As you may or may not be aware there has been a bit of a kerfuffle in the media (and covered well by EU Referendum) about the failure of Nigel Farage to stand when Prince Charles had finished addressing the European Parliament.
As I was watching the whole affair I would like to add my tuppenyworth.
When Farage went into that room he had no idea of the details of the speech. He stood up as Prince Charles entered, giving due respect to the heir to the throne. He listened to the speech, and decided given the content that he could not, in conscience stand up and applaud what the Prince had said.
This act was described in breathless tones by Gary Titley, the Labour MEP leader in these terms,
UKIP Exposed as Anti Royalist
At the end of an excellent and thoughtful speech on climate change and Europe's role in combating global warming, Prince Charles received a standing ovation by the whole room with the exception of UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP. Gary Titley, Labour's Leader in Europe, slammed Farage's behavior.
"As a British citizen I was deeply honoured to be present when the Prince of Wales made such an important speech to Members of the European Parliament. I was embarrassed and disgusted when the Leader of the UK Inpendence Party, Nigel Farage remained firmly seated during the lengthy standing ovation Prince Charles received."
"I had not realised Mr Farage's blind adherence to right wing politics involved disloyalty and discourtesy to the Royal Family.
He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself and should apologise to the British people he represents."
What utter tosh the man speaks. Apart from anything else, he is an European Citizen but a British subject. He cannot spell Independence, suggesting he has no idea of the concept and spells behaviour in the American fashion, charlatan.
He himself was slow to his feet when the Prince entered the room and distorts the reality. And as for apologising to the British people, that is a bit ruddy rich from a politician whose party has reneged on an election promise to allow the people a vote on their own future. If jumped up bureaucratic little semi socialist technocrats had shame than I would expect him to feel some. Knowing they don't well a pox on him.
Not that that matters, Farage should be thanking him, because this intemperate little diatribe was the only reason that Farage's principled sit got any media coverage at all.
But still doesn't Titley have a point? Was Farage applying Lesse Majestie by his inaction?
I would argue no. It is true that UKIP members are probably as a group the most passionate pro-monarchy types in the Kingdoms. They do not see the monarchy as most do, as an attractive aesthetic constitutional bauble plonked on top of the country, there to please the tabloids and foreigners. No as ardent royalist they actually believe in the institution. As such they have done strange things like read the Coronation oath, and what is more believe that it is not just some arcane form of words to be breathed but not lived. They believe that their loyalty to the Monarchy must be reciprocated by the Monarch's loyalty to them.
As Blackstone put it,
the laws of England are the birthright of the people thereof; and all the kings and queens who fhall afcend the throne of this realm ought to adminifter the government of the fame according to the faid laws; and all their officers and minifters ought to ferve them refpectively according to the fame:Thus by dint of their loyalty UKIP members expect far more, and feel that they are not only right but in some way morally bound to expect more than the soap opera slide show.
Thus when Prince Charles remains as the protocol has it "above politics" then he is to be accorded all due respect, but when he, as he did yesterday involves himself in highly contentious political matters, to an audience of politicians he becomes just another politician and his words and actions become as open to criticism as any jobbing political hack.