The Daily Telegraph

Forget wokery, the crown is the real bastion of anti-racism

- Mutaz ahmed

It was just two days after the fire raged through Grenfell Tower that Queen Elizabeth II’S convoy rolled through north Kensington, and out she stepped into a scene of utter horror, with half-burnt documents from the apartments still strewn across the pavements. We volunteers on the ground had grown tired of the circus unfolding before the television cameras, of political agitators declaring the fire itself an act of racism because many of those who had perished were black and brown. Yet the late Queen offered something different. She had come simply to console her subjects, as Britons, in the way she did with any other suffering community. That standard practice was far more genuine than any special – or inclusive – treatment. It felt right to applaud her.

I had watched a similar convoy roll into Tottenham six years before. This time it was the then-prince of Wales visiting my local area – a predominan­tly black, deprived part of London – which days earlier had been the epicentre of the 2011 riots. The politician­s had already started blaming each other; the racists lambasted “the blacks”; and the community turned in on itself. But like his mother, the future King provided an alternativ­e: a project of reconcilia­tion, helping shopkeeper­s recover and young black men find jobs. And unlike the race-baiting activists who soon departed, chasing the cameras to the next hotspot, he returned on at least eight occasions. We remember that.

There is of course a more substantiv­e explanatio­n for the images of ethnically diverse crowds thronging Buckingham Palace and attending the proclamati­ons in recent days. The reality, which commentato­rs on the Left seldom understand, is that immigrant communitie­s are a natural constituen­cy for the ideals that monarchy represents. After all, it is in the most diverse parts of London that we find the best-attended Anglican churches – many of which have wholeheart­edly embraced the monarch as their supreme governor. And it is first-generation immigrant parents from the developing world who tend to value Britain’s historical continuity the most. Indeed many such immigrants will have come from former colonies whose prosperity and freedom declined at the hands of insurgent republican­s turned corrupt authoritar­ians.

How bizarre our selfflagel­lation over the legacy of the British Empire must seem to them. When last week’s dreadful news broke, the parents of my Ghanaian friend shared with him a picture of the late Queen dancing with Kwame Nkrumah, one of Africa’s most famous republican revolution­aries. To them it must have symbolised the grace with which Queen Elizabeth handled the dissolutio­n of the Empire, as opposed to the belief of some ignorant New York Times writers that she should be held responsibl­e for colonial crimes.

But I would wager that the bond between minorities and monarchy runs deeper still, for it is also a form of protection. In swearing an oath to a living sovereign, rather than a land or a written constituti­on, we descendent­s of immigrants are sheltered from the inclinatio­n of some other nations to transform citizenshi­p into a question of blood and soil. Nor do we, unlike African-americans, have the problem of justifying our allegiance to a legal document drafted by people who themselves owned slaves.

The monarchy, in being a living embodiment of the nation and in guaranteei­ng liberty for everyone, has also become a defender of minority rights. This basic truth utterly enrages the republican Left – long may it continue to do so.

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