Thursday 17 February 2022

The Grand Old Duke of York he had twelve million quid


In the Middle Ages there wasn’t much you could do if you had a bad king. If he killed princes in the Tower or drowned opponents in a vat of malmsey or if he chopped the heads off his wives, you were powerless. But you are not now.

The Royal Family is fortunate indeed that Prince Charles didn’t have an unfortunate polo accident in the 1970s, because in that case Prince Andrew would not be Duke of York, but rather Prince of Wales and due to become King Andrew the First on the death of his mother. Except in that case either he would be removed like James II or else more likely the Royal Family would be removed.

Unlike the Middle Ages the monarchy is really only one bad king away from ceasing to be. It has happened in lots of other countries and could equally easily happen here. All it would take would be a General Election with a manifesto commitment to abolish the monarchy and it would be gone.

There would be complications. The British constitution is intricately linked to the monarchy. Much of what the world associates with Britain depends on the monarchy. But the monarchy would not survive a King Andrew.

There is implicitly a bargain. So long as you behave like Queen Elizabeth the Second, we will accept the somewhat anachronistic situation that our head of state is a King or a Queen. The money spent on the monarchy is good value in terms of diplomacy and tourism and anyway any alternative would radically change the nature of our politics. Would the Prime Minister be head of state? If not and we had an elected President the nature of our political system would change completely. But other countries manage well enough with presidents and we could learn to do so too.

We will just about tolerate Prince Charles with his pomposity and his divorce. Camilla has come to be liked and respected and largely forgiven for her role in it. William and Kate behave well. But Andrew and his family remain a warning to the monarchy, which is why he has been ditched so completely.


The Grand Old Duke of York he had 12 million quid

He gave it all to someone he'd never met

For something he never did.


This permanently destroys Andrew’s reputation. Why would you pay 12 million pounds to someone you’d never met, when you are innocent of any wrong doing? Andrew’s legal team must have assessed that on the balance of probabilities he would lose a civil case or that the risk of pursuing such a case was too high. We don’t know for sure that Andrew slept with a girl only a little older than his daughters, there may be a reasonable doubt, but it is reasonable to treat his denials with suspicion. That’s enough.

It's bad enough that Andrew was friends with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, the mere possibility that he slept with 17-year-olds is enough to convict him of being so sleezy that the British public should be kept from seeing him on state occasions.

But something has happened to public opinion about sex in the past decades that is turning into a new form of puritanism and which is liable to turn us back to the 1950s if we are not careful.

Before the sexual revolution teenagers were expected to do not much more than kiss each other. When they wanted to have sex at the age of about 18, they were expected to get married. Instead of going to university you had babies, because the pill had not yet been invented and you had four or five of them. Sex outside of marriage was taboo and rather risky for women as you might end up a single mother with the neighbours tut tutting and few if any benefits to help you out.

The sixties and the pill changed all that. You could sleep with anyone you pleased. There was no need to get married. You didn’t need the permission of the church to go to bed with someone you fancied and sex was for fun not procreation.

This is the world in which we live now. Lots of young people don’t want to have babies, which if everyone took that view would end the world rather quicker than climate change.

But something else has happened. Teenagers today are not the innocents that they were in the 1950s. If the Scottish Government is right about its survey of sexual habits, young teenagers are routinely sleeping with each other and performing sexual acts that teenagers in the 1950s would have been quite unaware of. But we combine this with a view of teenage sex that pretends that they are still innocents and this is becoming increasingly absurd.

We are to believe that a 17-year-old who had lived on the streets chose to become a masseuse for Jeffrey Epstein without realising that something other than massage might be involved. The image of sexual trafficking and white slavery doesn’t fit with the story of the 19-year-old being given a free ticket to Thailand on her own where she met her husband. Was it really impossible to escape in the two years prior to that at one or other of the airports or hotels?

We were not there so we don’t know what did or did not happen. But it appears likely that some of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims chose this lifestyle and were quite happy taking part in it until something better came along. After all some of the “victims” of sex trafficking persuaded their friends of the merits of this lifestyle urging them to take part too.

The oldest profession has become the most lucrative at least for those who get paid 12 million pounds for sleeping with one man. If that were the going rate careers advisors be advising “Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington, put her on the game instead.”

There is something irredeemably sordid about Prince Andrew, but there is also a whiff of hypocrisy about everyone accepting the benefits of the sexual revolution without realising that it was more responsible for the corruption of minors than anything done by Jeffrey Epstein.

It was commonplace for young girls to chase after rock stars in the 1970s. It was only because sexual activity among teenagers had become so routine that young girls in northern towns were abused by grooming gangs.  It is only because so many young people in the West are sexually experienced at a young age that they even contemplate getting involved with an Epstein or an Andrew.

But it requires an antediluvian attitude as if we are listening to Buddy Holly for the first time and that we haven’t gone through the day when innocence died, to believe that young girls don’t sometimes choose to sleep with rich men in order to get money or a lifestyle they can’t otherwise afford. Why else do ugly footballers always have pretty girlfriends?

Much of human life is a transaction. We go to work to get paid, but we don’t generally expect our work to pay 12 million pounds twenty years after it was completed.