David Cameron is playing down the effect the Royal Wedding will have on the 5th May
elections, especially the AV referendum. Fleet Street’s having none of it however. On the one hand, Benedict Brogan can already hear the pops of champagne corks in the No to AV
campaign offices. He reasons:
‘One consequence of the Royal wedding will be to make it even more difficult for AV supporters to get their campaign motoring in time for the referendum.’
On the other, Alex Barker
makes the case for the Lib Dems’ Yes to AV campaign. He has a three point-plan, centring on low turnout following reduced campaign time. This, he thinks, will benefit those concerned about
the injustice of the current system, rather than its die-hard defenders.
The Royals will surely be the real winners. Giving the population months of smiling headlines and pleasant gossp amid the gloom is what they do best. But the wedding also concerns a profound and
mystical constitutional point. That Kate Middleton’s mother was an air-stewardess won’t (and doesn’t) matter. In fact, the bride herself is almost totally immaterial. What matters
is the future monarch, the pageantry and the symbolism. The marriage of a future king is a public rite of passage second only to his coronation; it has been so since before the Norman Conquest.
Anything that emphasises the tradition and fundamental continuity of British consitutional history must benefit the Tory party and the impulses for which it still stands in the public’s
imagination. Ironic though it is, David Cameron and Steve Hilton’s failure to eradicate Toryism, may save the Conservative Party from being marginalised by the innovation (in the classical
sense of the term) of a proportional voting system.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.