Now I know this because Mrs TBF was an employee of Dick Hern at the time as his racing secretary, and was present, along with quite a few others, of said conversation. Mrs TBF was to go on to eventually transcribe, from his audio tapes, Major Hern's authorised biography.
I recall this, in view of this weekend's long Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the points made by Sean Gabb (via Richard North) that the role our monarchy is even more of a rubber-stamping exercise than before. I say this as neither a monarchist nor republican but as the view that the whole system has gone badly wrong. Sean Gabb begins:
Those of us who pay attention to such things will have noticed a difference between the BBC coverage of the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and of the present Diamond Jubilee. Ten years ago, the coverage was adequate, though reluctant and even a little stiff. This time, it has been gushing and completely uncritical.Personally I think he's being a little restrained here, the coverage in my view at the time from the BBC was clearly hostile - copious comments and discussions of; "is the monarchy relevant?" Or "does anyone care anymore?" A charge that was repeated later in that year.
But now there is a difference in coverage, which can be mostly attributed to:
The third [reason] is that the BBC was taken by surprise in 2002 by the scale of public enthusiasm, and does not wish to be caught out again.
However, I believe the chief reason to be that the new British ruling class has finally realised what ought always to have been obvious. This is that, so far from being the last vestige of an old order, dominated by hereditary landlords and legitimised by ideologies of duty and governmental restraint, the Monarchy is an ideal fig leaf for the coalition of corporate interests and cultural leftists and unaccountable bureaucracies that is our present ruling class. The motto for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee was “Sixty Years a Queen.” The motto now might as well be “Sixty Years a Rubber Stamp.” If, during the six decades of her reign, England has been transformed from a great and powerful nation and the classic home of civil liberty into a sinister laughing stock, the ultimate responsibility for all that has gone wrong lies with Elizabeth II.As Richard North highlights, that under 'Brenda', one of the greatest transfer of our power to foreign shores has taken place. The Queen is now merely an EU citizen as a result of the Maastricht Treaty. Our supreme court is that in name only, our real supreme court lies abroad and conveniently does not even go by the name of "Supreme". Our Parliament is often by-passed and can't pass many laws without permission, and even prisoners held at our Majesty's pleasure can fight for rights, while convicted, via a court which is outside her jurisdiction.
Not that it is entirely the Queen's fault - judges, MPs the media and the British public have all taken part - they still vote for corrupt politicians. MP's took us into the EEC on a lie and without any mandate at all. The media gratuitously fawn with articles like this despite that the footage shown last night (56:30mins) shows the Queen smiling seconds before. In the light of such sovereign impotency it's impossible to conclude anything other than the whole Jubilee is a charade.
By the actions of the (flawed*) genius of the European Union that by leaving the institutions in place like the monarchy, the courts, and our Parliament, we can keep up the pretence that we run our own country. So it's interesting to note that when I pointed out similar points on one of the copious Daily Mail celebration articles it was massively 'red arrowed' in no time at all. The DM readers normally hostile to the European Union it seems cannot cope with our membership's true implications. One is reminded of Hermann Goering:
"But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”Thus lots of Daily Mail readers are seemingly impervious to the saying; "a true friend tells you what you need to know, not what you want to hear", but that's how I view my own country. Being patriotic to me means in practice I criticise it often because I believe it should be better - I'm trying to tell it what it needs to know.
I could, of course, choose the easy life, wave some silly plastic Union flags (made in China) and pretend everything is all ok.
*Its flaw is the contradictory need to keep it's progress is hidden via the stealth-like 'Monnet method' - step by step - because it would be unpopular, yet it publicises itself increasingly to justify what it does.