'Subjects for your approval...'
Here in the UK the press have recently been preoccupied with what Prince William will do when he graduates. One commentator favoured his going into the army as, in her view, it would allow him to meet a wide range of future subjects’ from all walks of life, in a safe environment. The word subject’, redolent of times I thought had passed - of forelock-tugging and executive lavatories, is offered as a definition of the relationship this young man will be expected to have with other citizens of the UK. Going out into the world is not intended, for him, to be an opening up: a journey of exploration or discovery, an opportunity to find out what goes on in this country and others, the opportunity to really get to know people from different backgrounds. Rather, this step on life´s way is presented as a closing-down, a time when he will assume the mantle of dominance, and look down on his fellow man from a position of superiority. In this context the army will indeed offer a safe environment, as those he meets will already have subscribed to notions of hierarchy, of everyone-in-his-place, in fact to what is likely to be Prince William's own view of the world. And so it will be reinforced. No closet republicans there. What a missed opportunity!