Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Crown of Australia

The Australian Prime Minister's raising of the republican issue in the late stages of the General Election campaign there is commented on by the Radical Royalist, and his comments are a corrective to the frequent inevitabilist arguments in the press.

Not a few people fail to realise how comprehensive was the defeat of the issue in the 1999 referendum. To effect such a change in the Australian constitution required a four-fold majority of votes and states, and failed on all counts - and that was on a proposal essentially drafted by the republican activists in the convention. As an active Australian monarchist pointed out to me years ago in a conversation in Oriel such a change is far more difficult to achieve than its proponents think, or wish it to be.

The Oriel connection reminds me that in 1999 the college JCR passed a vote of censure on the previous Provost and former Governor-General of Australia, Sir Zelman Cowan, for having been the only ex-Governor-General to come out in favour of a republic. Now that's the sort of student activism I approve of...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to self-promote, but if it is of any interest... - http://www.respublica.org.uk/blog/2010/08/why-monarchy-matters