Who gives a stuff about the Act of Settlement?
I have to confess that I have always thought it was to the great good fortune of the female members of the royal family that they didn't have to face the awful prospect of the throne, unless they were unusually deficient in the brother-department. Just occasionally discrimination can work, inadvertently, to our favour.
For me, it's rather like not being able to go to Mount Athos. Of course, I tend to protest publicly that it is 'men-only', but secretly I feel a twinge of relief that I dont have to go there, or have a view on the place, or join in those dreary conversations about old Father Demetrios... and so forth.
But since getting called twice by radio journalists in the last 24 hours to say something changing the Act of Settlement etc, and about girls getting an equal chance to get to be monarch as men, I've found I have rather stronger views.
For a start, what IS the point with tinkering with the monarchy -- as if a tiny bit of political correctness could bring it up to date? You don't make a medieval/Victorian institution 'fair' by rearranging the deck chairs like this. The whole institution is unfair, like it or lump it. That I think was more or less Alexander Chancellor's view in the paper this morning. Scroll down to the bottom of this link.
In fact, I suspect that in 200 hundred years time, we'll look back to this reform as the beginning of the end of the whole institution -- as its much more serious inequities, its mad fantasies, get seen in even more clear relief, once this little bit of discrimination is removed.
But more to the point, fretting about the monarchy is almost always a political displacement activity.
Just reflect on the hours of parliamentary time that are going to go down this particular drain, when our MPs might actually be devoting their time and attention to banks, jobs, universities or whatever.
And just reflect on the effort and interest, across the Commonwealth, that will be devoted to the possibility that Kate and Wills's baby Princess might succeed to the throne, when there are millions of women in those territories who are still waiting for a proper education, or a proper job . . . Priorities, priorities, priorities?
Anyway, when I ranted along these lines to the said journalists, I found that I didn't get invited to share these views with the listeners....! Funny that.