By former Olympian and Conservative parliamentary candidate Alex Story.

“Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field”, Edmund Burke wrote in Reflections on the Revolution in France, published in 1790, a year after the storming of the Bastille.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the subsequent proclamation of King Charles III, along with the genuine and deeply felt show of support for the institution of the Monarchy on these Islands and beyond our shores to the 150 million subjects scattered across three continents shows us that Edmund Burke’s musings were as accurate then as they are now.

For decades grasshoppers have importuned us, the great cattle reposing in the shadow of the Great British oak.

For the first time in seven decades, the Great British people had the opportunity to show the professional revolutionary class their irrelevance.

The Monarchy was an anachronism, they repeated, uncontested. The establishment of a Republic was inevitable, they maintained with the certainty of a tone-death bore.

Only the Queen held the shrivelling institution in her ageing hands. Charles, her son, would be doomed to follow in the modern equivalent of his forebear and namesake, Charles I.

However, for the first time in seven decades, the Great British people had the opportunity to show the professional revolutionary class their irrelevance.

Their hopes for another new dawn were systematically dismantled with every rendition of “God Save the King”, sung by all with an emotive tear of earnest pride filling the corner of their eye.

For a moment, however brief, the question: “What does it mean to be a Brit anyway?” was answered in a tidal wave of support, the more impressive for being completely sincere and unguarded.

The proclamation, with its ancient texts, seeped in Christian traditions and worldview, reminded us of our cultural and historical depth.

The language of yesteryear was brought back in its full Shakespearian and living majesty – What a contrast to the grey and glory-free bureaucratic semantics we were increasingly fed by much our leadership caste.

Having witnessed Charles III’s address to Parliament, Labour Peer, Lord Glasman said ‘it was genuinely sublime.’ Quite so.

When and where else can such beautiful language be used when describing a country’s constitutional machine at work? Such is our rich inheritance though. Such is Britannica. We didn’t choose her. However, instinctively we know we, as British subjects, are the happy few, the band of brothers. It is abundantly clear that this great institution is not in any way an anachronism. Indeed, it cannot be. It lives. As such, it adapts. It remains deeply legitimate.

Looking across the channel and beyond, we can perhaps venture the thought that ours is the only truly legitimate system of governance left across much of Europe and the world.

Its legitimacy is based on inherited rights and established custom. With every year that passes, the roots of the Great British Oak reach deeper into the affection of our (inter) national family. In short, the Cattle have walked away from the irritating Grasshoppers. They, unfortunately, will not stay put and remain in an empty field.

After all, they need the Cattle’s dung on which to feed. Momentarily, they are stunned, proven wrong and ignored. However, as night follows day, they will follow, and with it their grating racket.

When the British people go back to their daily chores, there will be a small opening for them to try to make themselves relevant again. They will then mistake the eventual shortening of queues in front of our country’s many Palaces and the drop in the sale of Monarchist paraphernalia for a drop in support for the institution itself. As such, they will allow themselves to opine, in the echo chamber of their delusions, that we ought to become a Republic because “in our day and age” that’s what Progress demands.

Simultaneously ahistorical and parochial, they are too lazy to understand the past and too certain about the future to look sideways to France, our nearest neighbour.

From January 1789 to 2022, France had five republics, four monarchical systems, three revolutions, two empires and a fascist interlude from 1940 to 1944. That is to say, in the 233 years since La Bastille was stormed, France, then the eldest daughter of the Church, has seen a meaningful constitutional change every 15 years on average – to what end we might ask?

Beyond France, much the same could be said about Germany, Austria and Italy. Indeed, once a revolution starts, it never really ends.

It is this exasperating tune with which the grasshoppers in the media, academe, and many in our official institutions have been hoping to seduce us for decades.

Perhaps more importantly, if we think about the constant debates about the status of the Monarchy in the United Kingdom and apply it to many other fields, we realise that much of the demand for the societal change we have witnessed over the last seventy years came from them, never us.

We start to see that the breakdown of the family, Rotherham and Telford, the Police dancing the Macarena, while ignoring burglaries, and much was never inevitable.

It was forced on a population that was either never asked or whose silence was interpreted as acquiescence because it was just too damn busy living.

As a result, we allowed a handful of often wealthy and entitled dilettantes to experiment with a system that was never really broken. 

We cannot, unfortunately, ask the Great British Cattle to turn into Grasshoppers and drone on about “the need for change”, but we can take solace that when the situation demands it, we stand united, strong and noble.

God Save the King!

Follow Alex Story on Twitter.

Picture by Rory Arnold / No 10 Downing Street – licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Well said Alex. I am surrounded by grasshoppers who believe I think like them, and who often chant to me using inclusive sounds. Recently, they have been silenced, and when they do start to chirp about it, it is now with a conciliatory tune.

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