You like reconciliation. I like reconciliation. All God’s children like reconciliation.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II definitely likes reconciliation, for she made it the theme of her traditional Christmas speech.
The speech was full of glad tidings, but also some tidings that weren’t all that glad.
The good news was that Her Majesty didn’t announce her abdication, as had been mooted in the press.
God only knows how long our monarchy will last when the next royal generation takes over, as one day it regrettably must.
If upon his accession the heir to the throne acts on his intention to defend faith in general, rather than the Christian faith specifically, the monarchy will lose its underpinnings, as established historically, philosophically, theologically, culturally and every which way.
This is another way of saying it’ll become redundant and effectively moribund. The Queen, who is probably the last devout Christian in her family, must realise this.
Hence those of us who also realise it must wish Her Majesty a lasting good health, which by the looks of her she seems to have, God bless her.
The bad news is that the Queen ought to get herself better speech writers, better film directors and, ideally, a better government.
This brings us to reconciliation which, along with so many other words in the language of Shakespeare, can mean all sorts of different things.
Let’s use Germany, by way of illustration. Throughout much of the first half of the 20th century, the British and the Germans were killing one another in rather apocalyptic numbers.
Just a few months into that orgy of violence, at Christmas, 1914, some spontaneous truces broke out all along the Western front, with a few German and British soldiers even indulging in a football kickabout.
The Queen used this episode as an example of reconciliation, which it really wasn’t. A day’s lull in hostilities in which millions were to die in the next few years was more like the last gasp of Christendom, the last rites at the coffin of our civilisation.
Now after the next war, in which many more millions were killed and the coffin of Christendom was nailed shut, a reconciliation did ensue.
Britain and Germany, the western part only for the time being, became partners and friends in 1945, and so they are likely to remain till the EU do them part.
That’s what I’d call genuine reconciliation. For the purposes of this narrative let’s refer to it as Reconciliation Type 1.
Now France also took on Germany in the Second World War, and the two nations also stopped fighting each other – in 1940, after France capitulated.
Since the French and the Germans were no longer trying to kill one another en masse, I suppose one could say, stretching semantics to breaking point, that the conflict ended in reconciliation. But if so, it’s a different kind of reconciliation, Type 2, which could be more accurately described as one side’s abject surrender to the other.
Her Majesty specifically used Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement and Scotland after the referendum as examples of reconciliation. However, she didn’t specify which type of reconciliation she was talking about.
Fair enough, the word could accommodate those two examples – as long as we acknowledge that the reconciliation that took place in both parts of the United Kingdom was clearly Type 2.
As a result of the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland is effectively governed by professional murderers, whose stock in trade for much of their lives was blowing up public buildings and transport, torture, beatings, assassination and kneecapping.
As a result of the post-referendum reconciliation in Scotland, the de facto communist and Union hater Alex Salmond will probably become our next Deputy PM – and will definitely become a major influence in government, regardless of which party comes out on top next May.
Now which type of reconciliation would you say this is? I’d say that in this instance the semantic flexibility of the English language has done Her Majesty a disservice.
Her film crew didn’t do her any favours either. When the Queen waxed inordinately effusive about the inconsequential football episode 100 years ago, the newsreel sequences of it were intercut with the footage of blade runners competing in the Para-Commonwealth Games.
If that was a subtle hint of what happened to millions after the last football was kicked at Christmas, 1914, then one has to applaud the symbolism. But somehow I doubt that Her Majesty was suggesting that amputations were the only alternative to reconciliation.
So what was she suggesting? That we should reconcile ourselves to the tasteless side show of cripples putting themselves on display to pander to the public’s perverse tastes? But no one has declared war on the poor wretches as far as I know, so no reconciliation is in order.
This is by the by. The main point is that the two types of reconciliation should never be lumped together.
There can be no reconciliation between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. In each case there can only be either the victory of the former over the latter or vice versa, and this point deserved to be made in a speech devoted to reconciliation.
Moreover, if the Queen were allowed to write her own speeches, to express her true feelings, to say what she really thinks, I suspect that point would indeed have been made.
As it was, she allowed – had to allow, according to the modern perversion of our constitution – Dave and his jolly friends to act as her ventriloquists.
It’s they who are the real dummies here, the living argument in favour of a monarch who rules and not just reigns. But this argument will never be won, or indeed made.
Instead we’ll helplessly watch Britain creeping into republicanism, without even a semblance of resistance. That will add a new twist to the notion of reconciliation, add yet another meaning to this already voluminous word.