What the Queen really said in Germany

Some in the media tried to trivialise, distort and politicise the Queen’s speech in Germany this week. They wrongly thought she was saying the UK has to stay in the EU. This was a curious interpretation of one sentence in a speech which did not mention the European Union by name, and which certainly did not break the rule of the monarch staying out of current political controversies at home.

By doing this the media missed a much more significant feature of the Queen’s speech. Far from being a eulogy to the EU it was a short serious analysis of the state of Anglo-German relations based on an 800 year perspective. I thought it was remarkable for how honest, tough and balanced it was.

The speech began by reminding her audience that we are currently commemorating events in the Great War in 1915, and marking the 70 th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. To reinforce the point she was making she told them of Magna Carta and England’s early march to democracy, going on to say

“Tomorrow I shall visit St Paul’s Church where the first freely elected legislature in Germany met in 1848. The Frankfurt Parliament turned out to be a false dawn; it took another century and the loss of the most terrible wars in history to set Germany on the path to democracy”

Here was the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland telling our German neighbours that we are glad we are now friends, that democracy is the ally of peace, and that Germany only got onto the path of democracy after 1945. The UK as the Queen reminded her audience has been involved in European affairs, and had to fight two dreadful wars which none of us wish to see repeated.

To underline the sombre message more she told of royal visits to the sites of Jewish concentration camps, and of her own immediate visit to Bergen Belsen.

I would say this was a profound and brave speech to make in the circumstances, backed by a visit whose very steps wished both to highlight the past and point to the peace we have now created on the back of a new relationship with a more democratic Germany. She spoke of reconciliation.

It would be good sometimes if the media tried to report what is interesting in what was said, instead of trying to impose their own bizarre agenda onto words that mean something else. If the Queen had been helping the stay in campaign she would have visited a series of sites built with EU money, praised the work of the EU in her text, and directly linked the EU to the peace in Europe which has been created by other forces and means. Now that would have been a story,because that would have been unwarranted interference in politics by a Queen who is usually an impeccable judge of where she should stay silent.

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60 Comments

  1. stred
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    She could have added that a lot of the trouble was caused by her daft great uncle (?) Bill being jealous of her side of the family. Also that now that Germany is running Europe anyway, the disadvantages of empire building are showing up again, and we both have huge immigration and taxpayers having to pay for failures in other countries.

    • Hope
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      JR, this is your interpretation. No more accurate than the media. Her role as head of state and her duty to the public should have been put ahead of what her govt wanted her to say. Dennis quite rightly pointed out her oath of office and what sheet missed to uphold. I do think her speech was balanced or had the heart of HER citizens at the forefront of her words. Diplomatic as it might have appeared she was wrong not to put the sovereignty of her nation and people before an ideology. You made the comment the other day it was NATO not the EU that has met the peace and it was paid for by the lives of her citizens under her name ie risk their lives for Queen and country. There cannot be a greater sacrifice. Not polite words to those who seek to take away what our forebears fought for with their lives. How betrayed or let down some of them might feel. A great pity she did not emphasise this point much stronger. It has also been the treachery of her politicians on HER citizens that has given away the sovereignty and independence of this country. I do not share your interetation at all.

      • Hope
        Posted June 28, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Should have said do not think her speech was balanced…

        Good to read Peter Hitchens who also disagrees with your view. The Queen was poorly advised and, in my view, directed those who fought and died for Queen and country.

        BBC rolled out Branson for the EU cause who thinks the UK should be in the Euro, how deluded. Does his view have anything to do with vested interest and allowed mergers in Europe for his company? He does not live in the UK does he? Is he not one these tax avoiders that the BBC and politicos rant on about? Oh dear what a set up starting to emerge. Fanatic Clarke is still at it, this says a lot about Cameron having him and Green in his cabinet over the last parliament.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I too thought it was an absurd interpretation of one sentence:- “We know that division in Europe is dangerous and that we must guard against it in the west as well as in the east of our continent.” Surely we do know this and it is perhaps becoming divided again – thanks mainly to the direction of the EU and the EURO I would suggest.

    The best way to work together is through sensible democratic countries, free trade, smaller state sectors, freedom of the individual and mutual cooperation between countries.

    Indeed a profound and brave speech to make in the circumstances.

    At least it was not Prince Charles wittering on about 100 months to save the planet from a firery hell on earth and human extinction.

    • Mitchel
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      I accept what our host says about the totality of the speech;however,the sentence “….we must guard against it (division)in the west as well as the east of our continent”strikes me as ill-judged.

      To me,those words suggest a subtle,slightly Delphic spin on Cameron’s expressed desire to see a EU “stretching to the Urals” and the likelihood he -or the Foreign Office- probably had some imput into the Queen’s speech at an event like this doesn’t help such a suspicion.

      • Mitchel
        Posted June 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        …that should read ” help allay such a suspicion”!

      • Richard1
        Posted June 27, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        I don’t see that at all. Division in the west of Europe is not desirable and has nothing to do with being in the EU. There is huge division at the moment between Germany and Greece, both in the EU, but none at all between the UK and eg Norway or Switzerland, Neither in the EU

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 28, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          But the eurocrats think that it’s all to do with the EU.

          http://europa.eu/about-eu/index_en.htm

          “The EU has delivered half a century of peace, stability and prosperity … ”

          And the Queen, our sovereign, was perfectly happy when her Prime Minister John Major agreed with other EU leaders that she should become one of its citizens; some other people objected, and indeed the imposition of EU citizenship was one reason why the Danes voted against the Maastricht Treaty, but Her Majesty accepted her relegation to the status of EU citizen with good grace.

          She could have said:

          “Mr Major, I can trace my royal ancestry back to Alfred the Great, and so you will understand why I am not at all impressed by your plan to reduce me to a citizen of the European Union. However if my people are prepared to accept that new status you propose then so will I, I will share that with them; but I insist that you must ask them directly, in a referendum, whether that is what they want. Otherwise, I will not assent to the Bill to approve the treaty.”

          But she didn’t, once again she let us down.

    • Richard1
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Regarding HRH’s dire prognosis, I am heartened by the prevalence of views now being expressed, openly challenging green crap – defined in broad terms as huge subsidies for renewables and related taxes and regulations. The latest is Bill Gates who has said in his interview with the FT that renewables have no hope of replacing fossil fuels. He argues for diversion of resources from renewable subsidy to a Manhattan or Apollo type ‘moon shot’ approach – eg research effort into nuclear fusion. This seems to me sensible, and much more likely to produce a result. Gates also points out that capitalism, far from being denigrated, should be lauded for its ability to foster new business and technological innovation. The Conservative govt should leap at this approach, repeal Mr Miliband’s silly climate change act, and divert a fraction of the resource now devoted to green crap to research into solutions which might have a hope of working.

      • stred
        Posted June 29, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        The problem with fusion is that it is too hot. Every time there is a forecast the timescale is 40 years. There is a current European project and its leader has written about the problems in a recent edition of Nature.

        In contrast, many countries are developing small and medium conventional reactors which have inherent safety and can be factory controlled with much shorter building times and less cost. Rolls Royce and Sheffield University were promoting a British involvement and gave costs at 22% of the large station ordered from the EDF in Somerset for equivalent output. (re FT- Home grown reactors to revive nuclear programme. April 7 2015) ie £24.5 bn for 1650MW against 1 bn for 300 MW- multiple SMRs will be linked.

        The US is currently developing one named NuScale, with accelerated development and planned to start in 2020 and be operating in 2023. The design life is 60 years and it will have passive cooling. The SMRs will be contained below ground and less vulnerable to attack. Rolls Royce is also involved in this. MPs were supportive recently. If we wanted a less advanced one now, we could order it from the Indians, Russians or Chinese. We will have to wait a similar time until the large French design is working and they are already having problems with the first one at Cherbourg. The cost agreed so far is by far the highest anywhere.

        DECC/HMG has said ‘priority remains with large reactors……….

        While Obama an David Attenborough discuss the future. They think renewables will do the job and do not even mention nuclear, like all good Greens.

  3. agricola
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Re the press, I can recall that in my school library we had all the daily newspapers laid out from the Times to the Daily Worker. We were encouraged to read them all and then make up our own minds as to what might be the truth. Thereby a degree of cynicism was built into my education.

    All credit to the Queen for continuing to do a difficult job with grace and compassion. The one stable element in our governance.

    • M Davis
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      … All credit to the Queen for continuing to do a difficult job with grace and compassion. The one stable element in our governance. …

      Yes, I do so agree with you, agricola.

  4. Ian wragg
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I see from the papers that CMD is going to frighten the population into voting yes. The whole edifice is collapsing but he still acts as cheerleader for the Soviet style entity.
    I see exports to the EU are down to 45% so that’s another nail in the yes argument
    When will we be told what exactly he’s negotiating.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      The 45% includes Ireland and often things sent via Rotterdam etc. too.

      Certainly it seems Cameron is going to have a go at scaring people into a yes. I think he might find it harder than he thinks even with the absurd BBC bias. He certainly shows no sign of getting or even asking for anything of substance from the renegotiation.

  5. bluedog
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Thank for clearing that up, Dr JR. This writer certainly got a different, and somewhat adverse, impression from the reporting of this particular Queen’s Speech.

    As it happens, your correspondent is currently reading Iron Kingdom, a history of Prussia between 1600 and its demise in 1947, written by the Cambridge historian Christopher Clark. Highly recommended. One cannot escape the conclusion that Germany remains a deeply insecure country, which may go some way to explaining the frenetic activity of the Germans. As that generation of Germans who can remember the Third Reich slowly wanes, one hopes that all future German leaders will prove to have the same qualities as Angela Merkel.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Unlike you, I certainly do not hope that all future German leaders will be like this woman who refused to accept the rejection of the EU Constitution in the French and Dutch referendums and instead insisted that almost all of its legal contents must be decanted into what she called her “Reform Treaty”, later renamed as the Lisbon Treaty, and did her utmost to prevent it being put to a referendum in any of the EU member states, and refused to accept the result when the Irish did have a referendum and voted against it, insisting that they must be made to vote again and get the answer she wanted, and of course connived with our own Prime Minister and arguably also the Leader of the Opposition to make sure that we would not have our chance to reject it in a referendum, among the many other outrages against democracy which she has committed to get her way. Make no mistake, she is not a friend of the British people, far from it.

      • bluedog
        Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        ‘ Make no mistake, she is not a friend of the British people, far from it.’

        Merkel is the German Chancellor and she acts in the interests of Germany. As constructed, the EU works very much in favour of Germany, so one can imagine that the German Chancellor would seek to perpetuate that arrangement, and she does. We can agree for our part that most of us sharing in this blog believe the British interest is best served by leaving the EU. To that extent our view of the British interest is opposed to Merkel’s objective. But it seems somewhat overwrought to declare her an enemy of the British people, far from it. It has long been a mistaken belief of German leaders that the British are long lost cousins, culturally similar and sharing common values, in short ‘family’. Merkel shows every sign of continuing this outlook, which is no disadvantage to us if properly exploited. It is impossible to describe Merkel as a bad person, she presents as a Christian democrat.

        Currently the EU seems to be in its death throes. Reform seems extremely unlikely due to the unbalanced power relationships within the EU, principally in the relationship between France and Germany. Both France and Germany seek British support in managing the relationship with each other. This is something that gives the UK enormous influence in the EU and would not change following our departure from the EU, it’s a geo-political fact of life. My own view, expressed on this blog earlier this month, is that the EU cannot survive with Germany as the undoubted hegemon. If the EU is to survive the Germanic people may need to accept that their prosperity and security in fact depends on the re-partition of Germany. Thus German economic power would no longer be concentrated in a single political unit. However there is not the slightest chance of this happening, which is one of the reasons that the EU will shortly fail and dismember.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          I said that she is not a friend of the British people, and nor is she a friend of democracy; if she was either, then she would have looked at the concerns being expressed here about her Lisbon Treaty and declared that to her mind the British people should be allowed to have their say on it, and so she would not press for the treaty to come into force before they had had a chance to at least express their views in a general election. Instead of adopting that friendly and moreover principled position she did exactly the opposite, doing whatever she could to push the treaty through in Ireland, and then in the Czech Republic, before the latest date for our general election so that we would be deprived of our say. That was both unfriendly towards the British people and contemptuous of democracy, even if it seemed to be in German interests.

          • bluedog
            Posted June 28, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

            We can agree that it was a serious mistake for the UK to sign up to Lisbon before the 2010 GE.

            But why were both Brown and Cameron so spineless as to permit this situation? Both of them in their policy speeches could have done the proper thing and demanded the matter be put to the British electorate. Merkel may have applied pressure, but it was Brown who capitulated. Why blame Merkel for Brown’s weakness?

            Cameron, of course, was always in favour of Lisbon and undoubtedly remains so today. As we know from the SSM debacle, Cameron regards a manifesto as a scrap of paper and once in power does as he pleases.

            Reply Mr Cameron led the opposition to Lisbon in the House and tried with others of us to get delay in ratification around the rest of the EU so we could have a referendum on it post election.

      • Hope
        Posted June 28, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Well said Dennis.

        You cannot take away her drive to succeed in getting what she wants and the lame under achieving EU fanatic PMs we have had over the last forty years who have not ah ieved any significant improvement for the UK. It makes you wonder if they were all cloned at Oxbridge or infiltrated the establishment like the scandal during the sixty’s with our security services.

  6. Richard1
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Indeed it was a profound speech which will be recognised in history books long after most contemporary politicians and controversies have been forgotten. It’s not only the media. Mr Farage has made a silly criticism claiming the govt has attempted to politicise the Queen.

  7. JJE
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I usually find it better to read the text for myself rather than rely on the distorted view given by others. Now that these things are routinely posted to the internet this is much easier.

    http://www.royal.gov.uk/LatestNewsandDiary/Speechesandarticles/2015/StateBanquetSpeechBerlin24June2015.aspx

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    It serves as a warning about how the media will misrepresent the arguments during the referendum campaign. I don’t suppose those who want to keep us in the EU were anything but delighted by the media response and I shouldn’t be at all surprised if, behind the scenes, they drew the media’s attention to that “one sentence”.

  9. Atlas
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I am only too pleased that we are at peace with Germany, however – Cameron take note – a peace where we are the supplicant is not acceptable.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    In her Coronation Oath the Queen promised that we would be governed according to our own laws and customs. It was no part of our customs for Parliament to pass what is in effect an enabling law, the European Communities Act 1972, with the consequence that we are no longer being governed by our own laws and customs, contrary to her oath. I’m well aware that it’s unlikely that the initiative for this came from the Queen – although there are some who do claim otherwise – and that it’s far more likely that the prime movers were politicians we elected. Nevertheless I think we have to ask whether we want a Head of State who is entirely passive, a kind of constitutional idling wheel, and who will go along with whatever treachery may be proposed by politicians, or one who would actively intervene to protect the people from politicians when they are seeking to abuse the democratic system. That Act, like all the other Acts approving EU treaties, was only a Bill passed by both Houses of Parliament and had no legal force until the Queen gave it her Royal Assent and made it into an Act, and arguably she should not have done that unless the Act had included a provision requiring approval in a referendum before its other provisions came into force, so that her people could have the last word on whether they wanted to accept that change to the way they were governed.

    Reply The Queen has so far always judged that the democratic process has worked properly and she has not sought to use her honorary position representing the whole country to seek to exercise power on behalf of a faction or viewpoint. The EC Act was passed by a properly elected Parliament, and endorsed later in a referendum.

    • ian wragg
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply.
      No one gave the government permission to hand over powers to a foreign state. The 1975 referendum was rigged just as surely as this one will be. You still haven’t explained why politicians are so enamoured with the EU to the detriment of the electors. is it the big pond theory??

      Reply I am not so I too fail to understand the enthusiasm some have for it.

      • Richard1
        Posted June 27, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Ian you are quite wrong. Parliament approved the UK’s accession to the EEC and the people approved it in a referendum. The next referendum is going to have to be fought and won by one side or the other on the merits of the issue. It’s no good wingeing that it’s rigged – you sound like a Scottish separatist!

        • forthurst
          Posted June 27, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          “Ian you are quite wrong. Parliament approved the UK’s accession to the EEC and the people approved it in a referendum.”

          No. Heath used his majority to ram the 1972 Communities Act through parliament without recourse to the British people other than to tell them a pack of lies about the Treaty’s significance. Harold Wilson had opposition to the ‘Common Market’ from within his own party, so he engaged in a phony ‘renegotiation’ with Europe to ‘win back powers’ which he then, deviously put to the British people in a referendum which had formed no part of the original enabling act. So we were bounced in by one liar and and tricked into staying in by another liar. Are you at all surprised that the lies from the ‘in’ brigade, led by CMD, are coming thick and fast?

          • Richard1
            Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            ‘Heath used his majority to ram through….etc’. Ie Parliament voted for it. It is a recognised drawback of referenda – pointed out eg by Ken Clarke – that the losing side will always argue ‘we woz robbed’, as you do here, as the Scottish separatists now do and as the losing side will doubtless do in the next referendum.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 28, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

            Heath rammed it through the Commons on a confidence vote, just as Major later rammed through the Maastricht Treaty on a confidence vote. And it is a recognised defect of parliamentary democracy that under such circumstances some elected representatives will vote to keep their jobs rather than vote according to what they really think about the proposal or believe would be in the genuine interests of those who elected them or of the country as a whole.

            We don’t have to wait until after the referendum to know that Cameron is not interested in a fair referendum and will do everything he can to load the dice in his favour, to know that we only have to pay attention to what has been going on with the Bill for the referendum.

        • Ian wragg
          Posted June 27, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          You must be totally deluded.

          • Richard1
            Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

            Got any arguments?

        • Vanessa
          Posted June 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          Richard – I don’t know whether you took part in the 1975 referendum, I did. I can only tell you that the pamphlet we all received was full of lies and did not tell the real reason the EEC was set up and how it would develop over decades. We were told it was ONLY a trade agreement. Our politicians at that time lied to us all as they are doing now.
          The EU is a catalogue of disasters – look at the immigration problem in the south, the economy of the Eurozone is in chaos, (especially the south) the EU world trade as a percentage is reducing and is set to go on reducing.
          If the EU is such a good idea why are there not many other countries getting together and setting up a “European Union” block ? The Soviet Union collapsed after about 50 years !

          • Richard1
            Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

            I’m not arguing the EU is a success, at the moment it clearly isn’t. I simply take issue with the argument that the British people never supported membership / were conned etc. we live in an open democracy where all views can be expressed. By the time of the next referendum the arguments will be well aired. Those who support an Out vote will need to win a majority without wingeing that they have been conned/ censored / ganged up on / had the Queen set against them etc etc. just make the arguments clearly.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 28, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

            So you will be happy if this Tory government does what the Wilson government did – have a pack of lies urging a Yes vote delivered to every household at public expense.

        • Bob
          Posted June 27, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          @Richard1
          If you are old enough to remember the 1975 referendum you must know that it was heavily rigged.

          The voters were conned into believing that is was about free trade and the term “ever closer union” was not mentioned, in fact the politicians were adamant that it could not lead to loss of sovereignty. The yes campaign had a huge funding advantage over the no campaign, and the media sidelined sceptical journalists.

          40 years later we’re pleading with Angela Merkel for the right to a little self determination.

          • Bob
            Posted June 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            ““There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified”. Edward Heath.”

          • Richard1
            Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            I did not have a vote in that referendum. From what I’ve seen of archive footage and read I just don’t agree it was rigged. Even the cabinet was openly divided. There was a debate and the Ins won. I suspect the main reason was people looked at the UK – an economic basket case at the time after 11 years of Labour and quasi- Labour govt, compared it with the much more successful German French and Italian (yes!) economies and thought we better join. It’s the same reason the EU remains popular in Southern Europe, the EU versus home grown politicians is the lesser of two evils.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 28, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            Nobody voted to join, other than those in Parliament.

          • Bob
            Posted June 29, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            @Richard1

            “I just don’t agree it was rigged”

            Perhaps you were too young to have had any awareness of it. ask anyone who was there. It was sold as a trade agreement, that’s all.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      JR, if democracy had worked properly in the UK then we would not have joined the EEC, and we would not have then had a rigged retrospective referendum to attempt to legitimise what the Heath government had done, and Thatcher would not have then proceeded to undermine the basis for the popular consent that had been extracted on false pretences in that referendum, and so later governments would not have been in a position to cite her conduct as the precedent to deny us referendums over subsequent EU treaties and over the admission of additional countries to the EEC/EC/EU, and so we, and indeed the rest of the EU, would not now be in anything like the present mess. All I am suggesting is that the Queen should have told Heath that she would not allow him to take us into the EEC unless her people had been asked directly whether that was what they wanted and given their consent; I am not suggesting that she should have blocked our entry if it was found that the people did want it. Now four decades later we are left with a few people like Bill Cash scrabbling around trying to retrieve the position, including in his 2010 United Kingdom Parliamentary Sovereignty Bill by placing a duty on the sovereign not to give Royal Assent to any Bill which would constrain the sovereignty of our national Parliament unless it had been approved in a referendum:

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmbills/048/10048.i-i.html#j04

      “4 Royal Assent

      Her Majesty the Queen shall not signify her Royal Assent to any Bill which
      contravenes this Act or to any future Bill amending this Act or which purports
      so to do except and until the Bill, having been approved by both Houses of
      Parliament, has also been approved in a referendum of the electorate in the
      United Kingdom pursuant to an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament.”

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: We could do away with both the Monarch and Parliament.

      It would save the EU economy a fortune and remove the greatest impediment to integrating our people into the new superstate (that impediment being their mistakenly divided loyalty.)

  11. Bert Young
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    It is no surprise that the media did associate the Queen’s speech as a support item to Camerons’ efforts to ” keep us in “. The indirect efforts that Downing Street can employ in influencing what the Queen says and does is well known and I would not have put it past Cameron to use the occasion ; the media must have been alert to this .

    It must be very difficult for the Queen – the very representative of our sovereignity , to play a part in our diplomacy and be able to express herself as she would like . I would have liked her to say ” I am very glad that we and Europe are now at peace with one another and that we can now carry on our relations completely free and harmoniously “.

  12. Bill
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Completely agree.

    One of the great benefits of the monarchy as against Republicanism is that the Queen is able to take a long view. Isn’t there a story of Churchill saying something to her that Mr Gladstone had said and of her passing this on to Blair? Historical continuity provides stability, and stability is valued by everyone, including the migrants at the gates of Calais.

    • Gary
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      We hear day after day here that we have had our democracy usurped by europe, but then we turn around and bow and scrape to a monarchy over which we have zero democratic powers.

      You and your ilk are very, very confused. I’ll go as far as to say that you cannot be trusted because you obviously are not thinking clearly

      • Jagman84
        Posted June 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        I think that you are mistaking Bill for a Socialist. Now THAT is not thinking clearly.

      • Bill
        Posted June 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        That is a huge jump. Every Conservative from Edmund Burke onwards accepts the value of tradition. Given that the choice between enthroning the goddess of Reason as the French revolutionaries did and then guillotining 40,000 people, I would opt for a humane tradition every time. The Republican option, recently championed by Andrew Roberts in his account of Napoleon, devalues human life. What was it Napoleon said after the deaths of one of his battles? ‘The women of Paris could replace all the dead in a single night’.

        No, give me piecemeal reform every time.

  13. formula57
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Indeed a remarkable speech and as you say ” honest, tough and balanced”

    Thank goodness though that with its wholly appropriate praise for democracy it was made earlier in the week. How controversially political it would have seemed in the context of this morning when Germany (with others) is to be invited to fashion its demands in conformity with the democratic will of the Greek people (always assuming the Greek people do not fashion their compliance to conform to the demands of the Eurozone).

  14. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Many British people doubt HM The Queen is allowed to express Her own opinions publicly or publically, as of old, on anything. The Honours System kicked it all in the head.

    Knighthoods, CBEs, MBEs given to local politicians and Local Government officials who in some cases their own family members, colleagues and Party members denounce as evidence of meddling-corruption. These Honours in one or two cases would perhaps be best handed out by Town Hall Mayors dressed up as Father Christmases with accompanying gifts of a quarter pound of boiled sweets, a mince pie, a bag of crisps and a finger puppet.

    A few years ago I was in Frauenkirche church Dresden which was being rebuilt long time after the bombings of Dresden and Coventry. I read a plaque inside thanking HM The Queen for her “personal gift ” ( not a tiny sum ) in its rebuilding along with thanks to the general fund for “The Rebuilding of the Church of Our Lady “. Well no human being can feel proud in Dresden. But I found it easy to love our Queen.

  15. Stephen Berry
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    “The Frankfurt Parliament turned out to be a false dawn; it took another century and the loss of the most terrible wars in history to set Germany on the path to democracy.”

    I certainly don’t think the Queen is taking sides on the EU debate, but I wonder if some Germans found these words from the Queen’s speech writer a little condescending? For large parts of the century before 1945 the Germans had a functioning democracy. Indeed, in 1914 the franchise was wider in Germany than it was in the UK.

    Lurking at the back of this abolition of Germany’s democratic past is the trendy idea that democratic countries do not go to war with each other. (The UK and Germany went to war with each other in 1914 therefore, if the UK was a democracy in 1914, Germany wasn’t.)

    We should be careful of too easily swallowing this idea that democracies are always peace loving and autocracies or dictatorships always warlike. If we look at the nation states which make war most often, I would say their chief determining characteristic is military and economic strength, especially when compared against their prospective victims. And this criterion applies whatever the system of government of the aggressors.

    • Daisy
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Well said. This part of the speech struck me as having been written by a newly-graduated SPAD, possibly copied from one of his second year PPE essays.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      In 1914 the German parliament had a lot of control over internal matters, and in many ways it was what would now be called “progressive”, but it had very little control over foreign affairs which were still the prerogative of the Kaiser. Hence the system could work to better the living conditions of ordinary Germans but could not stop them being sent off to die in huge numbers in an aggressive war at the behest of a somewhat deranged Kaiser supported by the military.

      • Stephen Berry
        Posted June 28, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Denis, you are quite right that in Germany in 1914 foreign policy was the prerogative of the Kaiser and the German chancellor. The Reichstag did not get a vote on whether Germany should to war in 1914. But you know what? Neither did the House of Commons.

        A debate was held on August 4th 1914 in which Asquith stated that Germany had been asked to give an assurance on Belgian neutrality. The following day, August 5th, Asquith merely announced that “since eleven o’clock last night a state of war has existed between Germany and ourselves”. There was no vote on either of these two days.

        On 6 August 1914, the Prime Minster finally moved a motion in the House of Commons on war credits, but this was after war had been declared. The Reichstag too got a vote on German war credits on August 4th, but that was because Germany had declared war earlier. Perhaps the Queen should have said that Britain and Germany share a common history of their parliaments NOT getting a vote on an event of major importance!

        Reply there was no vote because the opposition agreed. there could have been a vote if they were against

  16. DaveM
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    To Gary’s earlier comment: the monarchy represents the sovereignty of the country irrespective of who the monarch actually is, so we are not actually bowing to an unelected person. It would help, though, perhaps, if the Queen occasionally reminded the PMs that by swearing their oaths to the monarch they are sworn to uphold the sovereignty of the UK. I have no resentment about taxes going to the monarchy – it provides a figurehead which in turn allows us to retain a modicum of greatness in the world and an apolitical establishment to which people like me can hold loyalty irrespective of the government’s changing sway. The establishment also provides a vital non-governmental continuity which the US, for example, doesn’t have. Imagine if a modern day Guy Fawkes succeeded? And regarding the Queen’s speech in Germany, having read the script, I think everyone who is reading pro-EU propaganda between the lines is being paranoid. She seems to be saying what most of us who regularly comment here think, ie, we don’t want to fight, we want to work together. The problem is that the politicians don’t appear to be capable of that without introducing unnecessary parliaments and procedures. Maybe the monarchs and presidents should get together – they would probably do a far better job than the Eurocrats and Euro Council do.

  17. Javelin
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    RIP to those Brits murdered by ISIS.

    A large percentage of the UK has been warning Cameron this was coming. It will happen in the UK soon. There are hundreds of Ex ISIS fighters in the UK. We are at war with them.

    Cameron needs to wake up and smell the cordite.

    The UK referendum will be the least of his worries once there is an attack here. The Torys will be out of power for s generation. UKIP has been the only party talking about this. You honestly can expect anybody to vote Tory again once Cameron leads us blindly into (trouble ed)Cameron will go down in the history books as the last politically correct leader and all that work done by the Torys will come to nought.

  18. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    In full agreement

  19. yosarion
    Posted June 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Is this the same women who has allowed an unelected Prime Minister to sign the Lisbon treaty against the will of her subjects to keep her Windsor Dienasty alive, Yeh sure she speaks for the English.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Well, the “Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007”, which contrary to the false claim by Cameron still exists as a treaty, and may still be read on the EU’s EUR-Lex website, here:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12007L/TXT

      starts by listing the “High Contracting Parties” and naming their respective
      “plenipotentiaries”, and if Brown had not been appointed by the Queen as her representative then he could have been appointed by a President, but in all but one of the cases where it was a President rather than a constitutional monarch the people were still denied a referendum on whether they wanted the treaty to be approved and ratified. Then the sole exception, the Irish, had to have not just one referendum but two because they voted incorrectly in the first one.

  20. Sean
    Posted June 28, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    The Queen is just another EU subject now. Can she still continue to be a head of state, I think not in the long term.
    The EU rules Britain full stop! I am a Royalist but if we are to stay part of the EU the Queen is redundant.
    We listened to her propaganda about so called solidarity blah blah
    We can see through the carefully constructed drivel political people wrote to be interpreted not to show her statement to side with the Side of the Yes.
    The Conservatives ( Oops! Tories are not real Conservatives ) are as good as the stupid party Labour.

  21. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 28, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Disingenuous John. You know that every single sentence and word in the Queen’s speech will have been gone over again and again by her staff and civil servants at FCO, they knew exactly how it would be reported, just like they let her views on the Scottish referendum be known too.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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