Queen’s Visit to Dundee 4


The new Education building at Dundee University does seem an excellent facility, and I was pleased to be there today when the Queen opened it. I am a firm republican, but have had the occasion to meet the Queen (I mean individually for conversation, not in a crowded room) a few times, and she is a very pleasant and above all conscientious person. An accident of birth should not make you Head of State, but neither is an accident of birth her fault personally.

I was particularly impressed by Tayside Police. I was very worried that, after recent events, security would be a nightmare, but in fact it was very thorough and very efficient while still being friendly and helpful. It really was well done.

It was, however, simply appalling that the Queen was not introduced to any students. Three student office bearers were placed firmly on the back seat of the thanksgiving service, but that was it. The Queen hobnobbed with the Chancellor and Principal and various other bigwigs, but evidently mere students were not considered important enough to be introduced (and this may be summer, but there are still plenty around). That is certainly different from previous Royal visits here and, while it does not surprise me from the current University administration, represents a severe dereliction by whichever of the Queen’s Private Secretaries agreed the programme.


4 thoughts on “Queen’s Visit to Dundee

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Craig,

    A couple of points:

    "An accident of birth should not make you Head of State". Well what other criteria should form the basis of selection? I'm really not convinced that those Heads of State who have been selected by other means are any better – in many cases quite the reverse. You yourself will have had 'mixed' experiences of Heads of State. Frankly I'd prefer to see some sort of continuity of purpose and independence.

    And as further examples, the House of Lords when it was entirely unelected and almost entirely hereditary showed considerable moral strength and intellectual rigour. It is rapidly – and regrettably – becoming a political bear garden. The Judiciary has, quite frequently, shown similar independence of thought and action. The present Lord Chief Justice should be commended for his courage and determination in dealing with inept, sometimes crass, political leadership.

    Compare that, if you will, with events in America where the elected Bush has, in his wisdom, overruled the judicial system yet again in favour of one of his henchmen. This is the action of an elected President of a 'democratic' society who treats his nation as a personal fiefdom. One hesitates to give further examples but Mitterand and Mugabe immediately spring to mind.

    You mention the actions of Dundee University's grandees. As you say, how surprising is this, given their track record? It's almost to be expected of such people.

    My guess is that Her Majesty's private secretary really had little say in the matter, probably being faced with a fait accompli. But it is certainly shameful that those in the University who were responsible for organising this event did not even think that it might be an appropriate gesture to introduce the students.

    What it has revealed is a mindset amongst the heirarchy which is that somehow the University is a separate entity from its students. That is a truly remarkable position to adopt and will lead ultimately to its demise.

    A university is only as good as its student body. If they are able, talented and treated honourably and decently, the university will thrive. At present Dundee appears hell bent on self-destruction, witness closures of faculties and wholesale cuts. Still the estate portfolio may have some value for redevelopment, of course.

    But the students, being the undoubtedly bright individuals they are, will have drawn their own conclusions from this…

  • Tonys Akiller

    Nice lady or not Craig, there is no compulsion to be head of state, head of a country that's helped kill 2 million Iraqi's in 16 short years.

    "Have you ever thought of an all expenses paid trip the Hague Ma'am?"

    Perhaps her silence upon receiving that question would be met with the same stone cold silence she's maintained over her countries atrocities and neo-imperialism.

  • Craig

    TaK,

    It's an interesting case who should stand trial for waging an illegal war of aggression. All the Cabinet who didn't resign, certainly. I wouldn't include the Queen, personally. Who else? The Heads of the Armed Forces? I would cerainly include all those involved in the collation of the "Dirty Dossier".

  • Esquilinian

    The 'dodgy dossier' wasn't actually used as part of Britain's legal justification (ie, Lord Goldsmith's statement) for the War in Iraq, so I don't see how it could really be seen as responsible for the consequences.

    At worst, it was defrauding people. But that's no war crime.

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