Beware photos of the Queen shared on social media

A quick look down my Facebook timeline today understandably shows some lovely pictures of the Queen. Actually, my inbox is full of mentions of her as eager marketers exploit her record-breaking reign, but that’s another story. Now, I would happily get rid of the monarchy purely on principle as I don’t believe that a head of  state should come to that position by accident of birth. I know that that is very much a minority position and, frankly, there are more important things to take up my campaigning time.

However, my innate republicanism doesn’t mean I can’t respect the woman who has held that high office for the last 63 years and fulfilled her duties with dedication and dignity. She fully deserves the tributes being paid to her today.

This post isn’t about the Queen as such, though. Some of the aforementioned lovely images of the Queen on my social media have a much more sinister provenance.

It seems a shame that so many sites widely shared on Facebook with the words Britain or British in the title contain pretty vile xenophobic racism not far beneath the surface of its pretty pictures of our head of state, puppies, Cilla Black or any other national treasure.

Most people are aware of the awfulness of Britain First now, but there are plenty others. Proud to be British was one I saw the other day. It got me thinking.  Maybe we should create another showing how Britain led the world on such things as workers’ rights, freedoms, building a welfare state, free health-care and the best public service broadcaster in the world. That to me is a heritage to celebrate, though I would never claim that the values which underpin it are British alone. Human instincts of liberalism and compassion and innovation are nothing to do with being born at a particular spot on the map.

Such a page could be used to promote the good things about Britain, about our compassionate history in taking in refugees in their time of need, of the benefits of immigration and an internationalist outlook,  of that liberal tradition which put an end to slavery and exploitation. If we are going to win arguments against the right wing Daily Mail attitudes on benefits and immigration and civil liberties, we need to find more subtle ways of reaching the people who are susceptible to them. Anyone fancy helping set a page up?

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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10 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 9th Sep '15 - 5:15pm

    did she open the Borders railway?

  • Richard Underhill 9th Sep '15 - 6:08pm

    Yes.

  • A very good idea.
    We can’t let the ‘British’ label (as well as the flag) become a symbol of nasty xenophobia and racism. The nice thing about Britain (to my mind, and it’s the mind of an immigrant) is that it is not nationalist. ‘Britain’ is a label which allows other nationalities within it, and that’s not new, either, since it has been a union of a few nations for a while.

    It’s that aspect which needs emphasizing…. might even be useful in context of the wretched EU referendum.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Sep '15 - 8:40pm

    i remember a Swedish member of IFLRY saying that we could not be a radical party unless we wanted to abolish the monarchy. i tried to explain that we had hereditary peers in our parliament, but he was drunk and not persuaded.

  • @richard under hill

    But the lib dems are not a radical party and nor have they ever been a radical party.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Sep '15 - 9:14pm

    DavidW 9th Sep ’15 – 8:53pm in which case the young Swedish radical was correct, although drunk.
    i can see the political case for Balmoral, and Osborne House was not a core asset of the estate, so could further economies be made? Over to you George, …

  • Richard Underhill 9th Sep '15 - 9:17pm

    DavidW 9th Sep – 8:53pm
    Was there a group of MPs who merged with the Peelites to form the Liberal Party? What were they called?

  • Jonathan Pile 10th Sep '15 - 12:19pm

    I support the Monarchy too, but only a Constitutional Monarchy subject to Parliament. It must act in a constitutional way and act as a non-partisan rallying point where people of all faiths and politics can support the UK. There have been some occasions when the Monarch took a political line such as when George VI supported Neville Chamberlain’s betrayal of Czechoslovakia in the 1938 Munich Pact with Hitler, and Edward VIII’s Pro-Nazi appeasement of Germany in 1936. But generally the Monarchy though undemocratic in theory has been good in protecting and preserving democracy in practice. Our Queen is brilliant and has more than earned our loyalty. But Charles shows every sign of wanting to be a meddling & political King and that might be bad news for the monarchy into the future.

  • Why was it more important to stop Hitler from seizing Czechoslovakia than stopping Stalin from taking the whole of Eastern Europe ? Maybe politicians had learnt that you cannot go around intervening in other people’s quarrels because the nation would be in a permanent state of war and the people would be impoverished ? Apart from this both Neville Chamberlain and King George VI knew only too well what the consequences of war would be and did not wish to impose them on a nation which had only just recovered from a previous “noble” intervention in other people’s problems which almost brought Britain to its knees and from which it never really recovered.

    When I was young I was always told to keep out of other people’s disputes which was very wise advice as I soon discovered.

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