Shorter Mark Steel: Bah, humbug. And frankly, I see his point. I am surprised that he did not mention the unpaid River Pagent workers. Presumably that story emerged after he wrote his post. Of course, slavery has nothing to do with monarchy, a republic can be perfectly happy to steal labor.
So, while we are on the subject of Mark Steel, might as well make a thorough job of it. Take this article about David Cameron’s refusal to enter the Euro. Cameron may be doing the right thing for the wrong reason, but he is still doing the right thing. A fiat currency is a huge plus for the UK and they would be crazy to give it up. If Steel knew anything about Modern Monetary theory, or at least do some occasional reading, he would know better.
To make a complete job of it, lets talk about Mark Steel on Oliver Cromwell. It is an entertaining look at Cromwell, full of all sorts of personal tid bits you don’t get from Christopher Hill. But like most people, and almost all atheists, Steel can’t get his mind around the fact that the whole quarrel was about religion. I think in a post-Jefferson world, where we have wisely agreed to disagree, it is difficult to comprehend that religion could ever have been the central organizing principle of life. Even those of us old enough to live through the civil rights movement, and seen it in action, still have difficulty. But in the 17th Century, organizing your life around your religious beliefs was as natural as breathing.
Readers of this blog know that I am no fan of Charles I, but Oliver Cromwell is why British Monarchy survives. The revolt against Charles I started over abuse of power that the power to tax. But when Cromwell seized power with Pride’s Purge he began an era of arbitrary rule that Charles I could have only dreamed of. Instead of setting up a committee to write a constitution to establish a permanent Republic, Cromwell simply set up shop as a military dictator. So, after his death it was only natural that the British reverted to the monarchy, and why they remain monarchist to this day. Cromwell botched the best chance to dump monarchy.