstances. This distinction is what Plato’s book is all about.
The closest we can see to such an inspiring figure in a prominent leadership position today, in the UK at any rate, is William, and it would be very unfair to refuse to acknowledge his merits simply because he is a member of the British monarchy.
The Brits are rightly proud that they have produced such a great potential leader because it is not self evident. Just look at the equivalent in Germany, Karl-Thedor zu Guttenberg, currently facing a criminal probe because he cynically plagiarised his doctoral thesis.
And the Irish can take a pride, too, in William choosing to wear the uniform of the Irish Guards together with the country’s symbols of a shamrock and harp.
William serves in the RAF as a search and rescue pilot, but he is also an honorary colonel in the Irish Guards just as the Queen is.
For the Irish right now, there is no more urgent task than holding those leaders in the government, banking and regulators responsible for the current financial disaster to account - and as soon as possible.
Let’s hope Irish nationalists do not divert attention from this gigantic financial crime by huffing and puffing about the Queen’s historic visit next month, the first by a British monarch since the Irish Republic was founded.
I am sure the Irish are much too fair minded not to show the Queen the courtesy and respect she deserves on the basis of her own actions and service during her visit to the country next month.
If there is one strength of the Irish, then it is surely that they recognise that whether a person of integrity is a char woman or a Queen, they deserve respect in equal measure .