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Wednesday, March 09, 2016 

Leave for the Queen.

In the annals of tabloid stories that are complete bollocks, the Sun's QUEEN BACKS BREXIT is set to be a future classic.  All the tropes are present and correct: headline that isn't backed up by the story itself?  Check.  Story based on anonymous sources?  Check.  Story denied immediately by those who are named, while the others that we now know were present refuse to comment?  Check.  Story reflects the editorial line of the newspaper?  Check.  Story refers not to a recent event but to in fact something that supposedly took place years ago, which is now being used to portray those named as supporting a campaign that wasn't even a twinkling in Nigel Farage's eye then?  Check.  Complaint made to the press regulator about inaccuracy?  Check.  Paper running obviously untrue story for reasons known only to itself?  Check.

Quite how the Sun thought it would get away with it boggles the mind to such an extent that it makes you wonder if that wasn't the point in itself.  Only yesterday the Sun was whinging about our glorious future King William going off on holiday with the People's Kate and his two devil spawn, as though the entire point of being second in line to the throne isn't to get out of this dive of a country as often as possible.  The Sun's beef is not of course that Wills 'n' K8 are hitting the slopes as and when they can, it's that they're being stingy with the number of snaps of the sprogs they're handing over to the nation's finest.  It's a bit of leap from there to splashing on a story they know full well will piss Brenda and the palace off, thinking that it will in turn make Madge urge her grandson to loosen up a little with the hacks, but then the Sun's relationship with the royals has always made no sense.

Because the Sun truly is reaching with its reporting.  Even if you accept that she apparently said Europe was "heading in the wrong direction" to Nick Clegg at a privy council lunch, and told another group of MPs at some shindig when asked that she "didn't understand Europe", neither suggests for so much as moment that she favours leaving the EU.  The second claim especially seems laughably out of character, given how careful the Queen is about anything vaguely political.  She knows full well it's part of the reason why there's such forelock tugging crap as Clean for the Queen; her standing aloof while her husband acts the twat and Charles involves himself in every cause going only enhances her reputation.

More pertinent is just how odd the idea that Liz favouring one side or the other somehow helps the cause overall is.  Did anyone voting in the Scottish independence referendum really think twice about going Yes or No after Lilibet urged everyone to "think very carefully" about it?  There might have been one wavering royalist/Sturgeon fancier living on the edge of a loch in a tumbledown cottage who was persuaded not to go Yes after her social better asked her to consider things again, but come on.  It only works as part of a general campaigning theme: if you have a cross-section of businesses, academics, politicos and other assorted figures all saying the same thing, then it might just become a nagging doubt in the back of the mind to the undecided.

Otherwise, it's a boost only to the credulous and those with an absurdly high opinion of Queenie's interest in such things.  Jacob Rees-Mogg, fresh from telling Bank of England chairman Mark Carney he was an EU stooge for doing his job, comes across as this close to rubbing himself as he exclaims he always felt the monarchy was our last line of defence against European domination.  Well yes, apart from every other institution, but you get the point.  The Queen is always going to be important to those who still regard Britain as this light in the darkness, a bastion of freedom, a symbol of defiance in a world going to hell in a handcart, where campaigning for Leave is comparable to the struggle for the vote itself.  This projecting of a fairy world helps explain why Leave is floundering so; it doesn't why the Sun would think giving such refugees from reality the slightest encouragement is going to help in any shape or form.

Which leads to the only possible conclusion for why it would run such nonsense, horrifying as it is: the Sun is negging the Queen.  Stay classy, Tony Gallagher.

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