WHO would be Queen? Oh you would, sir? Well, the rest of us, male and female, probably wouldn’t fancy the gig. Irregular hours, risk of repetitive waving injury, politicians dropping you in it.

Of course, in a sense, politicians drop us all in it. It’s a good working definition of politics: dropping us all in it. But to drop the Queen in it? That’s a serious offence, particularly in a constitutional monarchy like the one we all voted to have. Even top Communist Jeremy Corbyn said of Her Majesty this week: “She is the head of state. She is not the head of government or the head of the political process in Britain.”

The leading republican came to the Queen’s aid this week after former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron embroiled her in political controversy, with a claim in his sensational (work with me on this) memoirs that he had asked her to raise an eyebrow, even just “a quarter of an inch” at the ominous threat of Scottish independence.

Put yourself in the Queen’s shoes. (No, sir, I am speaking metaphorically). The United Kingdom is her, well, kingdom, what with queendom not being a word an’ all. She must have had serious doubts about losing the nicest part of it, the one with all the deer, oil, haddock and so forth.

However, at least she knew that no one genuflected more keenly than the Nationalists, who had promised she would still be Queen of Scotland after independence. Which of course was typically nice of them. All the same, worrying


I have been passed a copy of the Queen’s job description and it goes like this: “Waving, attending banquets, Corgi-walking, opening things, avoiding politics.” It’s the last bit that is particularly important.

The Queen must have political views. She must read the papers, even if only on her phone. In the privacy of her own palace, particularly after a few sherries, she must have had a wee rant. Not one person on the electoral register hasn’t had a wee rant about politics at some point in their otherwise unremarkable lives.

But, unlike the peasantry (increasingly so, alas), she can never go public on anything, not even on the break-up of her kingdom, which must have been the most fundamental threat she’d faced during her 200 years on yonder throne.

As it transpired, talking to a well-wisher outside Crathie Kirk one Sunday before the referendum, the Queen restricted herself to advising voters to “think very carefully about the future”. At the time, I thought this right clever and still do. You could plausibly claim it was even-handed, if your defintion of plausibility is “someone having a right laugh”.

Beneath it all, however, was a clear warning of doom. That the Queen probably had a slight preference for No was revealed by that man Cameron again when he was caught off-camera claiming that she had purred down the phone like a cat after hearing the result. Celebrating further, added Cameron, she then went out, chewed on a dead mouse and pooped in a flower bed.

No, he didn’t say that, but it would have been great detail for the memoir. As it is, the tome’s controversial eyebrow revelation has apparently aroused an “amount of displeasure” from Her Maj, though, as one indie supporter tweeted, it was arguably as much “at being caught” as at the alleged breaching of protocol itself.

As for Dave, it’s a bit of a mystery why he chose to reveal this. But you have to give him marks for honesty. Everybody is a royalist when it comes to the Queen, so we do feel sympathy at her discomfort. At the same time, everybody today is a journalist and we all believe that everything should be out there in the public domain.

In years to come, people will look back at our age of discretion and royal neutrality with wonder. If the “woke” princes, Harry and William, get their grubby hands anywhere near The Throne of Power, we won’t be seeing the raising of an eyebrow so much as raising of the red flag.

* David Cameron’s memoir, Oopsy, I’ve Done Another Boo-Boo, is available at all good chemists.


LIKE most decent ratepayers, I’ve always found the Rolling Stones risible, even though I have most of their albums. Back in the day, most rock LPs had a terrible track (usually the third one on the first side), a space filler from the dullest genre in musical history: rhythm ’n’ blues.

But much of the Stones’ output consisted of this tripe, and their albums were usually made even worse by appalling ballads, which had upright citizens everywhere vomiting into buckets.

If there was anything we admired about the Stones, it was their dissoluteness. We pay homage to Keith Richards in this regard, but Mick Jagger was always a chancer, jogging on the side and secretly holding counter-revolutionary views.

This untrustworthiness came to a head with news that the once rebellious rockers were cutting rehearsals short so they could get home to watch Downton.

To those of you unfamiliar with this programme, I can reveal it’s an everyday story of aristocratic folk in a huge stately home. Disgraceful. To which I need only add that I do not think it necessarily blunts the force of my critical remarks when I reveal that I have lately become a fan of the show myself. ++++ MATCH of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has an odd approach to industrial relations: he wants a pay cut. It’ll never catch on.

The former England striker is currently paid £1.75 million a year, not including overtime or crisps adverts, and it’s thought that he’s willing to lose several thousand of this as a contribution to the forthcoming socialist revolution.

The trouble with Lineker is that, even though his “woke” political views are unacceptable to most respectable voters, he remains an engaging fellow and is arguably quite good at his job, which is not as easy as it looks.

For proof of this, check out Match of the Day 2 on Sunday, which the other host presents with a scary intensity overlain with existential dread occasioned by dodgy offside decisions.

Gary, on the other hand, realises deep down that football is such a lot of nonsense and so keeps it light. Recently, he rightly poked fun at the bald pates of two guests on the show, making people appreciate that he was worth every penny.

That said, we wish him luck with his forthcoming pay negotiations and hope he’ll stand firm against the BBC’s insistence that he takes more money.


WHO wants more money? Not many, at least when it comes to the physical stuff you can hold and fold.

As figures from the British Retail Consortium show cash falling behind card payments, we’re marching with empty pockets towards the cashless society.

What is this, readers? Correct: it’s discombobulating. It’s one thing rarely to have money on your person, but quite another for your worldly wealth to be nothing more than electronic digits. Because the operative word there is “nothing”.

More practically, with cash points closing, it’s getting difficult to get hold of actual dosh. Even where there is an autobank, it’s little use to be offered a minimum of a tenner when you’ve only got three or four quid.

Having physical cash makes it easier to know where you stand when funds are low. If you stand at the cash machine and it says, “You may withdraw £0.00 today”, that’s depressing. Most readers will have experienced too that awful moment when the supermarket till declines your card. You assumed you had electronic funds but you hadn’t.

Cashless makes one feel less a person of substance. It’s incorporeal. It engenders an existential dread that, one day, we’ll all pay for it.

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