Her Majesty should take a serious look at her speechwriting staff. They are doing her no favours.
For her traditional Christmas speech, the Queen was given the leitmotif of the moon landing: “A small step for man, a giant leap for mankind”.
As a minimum, Her Majesty should have corrected Neil Armstrong’s solecism: “a man” would have been right because ‘man’ means the same as ‘mankind’.
Her speechwriters ignored that, but instead made the Queen add “and of course womankind”. This PC diction is another assault on language – and not only that.
In this context, as in some others, man embraces woman. ‘Mankind’ includes women as well as men. Tagging on that disclaimer ill-behoves a monarch whose main role is to uphold tradition, linking generations past, present and future.
Then it got worse. The Queen practically echoed Mao’s maxim about a thousand-mile journey starting with a small step. One of such small steps is, according to Her Majesty, or rather her advisors, the birth of Jesus, which then led to a giant leap in fighting global warming.
Now, the Queen is a devout Christian. How someone who fits that description could describe the Incarnation of Our Lord as a small step escapes me. This would be a dubious statement even for a rank atheist, never mind the head of Britain’s established church.
Whoever advises our royals should remember that monarchy is a conservative institution – or it is nothing. Our head of state shouldn’t talk in the idiom of Notting Hill lefties. Alas, that’s what one suspects her advisors are – and the ventriloquist government issuing their brief isn’t much different.
The Queen isn’t standing for re-election, although one can be excused for getting that impression. Hence there ought to be nothing to prevent her Christmas messages from being couched in the language of eternal truths, rather than transient political expediencies.
So here’s one of Her Majesty’s loyal – and admiring – subjects who are sad. But what are we few against so many?