Thursday 8 March 2012

Authenticity and the Queen

The story about the Queen on the Today programme this morning confirmed something I have thought for some time.  Robert Hardman of the Daily Mail described her crossing out the word 'very' from the phrase 'I am very pleased to be in Birmingham' in a speech she was due to give.

"I don't want to fake it," she said, or so they say.

I have wondered for some time whether the Queen's absolutely dreadful manner of delivering her speeches has contributed to her reputation for authenticity.  Any attempt to project her voice, or enthuse or anything to engage people would look like selling herself.  That is one reason, though it is only one reason, why we trust her.

One of the former presidential hopeful Howard Dean's advisors - I can't now remember which - used to say that, for politicians to sound authentic, they have to go off message sometimes.  I think that is true.  You might add that might give consistently and unashamedly boring speeches, with no unconsidered 'verys'.

Will this happen?  Almost certainly not, but the importance of going off-message is hugely important and hardly understood at all by our political elites.

They might also read my book on the subject...

But there is one other reason why we tend to trust the Queen.  It is because it is almost the last national institution that remains clear of corporate influence and sponsorship.  No doubt the Institute of Economic Affairs would like to privatise the monarchy.  I hope we will resist.

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