Twenty-five minutes were enough for the left to begin politicizing the King’s cancer.
Fast work, guys. A political activist called John Smith was first in the draw and took to X (formerly Twitter) to complain that the monarch had not been caught on an NHS waiting list. Mr Smith went on to denounce the “defunding of public healthcare carried out by neoliberal governments to enrich the 1 per cent to which the King belongs”.
Smith, quick on the trigger, soon posted another message saying the monarchy was a “cancer on the body politic.” He completed a hat trick of charm with a tweet about his own experience with cancer. “I too was airlifted home to my ancestral estate of Sandringham to recuperate with a servants’ house at my beck and call,” wrote Comrade Smith with leaden sarcasm.
He wasn’t the only one who curled his lip. Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror, who happens to be an old friend of mine, made a comment on social media that “two in five cancer patients urgently referred by a GP do not start treatment within the two-month target of the NHS”. “I wish King Charles a full recovery, but it should not be ignored that many others are not as privileged or fortunate.”
Ava Evans, another left-leaning expert, said this was “a good time to consider statutory sick pay and the millions of people who have to continue working while sick because they can’t afford not to.”
King Charles with Queen Camilla by his side leaving Clarence House the day after his shock cancer diagnosis was announced.
The Republic pressure group, which fights for the abolition of the monarchy, responded decently, saying that “cancer is a terrible disease and we regret Charles’ diagnosis.” We wish him a speedy recovery.’
Republic’s online followers were not entirely satisfied with this civil reaction.
Although some applauded, others said ‘karma is coming for him’, ‘it’s time he abdicated for the sake of his health’ and ‘it’s funny because he’s potentially the least likable monarch in centuries’. One bullet even wrote: “I need him in top shape so he can be tried for crimes against humanity.”
Well, it’s a free country. Should people be able to say objectionable things, as long as they don’t incite violence? As a parliamentary editor, I would be an appalling hypocrite if I objected to a bit of saltiness in political commentary.
Anyway, who is really offended if some idiots and attention-grabbers have said ungenerous things about our 75-year-old Head of State being told he suffers from a disease that sadly affects so many families? Does not the very prevalence of cancer, in fact, legitimize critical scrutiny of the King’s private treatment?
Or does the bitterness of those published opinions—the desire to turn every personal misfortune into a political cudgel—say something about their authors and their political orientation? In short, why are some on the left so irritated by everything?
Angela Rayner (pictured last week) described the Conservatives as “a load of scum” while speaking at a Labor Party conference in 2021.
Theresa May once said the Conservatives were seen as “the nasty party”. Unlike some, I thought she was right to tell that truth to her partner, who at the time seemed perpetually angry. However, in recent times it has become evident that those who hate and harangue most often are on the left.
Socialist comedian Jo Brand suggested throwing battery acid in Nigel Farage’s face. Angela Rayner called conservatives “a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolutely vile.” John McDonnell joked about the lynching of Conservative MP Esther McVey. Apologists said they were vague and poorly phrased words.
However, when the tables are turned and a right-winger makes a mistake, as Rishi Sunak did yesterday in the House of Commons with a slightly tone-deaf comment about trans self-identification, Labor MPs recoil like goose widows and claim that his parliamentary opponents are guilty of moral degradation.
What is so infuriating is the way leftists project themselves as “good people” and claim virtuous heights. In fact, his main consideration, most of the time, is naked politics. Its application to the cause is, in some ways, quite enviable. They never seem to turn off.
Right-wingers are never as focused because they are more individualistic and therefore less good at following the party line. So we must admit that the left is adept at playing a tough game. But every once in a while you feel like sighing: “Oh, for once, please let him rest.”
Having lost two brothers to cancer in the last six years, should I or should I feel anger at the King’s rapid treatment?
No. I certainly wish the doctors had been as good in treating my sister Penny. She seemed to have overcome breast cancer but it came back. She went to her doctor with pain and was told it was a strain in her back. Penny, mother of three fine children, died at the age of 59.
The NHS didn’t get any better when my brother Alexander complained of stabbing pains in his stomach. It turned out to be colon cancer, but his treatment during lockdown was far from good. Alexander, one of the fittest men I knew, died aged 62, leaving a heartbroken wife and four fantastic children.
The King’s cancer was detected in a private hospital and he will now receive the best care and attention. The left would make me ask: why isn’t the privileged so-and-so in a hard chair in an A&E in Slough? Why isn’t he having a more miserable time? Because? Because? It’s not fair!
Well no, I guess it’s not fair, if by fair we mean that everything must have the same result. But life is not fair. Life can be hard.
Why did my super fit brothers die of cancer while I, fat as an old Labrador, am still alive? Shakespeare’s King Lear cradles the body of his dead daughter Cordelia and cries, “Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life and you can’t breathe?” Maybe it’s human to respond to pain like this.
The reaction of our friends on the left, however, is not motivated by pain. He is politician. Seeks to take political advantage of a diagnosis. A doctor tells a 75-year-old sovereign that he has cancer and these people accuse the supposedly evil Conservative government of “defunding” an NHS that has never received more money. They spit at Charles’ “privilege.”
We’re sorry, but this outrage is forced. He is almost unhinged in his incessant devotion to electoral purposes. Is not the greatest privilege of all the privilege of good health?
I’m no saint. I’m just as likely to be upset as anyone else. But when I heard about the king’s illness, my brain did not begin to calculate the electoral advantage. My first reaction was “damn cancer.”
The second, if this can be said without lèse majeste, was “poor boy.” How good he is, despite his rank. The King is human, as prey to flaws and errors as the rest of us. I happen to admire him, although I accept that every citizen has the right to campaign against the constitutional monarchy. What is more difficult to accept is this incessant gaze towards political chance, this galloping, harsh annoyance of spite.
Politics matter, of course they do, but the best politicians understand that there is more to life. “Everything has its time,” says Ecclesiastes. When a beloved king receives some bad medical news, it should be “a time to throw stones.” The initial response of the anti-monarchists in Republic was wise. The ensuing anger of some of his supporters and the rush of others to make political arguments ruined that moment of decency.
We will conclude by returning to John Smith, the ardent revolutionary who embraced the King’s diagnosis calling monarchy a “cancer on the body politic.”
Mr Smith, as he states in his X, is the son of Harry Leslie Smith, a writer and political activist who was a famous figure in the Labor movement. In other words, without his late father, poor John would be nobody.
How perfect that such a sour little agitator of republicanism should himself be a beneficiary of the hereditary principle.