Corbyn Kneeling Story A Media Invention 119

The media appears determined to narrow the Overton Window further to exclude republicanism, which would make the views of over 30% of the UK population unacceptable as a part of normal political discourse. The fascinating thing about the concept of the Overton Window as enforced by the UK media, is that some of the views not given media airing as being beyond the pale of “respectable” opinion – such as rail nationalisation – actually enjoy public support.

The media are currently intent on demonising Jeremy Corbyn as a republican by inventing conflict between him and the Queen. The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg asked him in a corridor whether he would be prepared to kneel and kiss the Queen’s hand as part of the ceremony of joining the Privy Council, and the media splashed his demurral as the lead broadcast and print story of the day. It subsequently became plain that Kuenssberg is a medieval fantasist and there is no hand-kissing involved.

Naturally no apologies followed. The Guardian is still attempting, even today, to milk the story with a front page article indicating Corbyn may not kneel. I should sincerely hope not. I kneel to nobody. Personally I find the idea of kneeling to another human being as weird as the idea of sticking my penis in a pig’s mouth. But apparently grovelling servility is the norm, and even thinking about not doing it makes you a weirdo.

The interesting thing is nobody has actually asked the Queen. I have met the Queen in public many times and in private twice, on both occasions to be thanked for my role in organising State Visits. I had explained I was a republican and Scottish nationalist (in those days small n) and was therefore refusing the offer of a LVO and a CVO respectively. I did not bow, or call her Ma’am. She actually asked me my reason for refusing the honour the first time, and was perfectly pleasant when I explained politely but straight. I received direct from her hands small gifts of an armada dish and a letter rack. I eventually auctioned the letter rack for the Julian Assange Defence Fund.

She showed no umbrage or concern whatsoever that I was a republican – I am sure she meets them all the time – and behaved towards me in an entirely normal fashion, not in any way noting my refusal to obey the court protocol. I personally witnessed a proposed honour to another person being downgraded because “the Palace” did not like them, but there was no question of any sanction on me for my republicanism. The proof is that there was never any question mark over my doing the job all again on a second occasion, either from the Queen or from her private secretaries.

If Jeremy Corbyn sticks to his guns, and just goes along and shows normal respect, I have no doubt at all the Queen will carry on completely unfazed. She is not stupid, is very well aware that a significant number of British people are republicans, and is not interested in making people uncomfortable. She will expect so long as she is monarch, Jeremy Corbyn to work as prescribed within the forms of government – just as I organised State Visits to the very best of my ability. But personal displays of obsequiousness are not of importance to the Queen; they are rather the obsession of the pathetically servile Guardian and other media.

119 thoughts on “Corbyn Kneeling Story A Media Invention

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  • Luke

    You’re not the only one to have been honest about his nationalism and republicanism in front of the Queen. I won’t mention names, but someone I know was honest to the Queen about being republican and the Queen was perfectly polite to this person. I bet some of the royals actually crave a normal life and would rather people didn’t kneel to them.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Craig Murray
    25/09/2015 11:16am

    I heard some reporter or critic being interviewed by Nick Ferrari on LBC only this morning, and she was extremely scathing about Corbyn, asking rhetorically if he was prepared to kneel before the Queen and kiss her hand, and saying it was amazing how republican sentiments went out of the window when they proved unpopular with the electorate. And so on, and so forth.

    It has occurred to me quite often over the last fortnight or so that no-one seems to have enquired into whether it is possible for Corbyn to join the Privy Council on more or less his own terms, without all the fancy rigmarole that is reputed to accompany it. After all, he swore allegiance to the Queen on becoming an MP, presumably. What’s the difference?

    If it turned out that he had to kneel to the Queen to become a Privy Councillor, which I beg leave to doubt, I think he would refuse. I certainly would, and stuff the security briefings.

    Anything to get at Corbyn, even if it’s lies.

    Kind regards,


  • Robert Crawford

    This is what I do not understand, Nicola Sturgeon et al swear allegiance to the Queen and want Independence from her Rule?

    The Queen is the silk glove, her henchmen are her iron fist!

    They say Tony Blair knelt and kissed the Pope’s ring. Yuk!!!

  • glenn

    Being in a kneeling position before another, even pretty much prostrate, showing (to Westerners) an intolerable subservience to another, is a very common experience for martial arts students. Got to admit, I always found it a little uncomfortable (particularly if the teacher in question happened to be a bit of an idiot).

    My old Dad went a bit further than yourself, Craig. Following his experience in the army – a couple of years National Service in Egypt – he decided he would not call anyone “sir” ever again, and indeed never did.

    Are there other countries (brutal dictatorships aside) where one is still expected to put on a show of deference like this, exalting another individual on a national basis as if they were some higher form of life? In America they’re supposed to show respect to the Office of their leaders, but not this show of worship to the individual. North Korea, maybe?

  • fred

    “The media appears determined to narrow the Overton Window further to exclude republicanism, which would make the views of over 30% of the UK population unacceptable as a part of normal political discourse.”

    I think you’re a bit optimistic there, if there was a referendum tomorrow I doubt republicans would get as much as 20% of the vote.

    I’m quite indifferent about the Queen, she’s obviously very popular with the vast majority and I see no reason not to be tolerant about her.

  • AdrianD

    Talking of medieval fantasists, I happened to be watching ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ last night on BBC – the subject this week being Frank Gardner.

    I was amused to see his indignant and strangely emotional reaction to finding that one of his ancestors was beheaded on trumped up charges in Tudor times.

    It’s a shame he can’t muster the same level indignation and offence for the many suffering the same insult at the hands of his Saudi chums.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I am not the greatest fan of Royalty, and am amazed they have such enormous popular support – particularly amongst The British Working Class. I guess it must be historical. I just wish they would do their jobs better, and stop authorising these crazy wars. The Queen could indeed say no. She has the power.

    However, compared to most politicians, they seem the height of integrity, and it seems the vast majority of people seem to need some kind of authority to look up to – to make them feel “safe” and inclusive of their tribe – particularly if they are not religious, are not obsessed with the latest celebrity, and are not Manchester United supporters.

    A team I was kind of responsible for (though not directly), won the Queen’s award for Industry. I was very proud of them. I didn’t need any honours myself, just very impressed that the work we had done – against all odds – had been so recognised.


  • MBC

    There’s nothing incompatible in wanting independence for Scotland and being a monarchist. Elizabeth I and II is Queen of Scots too. She is a direct descendant of James VI of Scotland via his daughter, Elizabeth of Bohemia, who was the grandmother of Queen Anne.

  • MBC

    Yes I was bemused by Frank Gardner’s reaction to discovering he was descended from William the Conqueror. William enslaved the English people, depriving them of their land, built castles to impose his ruthless authoritarian rule, and established the Norman ruling class. But all that seems to be entirely overlooked by the schizophrenic English.

  • craig Post author


    All of which is true. On the other hand, were I a monarchist, I should prefer one of the thousands of people who is a more direct descendant of James VI than these Germans. The slip from Anne to George I cut out over 80 more entitled people.

    In fact very few Scottish nationalists are monarchists. I am yet to meet one.

  • Robert Crawford

    The politicians, the police, the military all swear allegiance to the Queen. We pay for it.

    Who swears allegiance to us, who pay for them all?

    No one. So how can this be a democracy?

    THEY ALL look after each other!

    It is no wonder they want to drop so much of “the Human Rights Act”.

    France has more tourists than England and does not have a Monarchy.

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    Didn’t the press invent a similar fuss about Ken Livingstone and the Queen when they opened the Thames Barrier? The question the press debated endlessly was, whether he would bow to the Queen. As it turned out, he gave a very slight bow and stole the show by inviting his mum along as an official guest to meet the Queen.

  • Peter Beswick

    I understand the queen quite enjoys her subjects to be indifferent, Philip takes full advatage of that

  • MJ

    “France has more tourists than England and does not have a Monarchy”

    Yes. The Palace of Versailles is the most popular tourist attraction in Europe and hasn’t had royal residents for over two hundred years.

  • MBC

    Well you’ve met one now. I like our Queen. I would be happy to have her as Queen of Scots in an independent Scotland. As long as she is for us, I would be for her. That would be my main issue. The residual powers of the monarchy are another. But if she or her descendents were prepared to be a ‘folkeking’ on the Norwegian model and the people of Scotland wanted to retain the monarchy then what’s the problem?

  • fred

    “Yes I was bemused by Frank Gardner’s reaction to discovering he was descended from William the Conqueror.”

    Everybody in Britain is descended from William the Conqueror. Ten centuries with four generations per century and two children born each generation would make 2^40 descendants.

  • Peter Beswick

    More people have been to the top of Everest than have been to the bottom of Gaping Gill.

    Gaping Gill on this occasion does not refer to her maj’s alleged penchant for taking it up the wrong un.

    Has this spoilt my honour recommendation?

  • MBC

    Correction: the Electress of Hanover (mother of George I) was the grand-daughter of Elizabeth of Bohemia, not Queen Anne. Those who are fond of claiming the present Queen is descended from Germans discount the female line. Elizabeth of Bohemia was James VI’s daughter.

  • Peter Beswick

    I’m surprised by the MBC comment, her maj does not need a bike she allows her peccadilloes to climb over the wall, when she has finished with them she calls the guard.

  • MBC

    It was Frank Gardener’s proud reaction that astonished me. William the Conqueror is somebody one ought to be ashamed of being descended from.

  • ronald alexander mcdonald

    Prior to the Referendum my stance on the monarch was one of inertia rather than being anti.

    Now, I am a staunch republican.

  • eddie-g

    Well said.

    I have heard from other people who should know that the Queen is much less fussed by royal etiquette and nothing like what you’d imagine listening to the obsequious royalists, such as those who tut-tut about Corbyn.

    She does what she has to do because duty demands she do it in a particular way; but she’s not stupid, she knows not everyone aspires to pucker-up and kiss her backside, and so does not expect any particular person to do so.

  • Tony M

    You seem to be channeling Tory MSP, record expenses trougher, the Paper Clip King John Lamont. In the the Johnston Press/Hootsmon Borders local newspaper monopoly (yet again weeks after the opening of the Edinburgh South Toy Railway, it’s another Royal Obsequiousness bumper edition), he’s identically having a go at Police Scotland, possible re-reform and using republicanism to traduce and smear SNP MSP Christine Grahame for not chaining herself to the rails or the choo-choo.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I get the impression that the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales are much more interested in obsequious homage than the Queen is. J

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