The royal censor gets into the act

THE British royal family, an anachronism in this day and age, has shown its tendency to dictate proceedings in a strange way, totally against the grand British tradition of free speech.

Prince Charles has instructed the BBC to place strict conditions on the feed of the wedding between his son William and Kate Middleton which it provides to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; these strictures effectively prevent what would have been the best program on the wedding, the view of the Chaser team, from going to air.

What’s outrageous is that the restrictions are specifically aimed at the Chaser – other not-so-straight coverage, such as that planned by Australia’s Channel 10, has no restrictions placed on it.

Charles has laid down the law to the BBC and the organisation has bent over and shown its backside.

The wedding is not a private affair – hundreds of millions of pounds in state funds will be used to provide security. Only the wedding expenses are being borne by the House of Windsor and the Middleton clan – the British taxpayer is forking out by the bucket at a time when the country’s economy and the financial standing of a large percentage of the populace is not exactly what one can describe as healthy.

It is a royal shame to waste public money at a time when most of the rest of the country is struggling to pay its bills. But when did the royals ever give a hoot about the public?

It is far too late for the Chaser folk to organise their own footage of anything remotely close to the wedding; indeed, people would like to watch some part of the official proceedings as they listen to the unique take of the Chaser team who are a class act.

Every country that claims to follow the liberal tradition and have a free press has its own set of satirists – for example, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and Bill Maher in the US, Ricky Gervais and the Little Britain team in the UK and the Chaser and a multitude of others in Australia.

But the cold, clammy hand of censor Charles has clamped down and it’s back to the colonial era again when Britain told Australia what it could and couldn’t do. And Britain wants to spread the democratic tradition to other lands, I’m told.

This is a fine example, right from the top, of the class-ridden British society. Censorship at its brilliant best. One more good reason, if any more were needed, for Australia to cut the apron strings and become a republic.

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