What would it take to convert Afua Hirsch to the cause of capitalism? We now know the answer because the Guardian columnist has enthusiastically backed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as the couple seek ‘financial independence’, by such means as registering the trademark ‘Sussex Royal’.
As for those who have criticised the Duke and Duchess for doing this? According to Hirsch, writing in the New York Times:
“…by taking matters into their own hands, Harry and Meghan’s act of leaving — two fingers up at the racism of the British establishment — might be the most meaningful act of royal leadership I’m ever likely to see”.
The charge of racism made against those who have been critical of the Sussexes since their announcement last Wednesday is offensive and wrong.
Until recently the pair were especially popular members of the royal family. Their wedding in 2018 was widely praised for being less stuffy than previous such occasions. ‘Progressive’ values were enthusiastically received when they amounted to having a evangelical sermon or having a less formal attitude to public engagements.
That the Sussexes are now being criticised has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Duchess’ family heritage. It has everything to do with what the public sees as the pair turning their backs on Britain and the Royal Family in order to live jet-setting celebrity lifestyles which will exploit their royal roles, building personal fortunes on the back of their constitutional roles.
Do those on the left really want to defend that?
They didn’t want to defend it when Tony Blair set up his company to exploit the connections he made while prime minister and use them to earn huge fees advising foreign governments. It didn’t want to defend it in the 1990s when Tory MPs were found to be pocketing fees for asking questions in the Commons. It didn’t want to defend it when George Osborne landed his six plum jobs, among them advising fund managers, on the back of his career as chancellor.
Nor do I think the left would be terribly impressed if Boris Johnson started flogging personally-branded mugs, charged for after-dinner speeches while he is Prime Minister or launched a range of hair-styling products (although in the latter case maybe the potential customers wouldn’t be that impressed either). But so desperate are people like Hirsch to prove that Britain is a country stuffed with vile racists that they will end up in all kinds of philosophical contortions.
The narrative that Meghan Markle is a victim of an establishment plot is so important to the likes of Hirsch that Markle could do virtually anything – bite the head off the Queen, maybe – and still they would have to support her.
I just wish the hard left’s conversion to capitalism was inspired by activities which are a little more entrepreneurial than exploiting one’s royal brand.